In Alashan, Inner Mongolia, a grandmother talks about her life as a herder and what it is like to move into town. As part of efforts to improve grassland conditions, many herding families have been encouraged to settle in town with subsidized housing and pensions. Like many elderly herders, this woman has set up her yurt in the yard of the home she now lives in with her children and grandchildren, and sleeps in it to remember the herding life on the vast grassland.
Professor Li Wenjun of Peking University and Professor Lynn Huntsinger of ESPM have collaborated on studies of the impacts of policies that seek to reduce sand storms and improve the lives of herders in Inner Mongolia. Part of that effort involves changing land tenure to more privatized, individual forms and reducing the number of livestock on the grasslands.
In addition, irrigation has brought farming to previously uncultivated areas. These changes have profound impact on herder lives and the grasslands. Their work has recently been published in the journal Ecology and Society.
Read the paper here.