Making the most of variability: innovative rangeland management in China
China’s pastoralist communities are facing numerous challenges: climate change, degradation of the drylands their animals graze on and top-down policies that have broken up large areas of rangeland and introduced grazing bans. Despite this, some pastoralists are successfully rebuilding the productivity of their livestock. We present three examples of innovative rangeland management systems that work with local climatic variability, developed by herders in Inner Mongolia and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. These management systems — community-based grazing quota management, herder co-operatives and joint management by herder communities and government — are all designed to allow real-time adaptive responses to the annual and seasonal resource variation that affects their rangeland. Although these systems are created for specific locations, the thinking behind them is of wider geographical value and interest.