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To fence or not to fence? Perceptions and attitudes of herders in Inner Mongolia




Xu, Yecheng, author
Zhang, Yaoqi, author
Gao, Liping, author
Qiao, Guanghua, author
Chen, Jiquan, author
Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher

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The most important part of recent grassland tenure reforms in Inner Mongolia has been to divide the collective grassland to household level, then fence and enclose grassland. Fencing is a form of strongest signal of private property right and aims to exclude over-boundary grazing, attempting to solve "tragedy of the commons" from open access. Fencing gives herders a "user right", though ownership still resides at a village level. But fencing significantly limit animal and herdsmen mobility critical to the pastoral society and coupled natural and human systems. The "dilemma of enclosure" has become a key debated issue of grassland management. Positive and negative effects have been widely discussed, but few empirical studies have been conducted into this dilemma. Ecologists in general believe fencing would negatively affect the integrated ecosystem and seasonal rotation of herding. In contrast, economists think the fence would avoid the "tragedy of the commons" and create an incentive to protect herders own resources. Economists also understand that fencing would reduce the scale of economy and fencing itself is costly. After reviewing current fencing policies and the scale of the fencing activities in Inner Mongolia, we surveyed the effects of existing fencing policies and their impact on herdsman households to evaluate herders' attitudes and perceptions towards fencing.


Includes bibliographical references.
Presented at the Building resilience of Mongolian rangelands: a trans-disciplinary research conference held on June 9-10, 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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grassland management
land tenure reform
Inner Mongolia


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