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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Does participation in the sloping land conversion program reduce the sensitivity of Chinese farmers to climate change?

Liu, Zhen; Li, Qiuming; Lan, Jing; Abouhatab, Assem


Over the last two decades, extensive literature has examined the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of China's Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP), a program that was launched in late 1990s to mitigate the environmental effects of agricultural production and reduce rural poverty. However, little empirical evidence exists with regard to the impact of SLCP on rural households' sensitivity to nature-induced changes and environmental challenges. In this study, household-level data covering the period 1995–2010 from five Chinese provinces were used to examine the effect of SLCP on farmers' sensitivity to climate change. The empirical results show that participation in SLCP significantly reduced farmers' sensitivity to climate change by reducing their dependency on land and natural resources for income, and by diversifying their livelihood options. Spatially, the results reveal that the effect of SLCP on farmers' sensitivity vary across regions. Specifically, SLCP was found to have a ‘rate effect’ on farmers in the Northern regions and a ‘level effect’ on farmers in the Southern regions. Likewise, we found that the effect of SLCP differs considerably across income groups, with the effect on low- and middle-income groups being most significant. The results indicate that subsidy is the main pathway through which SLCP reduces farmers' sensitivity to climate change. In contrast, we found inclusive evidence about the indirect effect of SLCP farmers' sensitivity through the promotion of non-agricultural employment. These results carry major implications with regard to the effectiveness of ecological conservation programs and their mitigation potential through building farmers' resilience in China and ecologically fragile environments.  


Sensitivity; Sloping Land conversion program; Climate change; Livelihood diversity; Natural-resource dependency

Published in

Land Use Policy
2020, Volume: 99, article number: 105021

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG1 No poverty
    SDG8 Decent work and economic growth
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production
    SDG13 Climate action

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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