In 2008 UNEP-WCMC produced a report with a consortium of Chinese and international partners on research needs for reducing poverty through better ecosystem management in China. This work was for DFID, NERC and ESRC of the UK government, as a contribution to their design of a proposed international research programme on ecosystem services for poverty alleviation. The China ESPA report identified that China’s great progress in poverty reduction has slowed, as the remaining poor tend to be found in environments of low productivity or high risk of ecosystem degradation, such as mountains, grasslands and deserts. The government of China is investing heavily in poverty reduction and environmental management, with opportunities for improving the synergies between these activities. Research needs include better understanding of ecosystem functioning for multiple services, and development of methods to analyse policies and projects for both poverty reduction and supply of ecosystem services.
The aims of this China study were to conduct a situation analysis on the knowledge of China’s ecosystem services and their importance to the poor, identify and address challenges to the sustainable management of ecosystems for poverty alleviation, and propose a research strategy to inform the design of a five-year, multi-disciplinary ESPA research programme. Whilst the study is designed to meet the needs of the ESPA Programme its results can also contribute to ecosystem management and poverty alleviation research and policies in China.
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