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The Study of Eco-Migration in the Western Region of China

  • Zhang, X. M.
  • Fan, Z. M.

Annotation:::: The paper focuses on agriculture and rural development, and discusses theory and practices of migration forms, including mountain migration, related to ecological protection and poverty alleviation in west China. The authors point out that migration related to ecological protection and poverty alleviation in the western region is significant in terms of China’s western campaign, the construction of the western eco-barrier, and improvement of the living conditions of people residing in ecologically harsh areas. Using the method of documental study, the paper finds that theories related to sustainable development, eco-restoration, eco-economy, migration, and poverty alleviation form the basis of eco-migration. The main task in studying eco-migration is to develop ideal channels and modes for solving environmental and poverty problems in areas with difficult conditions.The project of eco-migration, beginning in the 1980s, proves to be an effective method for promoting the restoration of the eco-economy in western China. It has had an impact on the ecological, social, and economic development of western China, and has become a common interest among researchers in ecology, sociology, and economics. Estimates put the figure of eco-migrants in the western region at over 3.2 million people. The main experiences of effective and smooth implementation of eco-migration point to the need to fully respect public opinion and ethnic social customs and habits, to offer self-contained social facilities, and to support policies of land and registered permanent residence so that eco-migrants can get stable income.Furthermore, eco-migration in the western region is short of system supply, which leads to the difficulties and problems in fund investment, setting of migration goals, selection of destination places, and project construction. The authors suggest that a policy-making model should be established to implement eco-migration in the western region. The primary policy-making actors of state, local government, and individuals have different goals due to their varying interest orientations. For the state, the policy-making goals are restoration of eco-environment and poverty alleviation. In the case of local government, the goal is to attain political achievements and financial support. At the individual level, it is to get cash support and ensure better living and production conditions. However, these varying goals lead to a number of different policy-making considerations. These include relocation distance, infrastructural facilities of destination places, and the culture in the new communities. Analysing the cost-and-benefit for each migrant household will surely become the basis for establishing the policy-making model at the levels of state, local government, and individual household. The authors state that government sectors must adopt several countermeasures, including scientific selection of destination places, construction of destination places, and optimization of government practices in the micro-level implementation of eco-migration in western region.

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  • Journal:
    Yearly Journal of Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
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