Strengthening incentives for improved grassland management in China and Mongolia

September 2015December 2019
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

China and Mongolia have vast (more than 520 million hectares) inter-connected grasslands that provide the resource base to support the livelihoods of more than 5 million low-income pastoral households and an array of ecosystem services, from improving air and water quality to acting as a carbon sink. However, concerns over the condition of these grasslands and livelihoods of herders have increased through time and are now a major issue.

In China, policy-makers, research scientists and society at large want to know if the existing programs and payments are efficient in meeting environmental and livelihood objectives, and if they can account for the heterogeneity in grassland systems and changes in socio-economic, market and climatic conditions. In Mongolia, policy-makers are concerned about the resilience of herders and grasslands to adverse climatic events, and they're seeking information on the management systems and impact of alternative policy and institutional settings needed to sustain grasslands and herder livelihoods.

The similarities and contrasts between the two countries provide a larger context to test ideas and principles for managing grasslands and improving herder livelihoods that have wide application throughout east and central Asia.

This interdisciplinary project aims to improve grassland management practices and pastoral livestock systems in China and Mongolia through research into the incentives driving these systems and the design of incentive-based policies. The study will integrate institutional/market, economic/modelling, biophysical and social/socio-ecological components to assess the net social benefits of particular livestock and grazing practice changes and policy incentives. 

Key fieldwork areas

In China, we'll conduct research throughout the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with a focus on Xilinguole League, Wulunchabu League and Erdos City.

In Mongolia, we'll visit various aimags and soums with some case study sites in Tuv aimag (Altanbulag soum) and Arkhangai aimag (Khashaat soum).

Other CAEG projects

Find out about our other CAEG projects.

Project members

This project involves a large interdisciplinary team of scientists and researchers interested in grasslands from Australia, China and Mongolia.


  • Professor David Kemp and Dr Karl Behrendt, Charles Sturt University
  • Professor Jeff Bennett, Australian National University
  • Dr Jane Addison, James Cook University


Project leaders:
  • Professor Qiao Guanghua, College of Economics and Management, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University
  • Professor Han Guodong, College of Agriculture and Grassland Ecology, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University
  • Professor Hou Xiangyang, Institute of Grassland Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences


Project leaders:
  • Professor Dorjburged Lhagvadorj, School of Economics and Business, Mongolian University of Life Sciences
  • Professor Udval Gombosuren, Research Institute of Animal Husbandry, Mongolian University of Life Sciences
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture


Dr Colin Brown

Honorary Associate Professor
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Dr Jing Zhang

Dr Jing Zhang

Honorary Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Associate Professor Scott Waldron

Principal Research Fellow & Associate Professor
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences