Livelihood Diversification of Peasants and Nomads of Eastern Transect in Tibetan Plateau

  • 1. College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China;
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. College of Politics and Social Sciences, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 400747, China

Received date: 2008-04-09

  Revised date: 2008-12-18

  Online published: 2009-02-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40601006; No.40471009; National Basic Research Program ofChina, No.2005CB42006


Livelihoods of residents on the Tibetan Plateau are severely affected by grassland and herbal resources degeneration. How to use assets to diversify livelihoods is a key sustainable development issue of this region. Applying PRA, new indexes of livelihood assets and livelihood diversification level being constructed and adjusted by household interview, this paper examines livelihood assets, livelihood diversification level and future livelihood strategies of peasants and nomads in three regions of eastern transect of Tibetan Plateau-high mountain gorge region, mountain plateau region and plateau region. The results show that livelihood diversification is a popular strategy of this area. From high mountain gorge region to mountain plateau region and plateau region, livelihood diversification level is reduced and livelihood activities and the proportion of development oriented livelihood also decrease. Livelihood assets value and livelihood diversification level decreased with the increase of elevation, mainly shown in manpower assets and natural assets. It is highly positively correlative between livelihood assets value and livelihood diversification level. Nowadays, livelihood strategies of local residents still rely on assets they own. Nomads in plateau region should learn much from experiences of development oriented livelihoods of people in high mountain gorge region and mountain plateau region. Therefore, aids of governments should focus on relieving restricted factors of livelihood diversification of nomads and help improve their abilities to build up development oriented livelihoods.

Cite this article

YAN Jian-zhong, WU Ying-ying, ZHANG Yili, ZHOU Shao-bin, SHI Yulin . Livelihood Diversification of Peasants and Nomads of Eastern Transect in Tibetan Plateau[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2009 , 64(2) : 221 -233 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200902009


[1] Ellis Frank. Household strategies and rural livelihood diversification. Journal of Development Studies, 1998, 35(1): 1-38.

[2] Block S, Webb P. The dynamics of livelihood diversification in post-famine Ethiopia. Food Policy, 2001, 26: 333-350.

[3] Ellis Frank, Bahiigwa Godfrey. Livelihoods and rural poverty reduction in Uganda. World Development, 2003, 31(6): 997-1013.

[4] Ellis Frank, Bahiigwa Godfrey. Livelihoods and rural poverty reduction in Tanzania. World Development, 2003, 31(8): 1367-1384.

[5] Deschignkar P. Climate change adaptation in India: A case study of forest systems in Himachal Pradesh. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 1998, 9(2/3): 186-197.

[6] Downing T E, Gitu K W, Kaman C M. Coping with Drought in Kenya: National and Local Strategies. Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO, USA, 1989, 411.

[7] Janvry A D, Sadoulet E. Income strategies among rural households in Mexico: The role of off-farm activities. World Development, 2001, 29(3): 467-480.

[8] Huang Zongzhi. The Peasant Family and Rural Development in the Yangtze River Delta. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 2000.
[黄宗智. 长江三角洲小农家庭与乡村发展. 北京: 中华书局, 2000.]

[9] Huang Zongzhi. Small Farmer Economy in North China and Social Change. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 2000.
[黄宗智. 华北的小农经济与社会变迁. 北京: 中华书局, 2000.]

[10] Ma Haiyun. Case study on change of off-farm employment of a Hui community. Nationalities Research in Qinghai, 1999, (3): 55-62.
[马海云. 一个回族农村副业变迁的个案考察. 青海民族研究, 1999, (3): 55-62.]

[11] Li Tao. Study on changes of Naiqiong community in Xizang Province. Chinese Tibetology, 2000, (4): 53-63.
[李涛. 西 藏乃琼村变迁调查. 中国藏学, 2000, (4): 53-63.]

[12] Chen Hongmei. Impact of off-farm employment on view of life of Hui people in Xihaigu, Ningxia province: Case studies of two communities. Journal of the Second Northwest Institute for Ethnic Minorities, 2002, 55: 70-74.
[陈红梅. 劳务输出对宁夏西海固回族生活观念的影响: 两个自然村的调查. 西北第二民族学院学报, 2002, 55: 70-74.]

[13] Yan Jianzhong, Zhang Yili, Bai Wanqi et al. Livelihood succession an land use/cover change in the upper reaches of Dadu River watershed. Transactions of the CSAE, 2005, 31(3): 83-89.
[阎建忠, 张镱锂, 摆万奇等. 大渡河上游的时 空格局与土地利用/ 覆被变化. 农业工程学报, 2005, 21(3): 83-89.]

[14] Yan Jianzhong, Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, et al. Residents' perspectives and responses to environmental degradation in the upper Dadu River, eastern Tibetan Plateau. J Geographical Sciences, 2006, 16(3): 293-205.

[15] Wang Genxu, Wang Yibo, Li Yuangshou et al. Influences of alpine ecosystem responses to climatic change on soil properties on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Catena, 2007, 70: 506-514.

[16] Wang G, Li Q, Cheng G, et al. Climate change and its impact on the eco-environment in the source regions of Yangtze and Yellow rivers in recent 40 years. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 2001, 23(4): 346-352.

[17] Wu N, Yan Z. Climate variability and social vulnerability on the Tibetan Plateau: Dilemmas on the road to pastoral reform. Band, 2002, 56: 2-14.

[18] Wang G, Cheng G. Characteristics of grassland and ecological changes of vegetations in the source regions of Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Journal of Desert Research, 2001, 21: 101-107.

[19] Wang Xiuhong, Fu Xiaofeng. Sustainable management of alpine meadows on the Tibetan Plateau: Problems overlooked and suggestions for change. Ambio, 2004, 33(3): 153-154.

[20] Zhang Liping, Zhang Yili, Yan Jianzhong et al. Livelihood diversification and cropland use pattern in agro-pastoral mountainous region of eastern Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2008, 18(4): 499-509.

[21] Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, Bai Wanqi et al. Grassland degradation in the source region of the Yellow River. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006, 57(1): 3-14.
[张镱锂, 刘林山, 摆万奇等. 黄河源区草地退化空间特征. 地理学报, 2006, 61(1): 3-14.]

[22] Ashley C, Carney D. Sustainable Livelihoods: Lessons from Early Experience. London: Department for International Development, 1999.

[23] Carney D. Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches: Progress and Possibilities for Change. London: Department for International Development, 2002.

[24] Sharp Kay. Measuring Destitution: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches the Analysis of Survey Data, IDS Working Paper 217, 2003.

[25] Jodha N S, Mascarenhas A C. Adjustment to climatic variability in self provisioning societies: Some evidence from India and Tanzania. Economics Program Progress Report, 48 Andra Pradesh: ICRISAT Patancheru, 1983.

[26] Bromley D W, Chavas J. On risk, transactions, and economic development in the semiarid tropics. Economic Development and Culutral Change, 1989, 37(4): 719-736.

[27] Painter T, Sumberg J, Price T. Your terroir and my "action space": Implications of differentiation, mobility and diversification for the approche terroir in Sahelian West Africa. Africa, 1994, 64(4): 447-464.

[28] Berry S. Coping with confusion: African farmers' responses to economic instability in the 1970s and 1980s. Boston: African Studies Centre, Boston University, 1989.

[29] Toulmin C. Cattle, Women and Wells: Managing Household Survival in the Sahel. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1992.

[30] Jiggins J. How poor women earn income in sub-Saharan Africa and what works against them. World Development, 1989, 17(7): 953-963.

[31] Li Xiaoyun, Dong Qiang, Rao Xiaolong et al. Methods of assessing vulnerability of farmers and local use. Chinese Rural Economy, 2007, (4): 32-39.
[李小云, 董强, 饶小龙等. 农户脆弱性分析方法及其本土化应用. 中国农村经济, 2007, (4): 32-39.]

[32] Gele, Wangxizoma, Lu Mei. How to speed up the tempo of modernization in Tibetan-inhabited areas: An investigation and introspection. Chinese Tibetology, 2006, (4): 3-14.
[格勒, 旺希卓玛, 卢梅. 关于加快藏区现代化建设步伐的调 查与思考. 中国藏学, 2006, (4): 3-14.]

[33] Gesangzoma. Historical changes and development characteristics of the labour transfer in rural areas of Tibet. Chinese Tibetology, 2007, (2): 45-53.
[格桑卓玛. 西藏农村劳动力转移的历史变迁与发展特点. 中国藏学, 2007, (2): 45-53.]

[34] Lhorong Dradul. A study of the income of Tibetan peasants and herdsmen. China Tibetology, 2006, (1): 1-14.

[35] Yang Benfeng. Prove into the peculiarity of surplus labor power shift in Tibetan agriculture and animal husbandry areas. Xinjiang State Farms Economy, 2007, (4): 24-30.
[杨本锋. 西藏农牧区剩余劳动力转移的特殊性探讨. 新疆农 垦经济, 2007, (4): 24-30]

[36] Gele, Li T. Urbanization and vicissitude of villages in Duilongde county. Chinese Tibet Study, 1995, (3): 123-139.

[37] Horlemann B. Modernization efforts in Golog: A chronicle, 1970-2000. In: Toni Huber (ed.). Amdo Tibetans in Transition: Society and Culture in the Post-Mao Era, 2002. 241-267.