Term Paper Topic: Grain-to-Green Policy

Published on Author Courtney

In March 2000, China introduced the Grain-to-Green program, aimed at converting cultivated land on steep slopes back into forests with the goal of minimizing erosion and mitigating the impact of flooding. It marked one of the largest scale conservation programs of all time.

Estimates place land loss into the Yellow and Yangtze rivers to be nearly four billion tons a year.  Erosion is a key factor in both poor soil and water quality in the region.  But, the cost of afforestation may be greater than initially anticipated.

The loss of arable land could lower the nation’s grain supply and skyrocket food prices. Known as “slippage effects,” these negative externalities can have dire implications for the conservation program’s effectiveness.  In my term paper, I’ll address these issues, looking at the cost-effectiveness of the program and its long-term viability.

2 Responses to Term Paper Topic: Grain-to-Green Policy

  1. Very interesting topic. Long-term viability of this program will be something of grave importance, and obviously will be a determining factor for many Chinese operations in the coming years.

    I wonder, have their been any similar programs enacted by other countries in recent / near-recent history? Could be very interesting to compare this to other land conservation projects.

  2. You should be able to find World Bank and Asian Development Bank reports on projects to stem desertification. I know a remote sensing specialist in China who has developed software to look at Chinese urbanization and modified software with parameters for local characteristics to monitor shifts in arable land. So data are available, but you may need to try geology sources and other literatures that won’t show up in the normal EconLit and EconPapers databases.