An estimation of the effects of China's Priority Forestry Programs on farmers' income

Environ Manage. 2010 Mar;45(3):526-40. doi: 10.1007/s00267-010-9433-2. Epub 2010 Feb 7.


In the late 1990s, the Chinese government initiated some new programs and consolidated other existing ones of ecological restoration and resource development in its forest sector, and renamed them as "Priority Forestry Programs," or PFPs. They include the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP), the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP), the Desertification Combating Program around Beijing and Tianjin (DCBT), the Shelterbelt Development Program (SBDP), and the Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Development Program (WCNR). In addition to improving the environmental and resource conditions, a frequently reiterated goal of these PFPs is to increase rural households' income, therefore discussing why looking at rural household income impacts might be an important part of forest program evaluation. Thus, an interesting and important question is: How has implementing the PFPs affected the farmers' income and poverty status? This article addresses this question using a fixed-effects model and a panel dataset that covers 1968 households in four provinces for ten consecutive years (1995-2004). The empirical evidence indicates that their effects are mixed. The SLCP, the SBDP, and the NFPP have made positive impact and, by far, the SLCP has the largest effect. But the WCNR and the DCBT still have not had a pronounced overall effect due to their short time span of execution, even though they may have exerted certain influence at the margin. Notably, the impact of the WCNR, if any, is negative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • China
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / economics*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Ecosystem*
  • Employment
  • Forestry / economics*
  • Forestry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Poverty
  • Workforce