carries a basket made of bamboo which is used to harvest produce and carry it to market in Yunnan Province, China.
A working farmer carries a basket made of bamboo which is used to harvest produce and carry it to market in Yunnan Province, China. © Ami Vitale

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The Nature Conservancy encourages sustainable development by seeking the best science and partners with indigenous people to strengthen their rights as environmental stewards.

To scientifically restore and sustainably manage degraded land, TNC China is working with local communities in Horinger, a county in the center of Inner Mongolia. TNC is collaborating with the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University and Hohhot Agricultural Extension Center to help local farmers and herders launch projects using rain-fed agriculture and sustainable grazing management practices.

The climate in Horinger is gradually warming—with increased temperature, reduced precipitation and declining levels of underground water. In the face of climate change, rain-fed agriculture has shown itself to be a valuable and sustainable approach. Rain-fed agriculture focuses on improving soil fertility and productivity without irrigation. The method tests soil for fertilization levels and uses organic fertilizer to guarantee high crop yields and sustainable income, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Inner Mongolia is experiencing increasing pressure on its natural resources. Sustainable grazing management improves the quality and productivity of grasslands while helping to increase the grazing income of local communities.

Alongside our partners, TNC scientists have developed a set of grazing plans that will reduce the pressure put on each grazing zone while sustaining economic returns for local communities year-round. The plans include measures like grazing prohibitions in the spring and monitoring-based grazing rotations by zoning area.