Restoration of the Pastureland Ecosystem in Western Inner Mongolia

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by Heng Liu, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China,
Leihua Geng, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China,
Zhijun Yan, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China,
Huaping Zhong, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China,
Ximing Cai, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 2033 K. St. Washington DC 20006,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2003:

Abstract: Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region in northern China. Western Inner Mongolia is located in the downstream area of the Hei River Basin, the second largest inland basin in China. Since the 1960s, water depletion in the basin has increased very rapidly due to intensive irrigation development in the middle stream area of the basin, reducing downstream flows to a mere trickle. As a result, the downstream Erjina Oasis gradually receded and the destination inland lake disappeared. In the late 1990s, the Chinese government initialized activities for the ecological restoration of the region. Since the year 2000, three flow releases have been implemented by administrative order containing further degradation of the ecosystem. The challenge that needs to be addressed now is how the short-term administered flow releases can be converted into sustainable water management practices resulting from a combination of measures, including changes in the production structure, savings in water usage, and reform in water management. Under the current pressures from excessive livestock-carrying size, growing water demands, and continuing ecosystem deterioration, the region must start to follow a development path in the direction of harmonizing water resources, natural pastureland, and irrigated land in order to attain ecological, social, and economic sustainability in the region.

Subject Headings: Ecological restoration | Developing countries | Rivers and streams | Basins | Water resources | Water flow | Irrigation | China | Asia | Inner Mongolia | Northern China

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