China's Sloping Land Conversion Program has been implemented since 2002. It aims to achieve goals of ecological recovery and poverty alleviation, by retiring steeply sloping land from crop production and freeing surplus agricultural labor for off-farm activities. Given the huge investment that has been poured into it, and its ecological and social impacts, this government-initiated program has attracted significant academic attention and triggered a flood of debate. Since 2004, the debate has concentrated on the sustainability of the program. Although targets have been overachieved in some provinces, concern has still emerged regarding the livelihood of farmers after subsidies stop. The present paper analyzes the implementation of the Sloping Land Conversion Program in Ningxia Autonomous Region, with a focus on the required social capital for sustained participation of farmers and the development of off-farm economic activities.
- ecological modernization