Poverty and biodiversity trade-offs in rural development: a case study for Pujiang county, China

H. Hengsdijk, W. Guanghuo, M.M. van den Berg, W. Jiangdi, J. Wolf, Changhe Lu, R.P. Roetter, H. van Keulen

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Both, poverty reduction and preservation of biodiversity are high on the global agenda on sustainable development. The relationships between poverty, biodiversity of agro-ecosystems and agricultural development are complex and poorly understood. In this paper, we present an integrated framework for analysis of agricultural development and natural resource management options at agro-ecosystem level, using Pujiang county, in Zhejiang province, China as a case study area to perform the analysis. A regional linear programming (LP) model is applied, maximizing regional economic surplus, given production and labour market conditions in Pujiang. We use the model to examine the consequences for a set of regional poverty and biodiversity indicators, of four so-called poverty reduction strategies, i.e., (i) intensification of production, (ii) diversification towards livestock production, (iii) land expansion, and (iv) an exit from agriculture. The analysis indicates that diversification is the most promising poverty reduction strategy, but requires efficient use of animal manure in cropping systems to avoid environmental problems. Improved nutrient management in cropping systems is effective in reducing the regional nitrogen surplus, but less effective in increasing per capita income. The exit strategy is effective in reducing poverty and achieving biodiversity goals, but may have important social consequences that are not addressed in this study. Further reduction in rural poverty is hampered by labour constraints during the harvesting period in high value crops such as vegetables and fruits, which calls for research and development in the field of agricultural mechanization
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-861
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • costa-rica
  • systems
  • asia
  • sustainability
  • consumption
  • east


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