Rural development through land use diversification: actor-based strategies and integrative technologies for agricultural landscapes in the south-western Chinese highlands

The Yunnan province in southwest China possesses a very unique landscape, as well as great biological and cultural diversity. Over the past few years, the Yunnan and Mekong regions have witnessed the rapid growth of both infrastructure and economic performance; the link between such changes and the maintenance of the natural and cultural heritage is currently the greatest challenge faced in developing the region. It is therefore crucial that land use planning for this area takes into account the complexity of the economic, social and ecological processes which are inherent to the landscape. It is the goal of the collaborative project Living Landscapes China (LILAC) to develop such a plan, through the use of certain strategic tools. Economists, ecologists and sociologists from Germany and China will work together to develop an integrated model based on a geographic information system (GIS), which will be able to predict the economic, social or ecological effects of different land uses, within a landscape context. Future land use scenarios will be developed with the help of local decision makers and analysed with regard to the consequences in these three areas. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on investigating alternative, high-value products, such as medicinal plants and spices, with the aim of promoting agrobiodiversity and the rural economy.

Duration of project: 01 June 2007 - 31 December 2010
Funding number: 0330797A