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14 November 2019 Grassland Degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Reevaluation of Causative Factors
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In light of Harris (2010) finding insufficient evidence to assert a causal linkage between any of the seven previously proposed causative factors and grassland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), more recent empirical studies on QTP grassland degradation were explored to ascertain whether, in fact, these factors are casually linked to grassland degradation. The mischaracterization of the underlying causes of grassland degradation among policymakers has and continues to be an obstacle to sustainable regional grassland management practices. Accumulating evidence suggests that privatization and sedentarization, small mammals, climate change, harsh environments, fragile soils, and overgrazing contribute to grassland degradation. However, neither obsolete livestock husbandry methods nor the recent conversion of rangelands to agriculture had a meaningful influence. Estimates of the total area of degraded grasslands and the establishment of grassland degradation criteria have not been properly addressed in the literature. Both omissions constitute the basis for investigating the causes of grassland degradation across the QTP and the adoption of measures to manage these grasslands sustainably.

© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Society for Range Management. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Jianjun Cao, Jan F. Adamowski, Ravinesh C. Deo, Xueyun Xu, Yifan Gong, and Qi Feng "Grassland Degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Reevaluation of Causative Factors," Rangeland Ecology and Management 72(6), 988-995, (14 November 2019).
Received: 11 August 2018; Accepted: 7 June 2019; Published: 14 November 2019

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