Review Article

Ecological compensation for desertification control: A review

  • LI Dajing , 1, 2, * ,
  • XU Duanyang , 1 ,
  • WANG Ziyu 3 ,
  • DING Xue 4 ,
  • SONG Alin 5
  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2. Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • 3. Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 4. Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China
  • 5. Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, CAAS, Beijing 100081, China.

Author: Li Dajing (1993-), specialized in ecological compensation and regional development. E-mail:

*Corresponding author: Xu Duanyang (1983-), PhD, specialized in desertification. E-mail:

Received date: 2017-03-30

  Accepted date: 2017-07-18

  Online published: 2018-03-10

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.71573245

National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFC0501002


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


Desertification control is a crucial way to enhancing the ecological conditions of arid and semi-arid regions, and maintaining sustainable development globally. Designing and improving an ecological compensation mechanism for desertification control has great significance related to achieving balance amongst the needs of different economic subjects and the assurance of a sustained and stable supply of desert ecosystem services. In this paper, (1) the theoretical bases of ecological compensation for desertification control were re-analyzed; (2) the research status and challenges of three important topics related to ecological compensation for desertification control were systemically discussed, including compensation standards, ecosystem service supply-consumption process and multi-scale effects, and resource-environment basis and policy orientation; (3) a research framework of ecological compensation for desertification control based on the process of desert ecosystem service supply-flow-consumption was proposed; (4) and finally, seven priority research issues were discussed, which aimed to support ecological compensation policy-making and ecological engineering implementation for desertification control.

Cite this article

LI Dajing , XU Duanyang , WANG Ziyu , DING Xue , SONG Alin . Ecological compensation for desertification control: A review[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018 , 28(3) : 367 -384 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1478-9

1 Introduction

Desertification is a land degradation process that is mainly caused by climate change and human activities in arid, semi-arid and some sub-humid regions (Wang, 2004; Adamo and Crews-Meyer, 2006; D’Odorico et al., 2013; Chasek et al., 2015; Salvati et al., 2015; Wijitkosum, 2016). Desertification has caused a loss of soil nutrients, a decline in land productivity and degradation of the environment. This leads to a decline or degradation of sand-stabilization, soil conservation, water resource regulation, carbon sequestration and other desert ecosystem services, and endangers both regional and national economy-society-environmental security (Glenn et al., 1998; Unkovich and Nan, 2008; Xue et al., 2012; Martínez-Valderrama et al., 2016; Sutton et al., 2016). Research sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that the global economic losses caused by desertification and drought were as high as US $4.2 × 1010 each year, which was equivalent to all official aid to Africa in 2009 (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), 2011).
Effective control of desertification requires long-term systematic efforts aimed at restoring the functions of desert ecosystem services and to realize the securing of both ecological and economic benefits. This will not only require the investment of large amounts of money and new technologies, but also get a relatively slow return. Particularly, the initial stage of desertification control will only require investments with very little or no initial return. In addition, other problems may arise during the final stage of desertification control such as the separation of investments and returns (Zhang, 2015). Therefore, it is essential to coordinate the interest-balancing among stakeholders in desertification control and improve the enthusiasm of those tasked with controlling desertification, to realize sustained control of desertification. United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 proposed establishing and achieving the goal of “Zero Net Land Degradation” by 2030, and regarded ecological compensation as an important measure that can be used to address land degradation (UNCCD, 2012). The “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” officially launched in January 1, 2016, established the goals of desertification control along with the suppression and reversal of land degradation, and proposed that participants should protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of land by using ecological compensation (OWG, 2014).
Ecological compensation can be treated as an integrated economic policy measure or a benefit compensation mechanism for realizing the interest-balancing of different economic subjects in environmental protection by constructing standard systems (Wunder, 2005; Lv et al., 2009; Home et al., 2014; Bennett and Gosnell, 2015; Wunder, 2015; Curran et al., 2016; Galati et al., 2016). As early as the 1870s, Larson and Mazzarse (1994) had proposed a rapid assessment model for wetlands for the issue of wetland development compensation permits, which initiated the preliminary study of ecological compensation. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) has played a role as a milestone in the study of ecosystem services. It defined the framework of ecosystem services assessment, and resulted in an increase in theoretical and practical research worldwide on the problem of services and compensation for different ecosystems, including desert ecosystems (MA, 2003). However, many previous studies have mainly focused on ecological compensation for forests, agriculture, basins and other areas (Clements et al., 2010; Nguyen et al., 2013; Wünscher and Engel, 2012; Bennett et al., 2014; Kwayu et al., 2014; Hofstad et al., 2015), while relatively little research has been conducted on ecological compensation for desertification control (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Research on ecological compensation in different areas of foreign countries in 2000-2015
China is one of the countries that have seriously suffered from desertification in the world, and the desertified lands are mainly distributed in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei and other provinces. According to the fifth national desertification survey statistics (SFA, 2015), the area of desertified land in China had reached 1,721,200 km2 in 2014, which was reduced by 9900 km2 in 2009; and the desertification in some regions, like Erdos, North Shaanxi Province etc., had been reversed significantly. These desertification reversions can be attributed to the implementation of ecological protection projects and ecological compensation policies in recent years. For example, the cumulative input of ecological compensation from the Project of Returning Farmland to Forests and the Project of Sandstorm Sources of Beijing and Tianjin etc. reached about 800 billion yuan. Although the ecological compensation policy had been implemented about 10 years, less attention had been paid to systematically discussing the basic theory and key problems related to ecological compensation in support of desertification control. Therefore, based on reviewing the related literature, this paper aimed to re-analyze the theoretical basis and key problems related to ecological compensation, and propose a research framework and prioritize issues related to ecological compensation in support of desertification control.

2 Theoretical basis of ecological compensation for desertification control

The essence of desertification control is using engineering, biological, chemical and other measures to increase soil quality and vegetation coverage (Xu, 2003; Portnov and Safriel, 2004; Amiraslani and Dragovich, 2011). This can improve the level of ecosystem services provided by desert habitats and eventually realize an improvement in regional environmental quality. The result of desertification control has the characteristics of integrity, liquidity, positive externalities and regional differences. In addition, ecosystem service value theory, externality theory and public goods theory can be used as the theoretical basis for desertification control.

2.1 Ecosystem service value theory

Natural ecosystems provide raw materials and products (wood, fiber, etc.) that humans can use directly. Simultaneously, those ecosystems also provide the functions of supply, regulation, culture and support, which is beneficial to the survival and development of human beings (Sodhi et al., 2010; Allendorf and Yang, 2013; Sagie et al., 2013; Matthies et al., 2016; Mouchet et al., 2017). In 1997, Costanza et al. (1997) and Daily (1997) estimated the value of global ecosystem services as well as developed the principles and methods used in that valuation, but did not evaluate the value of desert ecosystem services. In 1999, Ouyang (1999) assessed the value of terrestrial ecosystem services in China, including desert ecosystems. Later, Xie et al. (2003, 2008) established and improved a service value table for desert ecosystems, which had important guiding significance for later studies. As an important type of terrestrial ecosystem, the value of desert ecosystem services is mainly reflected in the function of sand-stabilization, soil conservation, water resources regulation, biodiversity conservation and landscape-scale recreation, etc., which provides benefits and guarantees for residents living in sandy areas (Bai, 2003; Zhang and Yang, 2007; Gao et al., 2013; Wang, 2015). The results of desertification control are mainly embodied in the incremental value of these services. For example, a previous study in Yuyang District, Shaanxi Province, China showed that the Project of Returning Farmland to Forest and other ecological measures had led to an increase in the regional sand-stabilization function value of 5.64 × 106 yuan per year from 1988 to 2003 (Mo et al., 2006). Shapotou, a community situated in Zhongwei County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China, conducted large scale conversion of desertified land into timber and cultivated crop land from 2002 to 2011. The value of food supply, sand-stabilization, soil conservation, carbon sequestration, oxygen release and nutrient cycling functions increased by 7.04 × 106, 3.00 × 107, 1.37 × 107, 9.36 × 106, 7.51 × 106 and 2.42 × 106 yuan, respectively, in Shapotou over 10 years (Wang, 2015). Although putting a “price tag” on nature might raise inherently thought that the loss of ecosystem services can be replaced by man-made capital, quantitatively estimating and monetizing the value of desert ecosystem services is still critically needed; because this type of data can then be employed as an important reference for formulating the ecological compensation standards of desertification control.

2.2 Externality theory

Externality theory provides an important theoretical basis for determining losses and beneficiaries during ecological compensation. According to Marshall’s “Principles of Economics” (Marshall, 1890), externality is the economic effects of different interests that occur when a producer’s own interests generate external influences to others who are outside the economic exchange during the process of conducting economic activities. However, the influence of externality will not result in corresponding compensation from the marketplace or payment of the equal costs. Ecological compensation can serve as an important tool used to provide a favorable correction for this external influence. Generally, in the external economy, external beneficiaries are taxed or charged; while in the external diseconomy, the external losers are provided with subsidies to compensate them for their losses. The increased level of ecosystem services provided by controlling desertification always has a significant positive externality. This is especially true for sand-stabilization and soil conservation. Previous studies have shown that dust storms affecting eastern China were closely related to the control of desertification in western China (Gou et al., 2012; Chen, 2013). For example, with an increase in vegetation coverage in some sandy areas of northern China over the past 30 years, as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the number and intensity of dust storm days in Beijing showed a decreasing trend from 2001 to 2010 (Figure 2). Meanwhile, some studies also found vegetation restoration in the Loess Plateau and in desert regions of western Inner Mongolia had effectively reduced soil erosion, which can enhance the soil conservation and the safety of residents in lower reaches of the Yellow River (Peng, 2013). Hartter and Goldman (2011) indicated that local precipitation and air quality of forest park in western Uganda had been improved as a result of efforts to protect forest ecosystems. It is easy to document the significantly positive externalities of sand-stabilization, soil conservation etc. in the process of controlling desertification, which will lead to inequalities of the investment and income of the entity controlling desertification. Therefore, levying a tax on beneficiaries to compensate the entity that controls desertification is indispensable, which will make ecological compensation an environmental economics instrument for the internalization of external cost (Mao et al., 2002; Bartczak and Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015; Rodríguez-de-Francisco and Budds, 2015).
Figure 2 Changes of dust days in Beijing and NDVI in desert area

2.3 Public goods theory

Desert ecosystem services are non- exclusive and non-competitive, and can be classified in the category of public goods. In addition, controlling desertification also produces tradable goods, such as wood, herbs and industrial raw materials, etc., so treating it as a quasi-public good would be more accurate. This attribute of public goods in desertification ecosystem services might lead to excessive consumption of natural resources without supervision, and finally result in desertification, which is also called “Tragedy of the Commons”. Take North China as an example, over the past few hundred years, especially in the past decades, the population growth and the excessively use of grassland and farm land had changed the traditional nomadic culture and resources using patterns (Zhang et al., 2017), which destroyed the ecological balance and led to rapid expansion of desertification (Figure 3). As another example of “Tragedy of the Commons” in Shiyang River of China, the over exploitation of groundwater had led to the death of oasis vegetation and a large-area of desertification in the periphery of the oasis (Ni et al., 2013).
Figure 3 Photographs of desertification expansion: (a) Trees had died and removed in the next year after planting due to the absence of management. (b) Grassland desertification is serious due to the excavation of village road. (Photo credit: Duanyang Xu obtained the pictures in October 2011 (a) and August 2016 (b))
From this perspective, the subject of desertification ecosystem services’ supply should be the government. Due to the limited resources of government, it is often difficult to realize a sustained and effective supply of desert ecosystem services. Hence, many individuals or firms were expected to participate in desertification control. However, the result of these desertification control activities that conducted by individuals or firms cannot exclude others who enjoy the benefits, which might result in the creation of “free riders” and lead to a deficiency of ecosystem service supply (Hardin, 1968; Gatiso et al., 2015; Hu, 2015). The restoration of desertified land provides public goods that can be enjoyed by all the people in a sandy area and the adjoining region, so the government needs to use service-purchasing or other market mechanisms to maximize the generation and expansion of these services. However, when the entity tasked with controlling desertification was an individual or firm, that entity must solve the problem of recovering the costs of controlling desertification. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the high cost of controlling desertification during the initial stage by using ecological compensation, which would create effective incentives for desertification control and eventually realize a sustained supply of desert ecosystem services.

3 Important problems related to ecological compensation for controlling desertification

3.1 Standard accounting for ecological compensation during desertification control

The compensation standard is a critical part of the implementation of ecological compensation for controlling desertification. However, it varied greatly in different regions, which ranging from 1000 to 10,000 yuan/ha·a. Take Britain as an example, the government paid about 1091 yuan/ha·a to farmers who returned farmland to forests for compensation in 30 years (Green, 1989). For the Project of Returning Farmland to Forests launched in China, the compensation standard in the Yellow River basin and its northern region is about 1050 yuan/ha·a (Ning, 2010); and for the Project of Sandstorm Sources of Beijing and Tianjin, the government had provided subsidies about 8250 yuan/ha·a to farmers in the sandy regions (Pan, 2014). The differences of compensation standard are mainly dependent on the value of desert ecosystem services. Generally, three factors affect the ecological compensation standards: the scope of desert ecosystem services, modeling and the method used for valuation. However, different scholars have created different definitions of these three factors, which means their assessment results cannot be easily compared. Meanwhile, some studies have also been carried out to assess the loss value of economic and social system that caused by land degradation or desertification. As illustrated in Table 1, although both Wang (2015) and Yang and Wang (2009) assessed the ecosystem services in Shapotou in China, they placed different values on ecosystem services in their research. Those differences were mainly caused by differences in their assessment of service functions of the desert landscape. In addition, many uncertainties remain related to parameter acquisition and evaluation methods. For instance, Yang et al. (2006) calculated the sand-stabilization value of the Hotan River Basin in China based on forest area, while Han et al. (2011) calculated the same service value in the downstream region of the Heihe River in China by using the amount of sand-stabilization provided by vegetation.
Table 1 Standard of desert ecosystem service value by different scholars
Nation Study area Assessment content Total value
Unit area value
Literature source
USA California
Direct, indirect and passive use values 1.33×109 dollars Richardson (2005)
USA Mojave desert Direct, indirect and passive use values 1.42×109 dollars Kroeger and
Manalo (2007)
World World Loss value of land degradation 6.25×1013 4.64×105 Sutton et al. (2016)
Mexico Coastal
Loss value of land use change 18.44× 106 7.34×103 Camacho-Valdez
et al. (2014)
USA New Jersey Loss value of sandy storm 4.4×109 5.57×104 Hauser et al. (2015)
China China Hydrological regulation 5.51×1012 4.15×105 Xiao et al. (2013)
China China Carbon fixation and oxygen release; Nutrient cycling; Sand-stabilization; Water and soil conservation; Biodiversity conservation; Tour etc. 2.28×1011 1.87×105 Cui (2009)
China China Sand-stabilization; Soil conservation; Water resources regulation; Carbon fixation; Biodiversity conservation; landscape recreation etc. 3.08×1013 1.87×107 Project group
China Western
Carbon fixation and oxygen release; Soil conservation etc. 5.37×1011 0.78×105 Ren et al. (2007)
China Ejin Horo Banner in Inner Mongolia Soil conservation; Climate regulation etc. 3.3×109 5.49×105 Bai (2003)
China Shapotou in Ningxia Carbon fixation and oxygen release; Nutrient cycling; Food supply; Sand-stabilization; Water and soil conservation etc. 1.55×108 1.11×106 Wang (2015)
China Ulan Buh in Inner Mongolia Sand-stabilization 4.42×109 4.87×105 Gao et al. (2013)
China Neiman Banner in Inner Mongolia Gas regulation; Climate regulation; Water conservation; Soil formation and protection; Waste disposal; Biodiversity conservation; Food production; Raw material; Entertainment culture etc. 1.49×109 1.84×106 Chun (2011)
China Qiemo Oasis in Xinjiang Ditto 2.69×108 3.71×105 Huang et al. (2007)
China Qitai Oasis in Xinjiang Ditto 5.29×108 1.23×105 Peng et al.(2010)
Nation Study area Assessment content Total value
Unit area value
Literature source
China Kuqa River in Xinjiang Ditto 1.90×1010 3.39×106 Zhang et al.(2009)
China Minqin Oasis in Gansu Ditto 5.58×108 3.72×104 Yang and Bai
China Shapotou in Ningxia Sand-stabilization 5.93×108 5.29×107 Yang and Wang
China Hotan River Basin in Xinjiang Organic matter production; Climate regulation; Soil formation and protection; Water regulation; Cleansing of environmental pollution; Biodiversity conservation; Entertainment culture; Wood products; Industry material etc. 6.72×108 2.11×106 Yang et al. (2006)
China Horqin in Inner Mongolia Waste disposal; Soil formation and protection; Water conservation; Climate regulation; Biodiversity conservation; Gas regulation etc. 1.46×1011 2.82×106 Zhang et al. (2007)
China Heihe River in Inner Mongolia Sand-stabilization 5.31×109 4.78×105 Han et al. (2011)
In 2012, the State Forestry Administration of China promulgated the forestry industry standard “Desert Ecosystem Service Evaluation Norms” (LY/T 2006-2012), which is a useful exploration in constructing an assessment framework of desert ecosystem services. However, it does not consider the spatial heterogeneity of land surface environment and its impact on modeling parameters. To avoid these limitations, some scholars began to combine multi-source and high-resolution remote sensing data to retrieve the parameters at a regional scale (Luo et al., 2014). So, the difference and optimization method of the key parameters should be fully considered at a national scale, such as crop yield, soil organic matter and surface roughness etc.; meanwhile, specific adjustment and correction for parameters and methods are also needed (Chun, 2011). It should also be pointed out that some desert ecosystem services are invisible, such as water purification, biodiversity conservation and landscape recreation, and subjectivity during an evaluation would lead to uncertainties in the accounting compensation standard (Cui, 2009; Gee and Burkhard, 2010; Bidak et al., 2015). In addition, the formation mechanism of desert ecosystem services must be clarified. Therefore, knowing how to quantitatively identify the individual contribution of human activities and climate change, and how to analyze the marginal effects of different policies, still creates a difficult problem in accounting for ecological compensation standards.

3.2 Spatial-temporal patterns of desert ecosystem service supply-consumption and its multi-scale effect

Identifying the desert ecosystem service supply-consumption subjects at multiple scales is an important prerequisite during the implementation of ecological compensation (De Groot et al., 2002; Kolinjivadi et al., 2014; Liu et al., 2014); in addition, the MA had also emphasized the importance of multi-level ecosystem service assessment (MA, 2005). For example, the food supply function is mainly applicable to the local scale; sand-stabilization, soil conservation and water resource regulation functions are mainly applicable to a regional scale; and climate regulation function is more reflected in national and intercontinental scales (Zhao and Zhang, 2006). Because of the spatial heterogeneity and multi-scale effect on the supply-consumption subjects of desert ecosystem services (Figure 4), it is crucial to analyze the spatial path of the ecosystem service flow and its influence on the ecological compensation policies at different scales.
Figure 4 The difference of the supply-consumption subjects of desert ecosystem services at different scales
With the spatial mobility of the results of controlling desertification, the geographical locations of the providers and beneficiaries of desertification control are not necessarily the same. This also brings some difficulties in determining who are the stakeholders in ecological compensation efforts. Generally, at a continental scale, compensation always occurs in different nations, such as developed countries may compensate developing countries because desertification can be induced by global climate change. For instance, Zambia and Zimbabwe, two signatories of the UNCCD, both suffer from the adverse effects of climate change, resulting in poor and even economic contraction in the agricultural sector (Twomlow et al., 2008). At a national scale, compensation should be focused on different regions within the interior of a nation, and the majority of stakeholders are the agents of the supply of ecosystem services, such as regional governments. At a local scale, attention should focus on the interaction of ecological compensation and farmers’ livelihoods, including the degree of participation by farmers, the enthusiasm of farmers in participating in a project and the entire lifecycle accounting of the opportunity costs in desertification control. Studies of the Sahel region of Africa suggest that poverty alleviation through the carbon sink projects effectively increase the income of local residents, and market-oriented measures can strengthen the potential for sustainable development in small scale agricultural systems (Tschakert, 2007). On a time scale, the control of desertification is a long-term project, and it generates revenue relatively slowly. More concretely, during efforts to control desertification the restoration of vegetation coverage and structure will take more than 10 years, and the restoration of degraded soil will require at least a few decades or may even require more than 100 years (Wuriga, 2013). Hence, the beneficiaries of desertification control include people who have yet to be born, and the determination of stakeholders often includes the problem of intergenerational compensation. Because different descendants of the present generation will enjoy different ecosystem services, the determination of compensation standards needs to take full account of the allocation and reduction of the control costs at different time scales (Kosoy et al., 2008).

3.3 Resource-environmental basis and policy of sustained desert ecosystem services supply

Because of the public ownership of desertification control, problems such as those related to the “Tragedy of the Commons” and “free-riders” always exist and will lead to an insufficient supply of ecosystem services. The purpose of ecological compensation is to ensure a sustained supply of desert ecosystem services, with the goal of ultimately achieving continuous improvement of the regional environment. In recent decades, many policies or projects have been launched to control desertification all over the world. The most representative one is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in United States, which offered 10-15 year contracts for retirement of land from crop production, and provided cost-sharing for establishment of cover (usually grass or trees) and an annual payment (Claassen et al., 2008). Furthermore, the Forests Absorbing Carbon-dioxide Emissions Forestation Program (PROFAFOR) in Ecuador (Wunder and Albán, 2008), the Payment for Hydrological Environmental Services (PSAH) in Mexico (Muñoz-Piña et al., 2008), and the Project of Returning Farmland to Forest in China (Li and Shi, 2015) are also the favorable paradigms for ecological compensation policy. However, in view of the spatial heterogeneity of desertification control, to realize a sustainable supply of ecosystem services and reduce the dependence on a direct compensation fund, a balance also needs to be achieved among desertification control, environmental resources and economic development at national and regional scales.
Specifically, at a national scale, by considering the regional differences in resource availability and bearing capacity, desertification control in different forms and intensity are carried out, which would realize an indirect reduction of ecological compensation expenses. However, regional differences in resource-environmental capacity have not been fully considered in previous desertification control efforts. We take the afforestation activities in northern China as an example. Although statistical data had matched the regional natural conditions quite well, some areas still suffered from excessive or insufficient afforestation, which was likely to result in regional ecological risk or a waste of resources (Figure 5). Some studies show that afforestation will have significant effects on the regional water balance and ecological security. For example, Feng et al. (2016) found that although afforestation resulted in an increase in net primary production (NPP) and evapotranspiration (ET), it also resulted in the decrease in annual precipitation in a catchment area. Cao et al. (2007) found that large-scale afforestation in the Loess Plateau of China is likely to lead to excessive consumption of soil moisture, and ultimately increase the risk of desertification and economic losses. The studies of Lu et al. (2016) and Zhang et al. (2016) reached similar conclusions. Therefore, it is crucial to scientifically plan and develop ecological restoration projects based on regional resource endowment, which can ensure a sustained supply of ecosystem services and reduce the cost of ecological compensation for desertification control.
Figure 5 Distribution of precipitation and afforestation in arid and semi-arid areas of northern China
At a regional scale, more attention should be focused on the balance between desertification control and economic development. Based on the basic framework of ecological compensation, direct financial compensation provided by regions benefiting from ecosystem services is an important guarantee for supporting the control of desertification. However, fundamentally solving the problems related to long-term sustained control of desertification is difficult when using this compensation method. To realize a “win-win” situation related to both desertification control and sustainable economic development, it is necessary to stimulate the enthusiasm of local farmers and enterprises and gain their participation and cooperation in these efforts. In recent years, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Ningxia in China have begun to develop the concept of desert-based industry to combat desertification (Zhang et al., 2007; Xie et al., 2013; Liu et al., 2015). For instance, in Alashan, Inner Mongolia, China, by developing the farming of Haloxylon-Cistanche, two genera of useful plants, the yield of Cistanche increased from 200 to 800-1000 tons per year in Inner Mongolia, which not only increased the income of farmers, but also achieved the goal of combating desertification (Tian and Gao, 2013). Therefore, government agencies need to explore methods of diversifying ecological compensation, with a certain amount of funds and related policies used to compensate for the major costs to farmers along with corporate governance of projects during the initial stage of investment. Ultimately, government agencies need to promote the formation of a desertification control industry and stimulate healthy economic development in the same region simultaneously.

4 Research framework and priority issues related to ecological compensation for desertification control

4.1 Research framework of ecological compensation for desertification control

Although a considerable amount of progress has been made in the field of ecological compensation for desertification control, it is still necessary to develop a research framework that covers priority issues from basic research to comprehensive decision making (Figure 6). Based on related theory and the key problems, ecological compensation for desertification control should be examined from the perspective of regionality, comprehensiveness and scale correlation. The improvement of the desert ecosystem services classification system should be based on the supply-flow-consumption of desert ecosystem services. The goal is to improve the key service functions related to the formation of those services, the process of service flow, and to understand the relationship between the internal and external economic and social impact of desert ecosystem services at different spatial and temporal scales. It is crucial to clarify the resource environment basis and policy orientation of sustained supply of desert ecosystem services, which can provide comprehensive support for innovation based on theories and help policy makers develop practical methods of ecological compensation related to desertification control.
Figure 6 Research framework of ecological compensation for desertification control

4.2 Priority issues related to ecological compensation for desertification control

(1) A desert ecosystem service classification system with integrated function-demand and its definition. Currently, most definitions of desert ecosystem service functions are based on the MA classification system that highlights the components, structures and processes of desert ecosystem services from the supply perspective. However, less consideration has been given to the actual needs of human society and well-being (Zhang et al., 2010). Therefore, the spatial heterogeneity of the ecosystem service supply and consumption requires more attention. It is crucial to systematically review the relationship between desertification ecosystem functions and human needs during different stages of economic development. Human health, ecological security, water supply, etc., should be considered and a new desert ecosystem services classification system should be established.
(2) Formation mechanism of desert ecosystem services and its response to global change. On-site field observations, controlled experiments in both indoor and outdoor settings, model simulation and other related measures should be fully used to study the mechanisms involved during the formation of the most important desert ecosystem services, including sand-stabilization, soil conservation, carbon sequestration and water resource regulation, etc. It is essential to explore dynamic models of the formation and evolution of desert ecosystem services, and analyze the response of desert ecosystems to climate change and human activities at different scales. Quantitatively separating and identifying the marginal benefits of individual human factors in the formation of desert ecosystem services are also needed, which can provide the basis for the scientific establishment of compensation standards.
(3) Spatial-temporal pattern and evolutional simulation of desert ecosystem service flow on different scales. Cross-coupling application of test methods (including isotopic geochemical tracer techniques and fluorescent labeling), spatial analysis of geo-information and remote sensing observation should be focused to scientifically define the source, spatial flow path, attenuation rate and occurrence law, etc. of desert ecosystem services. Meanwhile, it is necessary to improve our ability to spatially and temporally simulate the flow of desert ecosystem services under different environmental conditions and policy scenarios, and accurately identify the regions benefiting from desert ecosystem services to help policy makers to develop reasonable ecological compensation plans.
(4) Compensation standard and dose-effect relationship between desert ecosystem services and economic-social impact. Because a result of avoiding loss is equivalent to the benefits obtained, it is needed to quantitatively evaluate the contribution of desertification control to the entire human economic-social system from the perspective of service-revenue-welfare (Li et al., 2013), propose the suitable scope of compensation standard in different areas and analyze its impact on the livelihoods of farmers, government expenditure and the formation of ecosystem services. To this end, researchers should thoroughly study the effect mechanisms, and constantly improve the quantitative methods used to manage revenues. Policy making should actively introduce a substitute market method and simulation market method, such as using the willingness-to-pay and hedonic price methods (Dai et al., 2012; Zhao and Zhu, 2015). Meanwhile, scientific accounting of desertification control costs should be strengthened to provide a sound basis for ecological compensation standards.
(5) Resource and environment carrying capacity and space optimization layout of desertification control. According to the typical water demand characteristics of vegetation and the influence of afforestation on soil moisture, the limited role of water resources in desertification control and the formation of ecosystem services should be fully considered. The goal here is to improve research related to resources and environmental carrying capacity related to desertification control in arid and semi-arid regions. Based on available resources and environmental carrying capacity, the level of economic development, the comprehensive control of cost and other factors, planners need to optimize the spatial layout of desertification control, and from the perspective of regional balance to indirectly improve control efficiency and reduce the cost of ecological compensation.
(6) Policy basis and compensation mechanism innovation of desert-based industry. Relying on the advantages of regional resources, the comprehensive technological-economic-ecological benefits evaluation model should be developed to select the advantaged desert-based industry. What’s more, it is essential to conduct a study of the policy system related to innovation-driven development in desert-based industry, and explore the diversified compensation methods of technical assistance, talent introduction, cooperative R&D, carbon trading, etc., which can weaken our dependence on direct subsidies and create new channels for the development of the desertification control industry and ecological compensation.
(7) Data system construction and sharing for supporting ecological compensation related to desertification control. The development of integrated satellite and on-the-ground observation network should be paid more attention to retrieve key elements of the land surface in arid and semi-arid areas. Meanwhile, additional efforts should be implemented to optimize joint inversion and assimilation algorithms using multi-source remote sensing data, and scale correction factors of parametric estimation to overcome the estimation error of single scale and single data sources. In addition, the inversion precision of surface roughness, vegetation coverage, soil moisture and other important parameters need to be improved. Finally, developing and sharing high-resolution data products should be strengthened on a global scale to support scientific research and practice of ecological compensation for desertification control.

5 Conclusions

(1) A scientific evaluation of the value of desert ecosystem services provides the basis for the establishment of an ecological compensation standard. Currently, the estimation of the volume of the desert ecosystem services is relatively accurate, while knowing the value of those services is still the weak link in future evaluation work.
(2) Based on the full consideration of ecosystem services value theory, externality theory and public goods theory, the spatial-temporal scale is introduced into the definition of an ecological compensation standard. This allows the definition of the flow path of desertification control results as well as resources and environment foundation, and provides a basis for the scientific control of desertification control activities and policy-making related to ecological compensation.
(3) It can easily be noticed that ecological compensation for desertification control should take full consideration of the characteristic difference and dominant factors in different regions, tightly around the main line of desert ecosystem service supply-flow-consumption. A research framework should be formed for ecological compensation for desertification control from basic research to comprehensive decision making, and finally inform the public about the positive effects of a desert ecosystem.
(4) With the inter-science crossing and integrated innovation of economics, ecology, geography and other disciplines, and a wide application of a variety of mathematical models in the desert ecosystem services assessment, there are more possibilities to scientifically construct ecological compensation standards.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Adamo S B, Crews-Meyer K A, 2006. Aridity and desertification: Exploring environmental hazards in Jáchal, Argentina.Applied Geography, 26: 61-85.This paper explores environmental hazards, more specifically desertification processes, in an area of west central Argentina, addressing the combined influence of the physical framework and the long lasting human settlement and use of natural resources. It is based upon the analysis of remotely sensed using vegetation indices, image differentiation, change detection, and pattern metrics. The results indicate a net decreased in the amount of vegetation between 1973 and 2001, and increasing fragmentation of vegetation classes. This is interpreted as a sign of the presence of land degradation processes likely linked to human activities in the areas of irrigated farming, grazing, firewood gathering and population settlement.


Allendorf T D, Yang J, 2013. The role of ecosystem services in park-people relationships: The case of Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve in Southwest China.Biological Conservation, 167: 187-193.Finding common ground between local residents’ livelihoods and the conservation of protected areas in developing countries has been considered a challenge. Recently, ecosystem services have been used as a framework to understand the benefits that protected areas provide local residents. In this study, we explore the role of ecosystem services in residents’ relationships with Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve (GNR) in Yunnan, China. GNR is located in a biodiversity hotspot and in an area that has been affected severe droughts. Results show that the majority of people recognize ecosystem services as benefits from GNR, particularly regulating services such as the provision of water. Respondents who perceived regulating services were more likely to be older, male, of Yi ethnicity, more educated, and grow sugarcane but not corn. However, controlling for residents’ knowledge about GNR, the effects of gender, age, and education decrease or disappear, while ethnicity and agricultural crops grown remain significant. This study demonstrates that people recognize common ground between their livelihoods and GNR and suggests that people’s knowledge about GNR, cultural context, and agricultural experiences influence their appreciation of ecosystem services from GNR. This study highlights that protected area conservation, if conducted with awareness of people’s already-existing perceptions of benefits, can begin with a discussion of win–win scenarios.


Amiraslani F, Dragovich D, 2011. Combating desertification in Iran over the last 50 years: An overview of changing approaches.Journal of Environmental Management, 92: 1-13.Desertification in Iran was recognized between the 1930s and 1960s. This paper traces Iran attempts to reclaim desertified areas, evaluates the anti-desertification approaches adopted, and identifies continuing challenges. Iran has areas vulnerable to desertification due to extensive areas of drylands and increasing population pressure on land and water resources. Over-grazing of rangelands is a particular problem. Initially desertification was combated mainly at the local level and involved dune stabilization measures, especially the use of oil mulch, re-vegetation and windbreaks. Insufficient technical planning in the early years has led to changed approaches to plant densities and species diversity in plantations, and increased on-going management of existing plantations. Since the late 1980s forage and crop production has increased in areas where runoff control techniques are practiced. The social and economic aspects of anti-desertification programs have assisted in poverty reduction by providing off-season employment in rural areas. In 2004 a national plan to combat desertification was ratified and this placed an emphasis on community participation. Continuing challenges include managing existing desertified areas as well as taking into account potential future problems associated with rapidly depleting groundwater supplies and a predicted reduction in the plant growth period accompanying climate change.


Bai X F, 2003. The evaluation of ecosystem services value of land use in desertification area: A case study in Yijihuoluo [D]. Beijing: China Agricultural University. (in Chinese)

Bartczak A, Metelska-Szaniawska K, 2015. Should we pay, and to whom, for biodiversity enhancement in private forests? An empirical study of attitudes towards payments for forest ecosystem services in Poland.Land Use Policy, 48: 261-269.This paper investigates the possibility of forest policy changes in Poland. The main objective is to investigate whether, and to whom, the society would be willing to pay for providing biodiversity enhancement in private forests. The empirical evidence is derived from a stated preference survey conducted on the national level and analyzed using a multinomial logit model (MNL). Our findings show a rather strong potential for the implementation of payments for ecosystem services (PES) in private forests, even though historical and institutional conditions are not favorable. The results also indicate a significant role of environmental attitudes in viewing the national and local governments as those responsible for financing the implementation of changes in private forests. They allow to provide recommendations for planning authorities and decision-makers not only in Poland but also in the other Central and Eastern European countries, where payments for ecosystem services have no long tradition.


Bennett D E, Gosnell H, Lurie Set al., 2014. Utility engagement with payments for watershed services in the United States.Ecosystem Services, 8: 56-64.This research demonstrates the growing use of payments for watershed services (PWS) by drinking water, wastewater, and electric utilities in the USA to meet a variety of objectives and considers the potential these widespread and long established institutions hold in driving PWS implementation and mainstreaming ecosystem services approaches. We developed a working typology highlighting similarities and differences among 37 identified programs covering source water protection, fire risk mitigation, point source pollution offsets, voluntary customer offsets, and hydropower mitigation. We identified six distinct mechanisms for funding the identified programs. Sales taxes and bond measures generated the most annual funding per capita while voluntary ratepayer contributions and donated water conservation savings generated the least. A variety of actors were involved in the implementation of these different programs. Notably, nonprofit organizations were critical to each program type and often acted as important intermediaries, facilitating transactions among utilities and landowners. We found these initiatives face multiple challenges including the difficulty of demonstrating the business case for investments in ecosystem services and changes in the regulatory environment that can decrease ecosystem service demand and limit flexibility in pursuing PWS approaches.


Bennett D E, Gosnell H, 2015. Integrating multiple perspectives on payments for ecosystem services through a social-ecological systems framework.Ecological Economics, 116: 172-181.This article presents a new conceptual approach to understanding payments for ecosystem services (PES) through a synthesis of distinct perspectives using a social–ecological system (SES) framework. While the different perspectives on PES provide valuable insights, each emphasizes different variables complicating comparisons across studies and contexts. We suggest that a more integrative conceptualization of PES—through synthesis with the SES framework—is necessary to take into account the broader social and ecological landscapes in which PES initiatives are embedded. The SES framework can provide insight into the multitude of factors that influence PES and facilitate the integration of knowledge from diverse disciplinary perspectives by providing a common language and consistency in the variables considered in analyses. This article also presents an initial effort in the development a taxonomy of key variables relevant to analyzing and understanding PES. With ongoing application of the SES framework, we expect the list of key variables to grow and be modified. We feel the SES framework will help scholars move beyond academic debates and towards a shared understanding of the potential and limitations of PES as a policy mechanism for addressing complex ecosystem service management problems in diverse SESs.


Bidak L M, Kamal S A, Halmy M W A et al., 2015. Goods and services provided by native plants in desert ecosystems: Examples from the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt. Global Ecology and Conservation, 3: 433-447.About one third of the earth land surface is covered by deserts that have low and variable rainfall, nutrient-poor soils, and little vegetation cover. Here, we focus on the goods and services offered by desert ecosystems using the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt extending from Burg El-Arab to El-Salloum as an example. We conducted field surveys and collected other data to identify the goods services and provided by native plant species. A total of 322 native plant species were compiled. The direct services provided by these native plants included sources of food, medicine, and energy; indirect vegetation services included promotion of biodiversity, water storage, and soil fertility. The plant diversity in this ecosystem provided economic service benefits, such as sources of fodder, fuel-wood, and traditional medicinal plants. Changes in land use and recent ill-managed human activities may influence the availability of these services and strongly impact biodiversity and habitat availability. Although deserts are fragile and support low levels of productivity, they provide a variety of goods and services whose continuing availability is contingent upon the adoption of rational land management practices.


Camacho-Valdez V, Ruiz-Luna A, Ghermandi Aet al., 2014. Effects of land use changes on the ecosystem service values of coastal wetlands.Environmental Management, 54(4): 852-864.Changes in the coastal landscape of Southern Sinaloa (Mexico), between 2000 and 2010, were analyzed to relate spatial variations in wetlands extent with the provision and economic value of the ecosystem services (ES). Remote sensing techniques applied to Landsat TM imagery were used to evaluate land use/land cover changes while the value transfer method was used to assess the value of ES by land cover category. Five wetland types and other four land covers were found as representative of the coastal landscape. Findings reveal a 14% decrease in the saltmarsh/forested mangrove area and a 12% increase in the area of shrimp pond aquaculture (artificial wetland) during the study period. ES valuation shows that the total value flow increased by 9% from $215 to $233 million (2007 USD) during the 10-year period. This increase is explained as result of the high value worldwide assigned to saltmarsh. We recognize limitations in the transfer-based approach in quantifying and mapping ES values in the region, but this method provides with value estimates spatially defined, and also provides some guidance in the preliminary screening of policies and projected development in the context of data-scarce regions.


Cao S X, Chen L, Xu C G et al., 2007. Impact of three soil types on afforestation in China’s Loess Plateau: Growth and survival of six tree species and their effects on soil properties. Landscape and Urban Planning, 83(2/3): 208-217.Soil chemical and physical characteristics can significantly affect the growth and distribution of all types of vegetation, particularly in arid environments. Because of soil erosion, most of the topsoil has disappeared from China's arid Loess Plateau, exposing parent material or soils with low nutrient content in many locations. However, little research has been done on the impact of these soil conditions on afforestation efforts. Conventional afforestation in the area is only thought to be possible on loess soils because the local foresters consider the two other main soil types (red clay and bedrock-derived soils) too barren to support trees. In an attempt to determine whether these soils could also support afforestation, we planted trees on all three soil types in a hilly area of the Loess Plateau near Yan n City. The results indicate that large-scale afforestation in loess soils could potentially increase the severity of soil water shortages, degrade the natural environment, and increase the risks of desertification and of serious economic losses because of over-consumption of soil moisture. However, survival rates on red clay and bedrock-derived soils were generally comparable to those on loess for individual species, and were superior to those on loess in mixed-species plantations, with less of an adverse impact on soil water. Both red clay and bedrock-derived soils could thus potentially sustain afforestation in low-lying areas with adequate soil moisture.


Chasek P, Safriel U, Shikongo S et al., 2015. Operationalizing zero net land degradation: The next stage in international efforts to combat desertification? Journal of Arid Environments, 112: 5-13.61Offsetting land degradation by restoring already degraded land leads to ZNLD.61ZNLD ensures feeding the world's people better than turning forests into croplands.61ZNLD requires monitoring degradation and productivity indicators.61ZNLD needs testing at the community level and global recognition at the UN level.61Upscaling locally attained ZNLD would lead to land degradation neutral world (LDNW).


Chen Y H, 2013. Study on relationship between the climatic factors in Northwest China and the sandstorm [D]. Nanjing: Nanjing University of Information Engineering. (in Chinese)

Chun M, 2011. Research on ecological compensation mechanism of cultivated land in desertification area: A case study of Naiman Banner [D]. Hohhot: Inner Mongolia Normal University. (in Chinese)

Claassen R, Cattaneo A, Johansson R, 2008. Cost-effective design of agri-environmental payment programs: US experience in theory and practice.Ecological Economics, 65: 737-752.Key features of U.S. agri-environmental programs are reviewed and analyzed using literature review and program data. We focus, in particular, on several key questions: Has benefit–cost targeting increased the environmental benefit obtained from program budgets? Has competitive bidding reduced program costs? To what extent have these program designs resulted in additional gain (that would not have otherwise been obtained)? Previous research illustrates how benefit–cost targeting using environmental indices (such as the Environmental Benefits Index in the Conservation Reserve Program) can increase environmental cost-effectiveness. Previous research and data from two U.S. programs suggests that bidding has reduced costs, but that the full potential of bidding may not have been realized. Finally, most U.S. programs are intended to yield environmental gains that would not have otherwise been obtained, but sometimes fall short of this goal.


Clements T, John A, Nielsen K et al., 2010. Payments for biodiversity conservation in the context of weak institutions: Comparison of three programs from Cambodia. Ecological Economics, 69: 1283-1291.Implementing any conservation intervention, including Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), in the context of weak institutions is challenging. The majority of PES programs have been implemented in situations where the institutional framework and property rights are strong and target the behaviours of private landowners. By contrast, this paper compares three PES programs from a forest landscape in Cambodia, where land and resource rights are poorly defined, governance is poor, species populations are low and threats are high. The programs vary in the extent to which payments are made directly to individuals or to villages and the degree of involvement of local management institutions. The programs were evaluated against three criteria: the institutional arrangements, distribution of costs and benefits, and the conservation results observed. The most direct individual contracts had the simplest institutional arrangements, the lowest administrative costs, disbursed significant payments to individual villagers making a substantial contribution to local livelihoods, and rapidly protected globally significant species. However, this program also failed to build local management organisations or understanding of conservation goals. By contrast the programs that were managed by local organisations were slower to become established but crucially were widely understood and supported by local people, and were more institutionally effective. PES programs may therefore be more sustainable when they act to empower local institutions and reinforce intrinsic motivations.


Costanza R, D Arge R, De Groot Ret al., 1997. The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital.Nature, 387(6630): 253-260.This article provides a crude initial estimate of the value of ecosystem services to the economy. Using data from previous published studies and a few original calculations the current economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 16 biomes was estimated. The services of ecological systems and the natural capital stocks that produce them are critical to the functioning of the Earths life-support system. They contribute to human welfare both directly and indirectly and therefore represent part of the total economic value of the planet. It was estimated that for the entire biosphere the value (most of which is outside the market) ranges US$16-54 trillion/year with an average of US$33 trillion/year. Due to the nature of uncertainties this must be considered a minimum estimate. In addition the global gross national product total is around US$18 trillion/year.


Cui X H, 2009. Valuation of terrestrial ecosystem services and values: A case study of desert ecosystems in China [D]. Beijing: Chinese Academy of Forestry. (in Chinese)

Curran M, Kiteme B, Wünscher T et al., 2016. Pay the farmer, or buy the land? Cost-effectiveness of payments for ecosystem services versus land purchases or easements in Central Kenya. Ecological Economics, 127: 59-67.Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) have emerged as a popular conservation tool, yet evaluation alongside other direct conservation strategies remains piecemeal. We prospectively compared cost-effectiveness of PES to Land Purchases or Easements (LPE) in Central Kenya. We spatially predicted opportunity costs and land prices using household survey and literature data, and sampled conservation management costs from four regional conservation organizations. We simulated a fixed-budget, spatial ecological–economic site selection process for conservation intervention (PES or LPE) over 3002years. We included effects of land markets, property value fluctuations, rising agricultural productivity and climate change. Depending on the scenario, the LPE strategy led to larger reserves (by 26%–610%), better representation of mammal species' ranges (by 47%–112%) and lower unit costs (by 26%–48%). Adding a yearly egalitarian social development payment to the LPE strategy did not increase costs beyond the basic PES model. Our findings were robust to discount rate choice, but cost savings of LPE only materialized after about a decade. Furthermore, Kenyan law restricts foreign land ownership and the use of land easements, thus simpler institutional requirements make PES a more immediate, if less effective, property-based tool.


Dai J H, Wang H J, Wang H Let al., 2012. An introduction to framework of assessment of the value of ecosystem services.Progress in Geography, 31(7): 963-969. (in Chinese)Ecosystem assessment is the foundation of ecosystem management and conservation.In recent years,many studies have assessed the ecosystem services for various types in multiple scales.These results enhance people understanding of ecosystem services.But some of the current assessment results are not reasonable so that they play a minor role in the practice of ecosystem compensation.So it is crucial to further study the framework of ecosystem services assessment so that we can better understand the actual value of ecosystem services.Based on the previous related theoretical framework for valuing ecosystem services,this study examines the advantages of each framework comprehensively,and summarizes an integrated framework for ecosystem services value assessment.In particular,this framework focuses on some key issues,including the economic theory for valuing ecosystem services,scales of ecosystem services and stakeholders.This framework aims to value the ecosystem services reasonably,to follow the wish to pay(WTP) rules and to combine the ecosystem services value with different stakeholders on multiple scales,which can enhance the applicability and maneuverability of assessment results and help determine the standard and objects of ecological compensation.


Daily G C, 1997. Nature’s services: Societal dependence on natural ecosystems. Washington DC: Island Press.

De Groot R S, Wilson M A, Boumans R M J, 2002. A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services.Ecological Economics, 41(3): 393-408.An increasing amount of information is being collected on the ecological and socio-economic value of goods and services provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems. However, much of this information appears scattered throughout a disciplinary academic literature, unpublished government agency reports, and across the World Wide Web. In addition, data on ecosystem goods and services often appears at incompatible scales of analysis and is classified differently by different authors. In order to make comparative ecological economic analysis possible, a standardized framework for the comprehensive assessment of ecosystem functions, goods and services is needed. In response to this challenge, this paper presents a conceptual framework and typology for describing, classifying and valuing ecosystem functions, goods and services in a clear and consistent manner. In the following analysis, a classification is given for the fullest possible range of 23 ecosystem functions that provide a much larger number of goods and services. In the second part of the paper, a checklist and matrix is provided, linking these ecosystem functions to the main ecological, socio ultural and economic valuation methods.


D’Odorico P, Bhattachan A, Davis K F et al., 2013. Global desertification: Drivers and feedbacks. Advances in Water Resources, 51: 326-344.Desertification is a change in soil properties, vegetation or climate, which results in a persistent loss of ecosystem services that are fundamental to sustaining life. Desertification affects large dryland areas around the world and is a major cause of stress in human societies. Here we review recent research on the drivers, feedbacks, and impacts of desertification. A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the drivers and feedbacks of global desertification is motivated by our increasing need to improve global food production and to sustainably manage ecosystems in the context of climate change. Classic desertification theories look at this process as a transition between stable states in bistable ecosystem dynamics. Climate change (i.e., aridification) and land use dynamics are the major drivers of an ecosystem shift to a “desertified” (or “degraded”) state. This shift is typically sustained by positive feedbacks, which stabilize the system in the new state. Desertification feedbacks may involve land degradation processes (e.g., nutrient loss or salinization), changes in rainfall regime resulting from land-atmosphere interactions (e.g., precipitation recycling, dust emissions), or changes in plant community composition (e.g., shrub encroachment, decrease in vegetation cover). We analyze each of these feedback mechanisms and discuss their possible enhancement by interactions with socio-economic drivers. Large scale effects of desertification include the emigration of “environmental refugees” displaced from degraded areas, climatic changes, and the alteration of global biogeochemical cycles resulting from the emission and long-range transport of fine mineral dust. Recent research has identified some possible early warning signs of desertification, which can be used as indicators of resilience loss and imminent shift to desert-like conditions. We conclude with a brief discussion on some desertification control strategies implemented in different regions around the world.


Feng X M, Fu B J, Piao S L et al., 2016. Revegetation in China’s Loess Plateau is approaching sustainable water resource limits. Nature Climate Change, 6: 1019-1022.Revegetation of degraded ecosystems provides opportunities for carbon sequestration and bioenergy production(1,2). However, vegetation expansion inwater-limited areas creates potentially conflicting demands for water between the ecosystem and humans(3). Current understanding of these competing demands is still limited(4). Here, we study the semi-arid Loess Plateau in China, where the 'Grain to Green' large-scale revegetation programme has been in operation since 1999. As expected, we found that the new planting has caused both net primary productivity (NPP) and evapotranspiration (ET) to increase. Also the increase of ET has induced a significant (p < 0.001) decrease in the ratio of river runoff to annual precipitation across hydrological catchments. From currently revegetated areas and human water demand, we estimate a threshold of NPP of 400 +/- 5 g C m(-2) yr(-1) above which the population will suffer water shortages. NPP in this region is found to be already close to this limit. The threshold of NPP could change by 36% in the worst case of climate drying and high human withdrawals, to C 43% in the best case. Our results develop a new conceptual framework to determine the critical carbon sequestration that is sustainable in terms of both ecological and socio-economic resource demands in a coupled anthropogenic-biological system.


Galati A, Crescimanno M, Gristina L et al., 2016. Actual provision as an alternative criterion to improve the efficiency of payments for ecosystem services for C sequestration in semiarid vineyards. Agricultural Systems, 114: 58-64.

Gao J L, Hao Y G, Ding G Det al., 2013. Primary assessment on the wind-breaking and sand-fixing function of the vegetation and its value in Ulan Buh desert ecosystem.Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment, 27(12): 41-46. (in Chinese)The service functional and its value of wind-breaking and sand-fixing were evaluated based on the theory and method of ecological economics in Ulan Buh desert ecosystem.The results showed that the material mass of wind-breaking and sand-fixing was 2.75 108t,and the value was 44.204 108Yuan.It proved that there were a great of ecological economic values in desert ecosystems,so the desert ecosystems should be protected and reasonably exploited in the process of development and construction in the future.The evaluation result is able to provide a scientific basis for the formation of ecological environment construction policy and national macro decision-making.


Gatiso T T, Vollan B, Nuppenau E A, 2015. Resource scarcity and democratic elections in commons dilemmas: An experiment on forest use in Ethiopia.Ecological Economics, 114: 199-207.We study the effect of resource scarcity on human behavior using dynamic lab-in-the-field experiments which are framed around the extraction of trees from a communally managed forest in Ethiopia. Subjects who faced resource scarcity were less cooperative than those who faced more abundant commons condition. When initial condition of the commons was relatively abundant it seemed more likely that resource users established a norm of reciprocity. We further found that especially men overharvested under resource scarcity which is in line with studies that had found men to be more competitive. We also tested different policies. We found that gaining legitimacy through election increases cooperation independent of whether the resource is scarce or abundant. When sanctions were imposed we observed a crowding-out effect of intrinsic motivation to cooperate under resource abundance. With resource scarcity imposed sanctions did not lead to a crowding-out effect but democratic elections were by far more effective.


Gee K, Burkhard B, 2010. Cultural ecosystem services in the context of offshore wind farming: A case study from the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein.Ecological Complexity, 7: 349-358.Although frequently referred to in the literature, the concept of cultural ecosystem services (CES) has so far been limited in its application. Difficulties arise when specifying the nature of intangible values, but more significantly when it comes to relating intangible values to ecosystem functions. After setting out some conceptual issues, this paper uses a case study on the German North Sea coast to illustrate ways of operationalising the concept in a marine context. Based on a survey of local residents, we first identify current CES in the sea and the intangible values associated with them. Seascape and place emerge as useful conceptual bridges linking ecosystem functioning outcomes to key CES values. We then relate this to offshore wind farming, which some residents perceive as a significant threat to certain CES. Although the approach presented increases the visibility of intangible ecosystem values, the problem remains that such assessments are temporal, in need of added calibration and do not automatically put intangibles on a par with market ecosystem value.


Glenn E, Smith M S, Squires V, 1998. On our failure to control desertification: Implications for global change issues, and a research agenda for the future.Environmental Science & Policy, 1(2): 71-78.Desertification has been recognized as a major environmental problem for more than 20 years. Control of desertification has been the subject of many international efforts; it has been a major focus of UNEP and there is a UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Despite this, control of desertification is considered by many observers to have been a failure. This paper reviews the history of formalized efforts to combat desertification, looks at the lessons that should be learned, and identifies opportunities for establishing closer links between desertification and other aspects of global change research. These include integrating biophysical and social science disciplines, the use of a hierarchical approach to research and monitoring, the development of functional classifications of landscapes and social systems, and the implementation of specific studies on key representative transects across the world. Progress towards repairing this form of land degradation will depend upon developing economic links between desertification and other global environmental problems.


Gou Q Q, Han Z W, Du H Qet al., 2012. Review on sandstorm sources and its control measures in China.Journal of Desert Research, 32(6): 1559-1564. (in Chinese)Sandstorm research attracts most attentions in recent years because of its serious impacts on people's daily life.A systematic review on research of sandstorm sources and its control measures can help to outline the sandstorm sources status and further provide theoretic foundation and policy support for controlling sandstorms in China.This paper firstly reviewed the basic concept and spatial-temporal distribution characteristic of sandstorms in China,then summarized the research results at home and abroad.Some prospects for further research in China are put forward.


Green B H, 1989. Agriculture impacts on the rural environment.Journal of Applied Ecology, 26: 793-802.Post-war agriculture in Britain and the EEC, facilitated by new technology and state support, has been very successful in increasing food supplies to a level where most products are now in surplus.Substantial environmental impacts have resulted, particularly habitat and species loss and pollution from pesticides and nitrogen fertilizer. Problems of soil compaction and erosion have not been widespread but concern is growing over the increasing incidence of soil erosion.Policy measures are now being implemented to reduce production by switching some state support for agriculture from production to environmental management.Production can be reduced either by a return to lower-input/output systems, or by taking land out of farming use. There is a vigorous debate in the environmental movement as to which strategy, or mix of strategies, would maximise environmental benefits.


Han Y W, Tuo X S, Gao J Xet al., 2011. Assessment on the sand-fixing function and its value of the vegetation in eco-function protection areas of the lower reaches of the Heihe River.Journal of Natural Resources, 26(1): 58-65. (in Chinese)Assessing the ecosystem service function and its value was a hot topic in ecology and economics research,and the establishment of the key eco-function protection areas had great effect on the national security and the socio-economic development in China.This study offered a theoretical basis for the protection and construction of the key eco-function areas.The eco-function protection areas of the lower reaches of the Heihe River were located in Ejinaqi,Inner Mongolia,with an area of 5.1 104 km2.Supported by the techniques of RS and GIS,based on the RS data of 1986,1996 and 2006,using the sand transport flux models,the sand-fixing function of vegetation and its economic value were assessed in the eco-function protection areas.The results showed that the amounts of the sand-fixing were 9056 104 t,4972 104 t and 6296 104 t in 1986,1996 and 2006 respectively;the sand-fixing ability of different vegetation covers differed greatly,the forest land was the highest(9532 t/km2),shrubbery land was the second(9494 t/km2),and the low cover grassland was the smallest(5182 t/km2);the sand-fixing function decreased during the period of 1986-1996 and increased during 1996-2006;the spatial difference of sand-fixing function was obvious and the areas having higher sand-fixing ability spread sparsely in the high vegetation fraction areas around rivers and lakes;and the value of the sand-fixing function was higher,reaching 53.1 108 yuan in 2006,which was 5.1 times the value of the GDP in 2006.


Hardin G, 1968. The tragedy of the commons.Science, 162: 1243-1248.


Hartter J, Goldman A, 2011. Local responses to a forest park in western Uganda: Alternate narratives on fortress conservation.Oryx, 45: 60-68.Most research on attitudes to parks in sub-Saharan Africa has been in savannah regions and areas of low population density. Expulsion, exclusion and the imposition of external control are dominant themes, resulting in negative responses to parks, particularly those that represent hard-edged so-called fortress conservation. Our research in the densely populated area around a mid altitude forest park in western Uganda found an alternate narrative in which, despite its hard-edged fortress features, most people view Kibale National Park favourably. Based on a geographically random sample in two agricultural areas neighbouring the Park, our results indicate that most households felt they benefit from the Park and only a small proportion cited negative impacts. Rather than direct economic returns, the benefits most commonly noted by respondents can be characterized as ecosystem services. Most individual respondents and a large majority of the local political leaders said that the Park should continue to exist. Crop raiding by animals from the Park is a problem in some locations but resource restrictions and expulsion were not widely cited by our respondents. The fact that the large majority of residents migrated to the area after the Park was established may be an important explanatory factor for these responses, and this is also likely to be the case for many other mid altitude tropical forest parks, the demographic and land-use histories of which differ from those around many savannah parks.


Hauser S, Meixler M S, Laba M, 2015. Quantification of impacts and ecosystem services loss in New Jersey coastal wetlands due to hurricane sandy storm surge.Wetlands, 35(6): 1137-1148.The effects of Hurricane Sandy storm surge on wetland degradation and consequent loss of ecosystem services were estimated for coastal wetlands in New Jersey. Research in this field has qualitatively...


Hofstad O, Araya M M, 2015. Optimal wood harvest in miombo woodland considering REDD + payments: A case study at Kitulangalo Forest Reserve, Tanzania.Forest Policy and Economics, 51: 9-16.61We developed a Verhulst growth model for miombo woodland.61We used the model to determine economically optimal harvest for charcoal production.61Optimization was done with and without REDD+payments.61At the current charcoal price and interest rate >7.3%, immediate harvest was optimal.61At 10% interest rate, REDD+payments had to be USD15/tCO2 to avoid wood harvest.


Home R, Balmer O, Jahrl Iet al., 2014. Motivations for implementation of ecological compensation areas on Swiss lowland farms.Journal of Rural Studies, 34: 26-36.Swiss farmers receive subsidies for reserving ecological compensation areas on their farms with the aim of encouraging biodiversity, but recent studies have found that the existing system of incentives is insufficient to halt biodiversity loss in the Swiss agricultural landscape. An effective targeting of incentives is needed to motivate farmers to implement conservation measures on farmland. The primary aim of this study is to identify the motivations that contribute to the intention of Swiss farmers to engage in conservation on their farms. Fifteen Swiss lowland farmers were interviewed using qualitative interviews and their responses to questions about their attitudes toward nature conservation were categorised and classified according to Ajzen's (1991) theory of planned behaviour. It was found that the farmers' identities and their experiences with past nature conservation measures combine with their expectations of direct benefits, such as financial incentives, and their trust that the measures will produce the desired outcomes, to form a behavioural attitude. The sampled Swiss farmers display a strong sense of fairness, which drives them to comply with subjective norms, although they feel torn between a societal expectation to conserve nature and a wish to appear productive to their peers. We conclude by recommending that any changes to the policy framework should be undertaken in a consultative process and that Swiss lowland farmers be allowed the flexibility to implement measures that will produce the best conservation outcomes on their farms.


Hu X F, 2015. Regional ecological compensation mechanism in the view of ecological civilization: Taken Jiangxi province as an example [D]. Nanchang: Nanchang University. (in Chinese)

Huang Q, Sun H B, Wang R Het al., 2007. Effect of oasis land-use and land-cover change on ecosystem service values in typical mountain-oasis-desert system in arid region.Journal of Desert Research, 27(1): 76-81. (in Chinese)It is significant to study the effect of land-use and land-cover change on regional ecosystem service values.Taking Qiemo oasis,a typical MODS(Mountain-Oasis-Desert System) of arid region as an example,this paper has analyzed the land-use and land-cover change over the past 15 years by interpreting the Landsat TM image in 1989 and CBERS remote sensing image in 2004.Furthermore,the dynamic changes of the ecosystem service value in Qiemo oasis caused by land-use and land-cover change were evaluated by adopting the method of Chinese Continental Ecosystem Service Value Estimation.The result indicated that the land-use types of forest,Gobi desert and salina decreased from 1989 to 2004,whereas,types of farmland,water area and construction land increased.The forest land had a decrease of 41.73% and farmland had an increase of 58.04%.The total ecosystem service value in Qiemo oasis had decreased from 184 349.88 10~(4) yuan(RMB) of year 1989 to 176 970.72 10~(4) yuan(RMB) of year 2004.The reduction of forest land is mainly responsible for the reduction of the ecosystem service value.So,it is important to protect regional ecological environment and improve the service function of regional ecosystem.

Kolinjivadi V, Adamowski J, Kosoy N, 2014. Recasting payments for ecosystem services (PES) in water resource management: A novel institutional approach.Ecosystem Services, 10: 144-154.Understanding linkages between human well-being and ecological stewardship at the land-water nexus is needed in order to develop effective, equitable, and resilient institutions to govern watershed resources. In this paper, we argue that payments for ecosystem services (PES) plays a useful role for achieving integrated and adaptive water resource management, but only if attention is drawn to: (a) nested governance arrangements which reflect horizontal coordination across space according to the economic characteristics of watershed goods and services as well as hierarchical legitimacy between higher and lower levels of governance; (b) ‘payments’ that are socially negotiated rather than designed according to oversimplified efficiency claims for watershed services and (c) ‘payments’ that are well placed to overcome the individual, social and physical constraints associated with watershed goods and services so that capabilities or the freedom to do and be can be enhanced. This paper illustrates the impossibility of effectuating sheer market-based trades for regulating, cultural and supporting ecosystem services due to their inherent non-rival characteristics. Furthermore, a heuristic approach to characterising watershed goods and services clearly demarcates the extent to which PES can serve as an implementation tool for integrated and adaptive water resources management.


Kosoy N, Corbera E, Brown K, 2008. Participation in payments for ecosystem services: Case studies from the Lacandon rainforest, Mexico.Geoforum, 39(6): 2073-2083.Understanding people’s willingness to participate in projects and programmes of payments for ecosystem services (PES) has not been a key analytical concern of the scholarly literature around this new field of environmental policy and practice. This paper analyses participation in four communities benefiting from payments for biodiversity and carbon fixation in Mexico, and contrasts the results for each case with neighbouring communities that do not receive payments. We take a holistic approach that accounts for procedural rules, actors’ interactions, institutions and values, and individuals’ characteristics. We show that the nature of PES rules and the effectiveness of communication with government officers and NGOs influence resource managers’ ability and willingness to participate. We highlight community size, resource managers’ ability to diversify livelihood activities and local perspectives on the conservation of common forests, particularly sacred values and intergenerational concerns on forest conservation, as critical participation drivers. This analysis provides insights on why and how these new institutions may be attractive for some resource managers and permits to draw some recommendations for the future design of PES projects and programmes.


Kroeger T, Manalo P, 2007. Economic benefits provided by natural lands: Case study of California’s Mojave Desert. Washington.

Kwayu E J, Sallu S M, Paavola J, 2014. Farmer participation in the equitable payments for watershed services in Morogoro, Tanzania.Ecosystem Services, 7: 1-9.This article contributes to the limited empirical evidence on the determinants of farmers' participation decision in agricultural land (land use-modifying) payments for ecosystem services (PES) in developing countries. It examines how farmer and farm characteristics, programme factors, and the institutional context of its implementation determine farmers' decisions to participate in the Equitable Payments for Watershed Services (EPWS) programme in Morogoro, Tanzania, to shed light on participation in land use-modifying PES programmes more widely. The EPWS programme in the Kibungo Juu ward of Morogoro promotes the adoption of sustainable land management practices such as agro-forestry, reforestation and terracing to improve quality and quantity of water for downstream users. We used a multi-method approach to make use of both qualitative and quantitative data. We found that farm size, information, participation of farmers in the programme design and the needed degree of change in land management determined the adoption of sustainable land management practices. To foster the participation of small farmers, attention needs to be paid to the availability and access to information, participation of farmers in the design of programmes, local compatibility of practices, and support for initial costs of adoption.


Larson J S, Mazzarese D B, 1994. Rapid assessment of wetlands: History and application to management. In: Global Wetlands: Old World and New. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 625-636.

Li G P, Shi H Y, 2015. The payment of grain to green project, the behavior choice of peasants and their gains and losses.China Population, Resources and Environment, 25(5): 152-161. (in Chinese)

Li Y, Li S C, Gao Yet al., 2013. Ecosystem services and hierarchic human well-being: Concepts and service classification framework.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(8): 1038-1047. (in Chinese)Millennium Ecosystem Assessment suggested "ecosystem service and human well-being" as the key area in future ecology research.There are a growing number of researches that have focused on this topic.However,debates still go on over the definition and classification of ecosystem service among scientific communities.Confusions in concepts resulted in different understandings of ecosystem services in practical research.This paper reviewed the mainstream definitions and classifications of ecosystem service and discriminated the different service cascades in the delivery of ecosystem service from ecosystem to human well-being.By investigating the essence of human well-being concept and its connection to ecosystem service,the concept of final ecosystem service is used for linking ecosystem and human well-being and thereby a service classification framework for this linkage was developed.Final ecosystem services are classified into three categories,which are well-being construction,well-being maintenance,and well-being improvement based on the contributions of their produced benefits to different hierarchies of human well-being.The service classification framework can be applied in relevant studies such as evaluation of the ecosystem service and analysis of the coupling relationship between ecosystem service and human well-being.

Liu C L, Liu W D, Lu D D, 2014. A study of the geographical features and implications of eco-compensation.Geographical Research, 33(5): 803-816. (in Chinese)Geography studies the nature and movement law of earth surface in a systematic way that involves perspectives of regional differentiation, regional interactions, a synthesis of environmental, societal and human dynamics, and interdependence between spatial scales. The discipline takes human-land territorial system(HLTS) as its hard core of studies. This paper argues that eco-compensation is a typical geographical issue and presents similar features of the HLTS, such as semi-opening, instability and random. Based on such an argument, the paper examines the geographical features and implications of eco-compensation. First, the physical side of the HLTS determines the fundamental relationships between different stakeholders in eco-compensation; second, patterns of economic geography play a critical role in regional differences of eco-compensation; third, regional cultural and institutional environment affects the formation and implementation of eco-compensation policies and measures; and fourth, geographical methods provide techniques for formulating eco-compensation. The paper suggests that region is a key to studying eco-compensation issues, regional structure is a major reference for formulating eco-compensation policies, externality is the scientific basis to carry out eco-compensation, and ownership of geographical elements and resources is a key factor to distinguish different stakeholders in eco-compensation. As such, eco-compensation studies should take a geographical research paradigm of "region-differentiation-scale". In short, the geographical features of eco-compensation can be best manifested by such terms as regionalization, spatial differentiation, comprehensiveness, and dynamics.


Liu Z Y, Dong Z B, Wang J Bet al., 2015. Practice and development of deserticulture in Inner Mongolia, China: A view of ecosystem service system.Journal of Desert Research, 35(4): 1057-1064. (in Chinese)According to the theoretical concepts of deserticulture and ecosystem services, we put forward the concept of ecosystem service system of deserticulture, analyzed the current situation of ecosystem service system of deserticulture in Inner Mongolia, and studied the influence of climate change on the development of deserticulture in Inner Mongolia through the ArcGIS software. At last, we analyzed the achievements, problems, development principles and countermeasure of deserticulture in Inner Mongolia. Judging from the current situation and development trend of climate change, deserticulture development in the space is proposed to shift from west to east in Inner Mongolia, and a sound system of ecosystem services should be built gradually, so as to promote healthy development of deserticulture in Inner Mongolia, improve the level of ecosystem services of deserticulture and eco-socio-economic coordination in Inner Mongolia.

Lu C X, Zhao T Y, Shi X L et al., 2016. Ecological restoration by afforestation may increase groundwater depth and create potentially large ecological and water opportunity costs in arid and semiarid China. Journal of Cleaner Production. .

Luo J, Liu G C, Li C Let al., 2014. Discussion on eco-compensation standard of farmland in northern sandy area of Naiman based on ecosystem service.Journal of Inner Mongolia Forestry Science & Technology, 40(1): 47-51. (in Chinese)Based on the ecosystem service,the eco- compensation standard of farmland in Naiman has been discussed through comparing the ecosystem service value of farmland and grassland with different suitability. Using the per unit area ecosystem service value of different terrestrial ecosystem in China( Xie,et al,2003) to calculate the ecosystem service value suitable for the grassland in the study area. According to the per unit area output of crops of different suitability farmland in the study area and using equivalent factor method to make the equivalent factor table suitable for the study area,the ecosystem service value of different suitability farmland has been calculated. Through comparing the ecosystem service value of different suitability farmland and grassland in Naiman,the results show that in the study area,the ecosystem service value for non- suitable farmland( 992. 55 Yuan / hm2 a) and critical suitable farnland( 3 941. 78 Yuan / hm2 a) are lower than that of the grassland( 7 303. 41 Yuan/hm2 a). Thus,it can improve the ecosystem service value of land to return the above- mentioned two kinds of farmland to grassland,at the same time,it also can be favorable to the desertification control and the ecoenvironment restoration.


Lv Z X, Gao B T, 2009. Study on ecological compensation system and land desertification controlling. Journal of Anhui Agri. Sci., 37(32): 15907/15908, 15937. (in Chinese)The problems of desertification controlling in China were analyzed from the perspective of ecological compensation.Firstly,there was no guarantee of ecological compensation system in desertification controlling.The connotation and significance of land desertification and ecological compensation system were summarized,and the views concerning the solution of ecological benefit compensation were introduced.Secondly,the deficiency of ecological compensation system led to the low positivity of the masses in controlling sand.Desertification controlling should be combined with local economic development,so as to establish a long-term mechanism for promoting desertification controlling and economic development.Finally,the construction of ecological compensation system in the process of desertification controlling was discussed.① The legislation of ecological compensation should be strengthened with Scientific Development View as the guide.② The innovation of the channels of ecological compensation mechanism should be made.③ Policy innovation of the mechanism should be realized.④ Relevant law should be revised while the concrete regulations of ecological compensation should be written into the law.

MA, 2003. Ecosystem and Human Wellbeing: A Framework for Assessment. Washing DC: Island Press.

MA, 2005. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: Synthesis. Washing DC: Island Press.

Mao X Q, Zhong Y, Zhang S, 2002. Conception, theory and mechanism of eco-compensation.China Population, Resources and Environment, 12(4): 38-41. (in Chinese)Eco compensation is an environmental economics instrument for internalization of external cost. Three core aspects of eco compensation issues are: who compensation whom; how much to compensate, and, what is the appropriate compensation mechanism. The implementation of eco compensation must be based on property right clarification, and the compensation quantum must cover the opportunity cost of ownership transaction. Moreover, compensation mechanisms are discussed briefly.

Marshall A, 1890. Principles of Economics. Beijing: People’s Daily Publishing House.

Martínez-Valderrama J, Ibáñez J, Del Barrio Get al., 2016. Present and future of desertification in Spain: Implementation of a surveillance system to prevent land degradation.Science of the Total Environment, 563/564: 169-178.Abstract Mitigation strategies are crucial for desertification given that once degradation starts, other solutions are extremely expensive or unworkable. Prevention is key to handle this problem and solutions should be based on spotting and deactivating the stressors of the system. Following this topic, the Spanish Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (SPACD) created the basis for implementing two innovative approaches to evaluate the threat of land degradation in the country. This paper presents tools for preventing desertification in the form of a geomatic approach to enable the periodic assessments of the status and trends of land condition. Also System Dynamics modelling has been used to integrate bio-physical and socio-economic aspects of desertification to explain and analyse degradation in the main hot spots detected in Spain. The 2dRUE procedure was implemented to map the land-condition status by comparing potential land productivity according to water availability, the limiting factor in arid lands, with plant-biomass data. This assessment showed that 20% of the territory is degraded and an additional 1% is actively degrading. System Dynamics modelling was applied to study the five desertification landscapes identified by the SPACD. The risk analysis, implemented on these models, concluded that 'Herbaceous crops affected by soil erosion' is the landscape most at risk, while the Plackett-Burman sensitivity analysis used to rank the factors highlighted the supremacy of climatic factors above socioeconomic drivers. Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Matthies B D, Kalliokoski T, Eyvindson Ket al., 2016. Nudging service providers and assessing service trade-offs to reduce the social inefficiencies of payments for ecosystem services schemes.Environmental Science & Policy, 55: 228-237.Socially inefficient payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes result when adverse shifts in the provisioning of other ecosystem services (ES) or overpayment to service providers occur. To address these inefficiencies, a holistic evaluation of trade-offs between services should be conducted in parallel with determining land owners' service provisioning preferences. Recent evidence also suggests that nudging stakeholders' preferences could be a useful policy design tool to address global change challenges. Forest owners' landscape management preferences were nudged to determine the impact on the social efficiency of PES schemes for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation in Finland. ES indicators for biodiversity conservation, carbon storage, and the albedo effect were included with traditional provisioning services (i.e. timber) and bioenergy to assess the consequent intra-service trade-offs. Synergies in provisioning of regulating services were identified, but were found to be more efficient when the management objective is for biodiversity conservation rather than climate change regulation. Nudging led to marginal gains in service provisioning above the baseline management and above neutral owner preferences, and increased aggregate service provisioning. This demonstrates the importance of considering intra-service trade-offs and that nudging could be an important tool for designing efficient PES schemes. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Mo H W, Ren Z Y, Wang X, 2006. Study on the dynamic change of value of vegetation sand-fixing effect: A case study in the Yuyang region.Arid Zone Research, 23(1): 56-59. (in Chinese)At present,most of the researches about the economic value of vegetation sand-fixing effect are static and qualitative,but the studies on the dynamic change and quantitative appraisal are insufficient to guide the formulation of policies and the implementation of measures for conserving and regenerating ecology.In order to solve the problems above,in this paper,a case study on the estimation and dynamic change of the ecological service value of the woodlands and the grasslands in the Yuyang region during the period of 1988-2003,where strong winds sand drift disasters occur frequently,is carried out based on the data of land use in the region,and an estimating model is developed.The results are as follows:(1) The economic value of vegetation sand-fixing effect was increased in a fluctuation way in the Yuyang region during the period of 1988-2003,in which it was increased during the periods of 1988-1998 and 2001-2002 but decreased during the periods of 1998-2001 and 2002-2003;(2) Ecological policies,natural factors and economic factors affected jointly the change of the ecological service value of sand-fixing effect of the woodlands and the grasslands in the Yuyang region during the period of 1988-2003,and the implementation of the policies about building the shelter-forests and returning farmlands to woodlands has improved the ecological environment in the region;(3) The change of the service value of ecosystems are affected by many different kinds of factors,human disturbance to the change of the service value of ecosystems is mainly by changing the land use patterns,and the response of ecological environment to the dynamic change of the land use patterns is sensitive in the Yuyang region.

Mouchet M A, Paracchini M L, Schulp C J Eet al., 2017, Bundles of ecosystem (dis)services and multifunctionality across European landscapes.Ecological Indicators, 73: 23-28.We present an assessment of the spatial pattern of ecosystem services (ES) associations across Europe based on models of 11 ES and 1 dis-service, mapped at the extent of 27 Member States of the European Union (EU27) on a 1km2grid. We isolated three clusters of cells sharing common features in multi-ES supply associated with the main land-use-land-cover types such as forests and agricultural lands. Confronting these spatial patterns with biophysical and socio-economic drivers revealed two strong gradients structuring European ES bundles, climate and land use intensity. Variations in the diversity of ES bundles provided across administrative units (NUTS 2), quantified by the Shannon diversity index, tend to be higher in forested regions (e.g. SE Romania) and in the mosaic landscapes in the central EU27 (from eastern France to Austria). Lower diversity prevails in areas of homogeneous terrain and land use in north-western Europe (e.g. Western France). Our findings illustrate that ES trade-offs and bundles cannot be reduced to land use conflicts but also depend on climate and, for a specific bundle, to biodiversity.


Muñoz-Piña C, Guevara A, Torres J M et al., 2008. Paying for the hydrological services of Mexico’s forests: Analysis, negotiations and results.Ecological Economics, 65(4): 725-736.Mexico faces both high deforestation and severe water scarcity. The Payment for Hydrological Environmental Services (PSAH) Program was designed to complement other policy responses to the crisis at the interface of these problems. Through the PSAH, the Mexican federal government pays participating forest owners for the benefits of watershed protection and aquifer recharge in areas where commercial forestry is not currently competitive. Funding comes from fees charged to water users, from which nearly US$18 million are earmarked for payments of environmental services. Applicants are selected according to several criteria that include indicators of the value of water scarcity in the region. This paper describes the process of policy design of the PSAH, the main actors involved in the program, its operating rules, and provides a preliminary evaluation. One of the main findings is that many of the program's payments have been in areas with low deforestation risk. Selection criteria need to be modified to better target the areas where benefits to water users are highest and behavior modification has the least cost, otherwise the program main gains will be distributive, but without bringing a Pareto improvement in overall welfare.


Nguyen T T, Pham V D, Tenhunen J, 2013. Linking regional land use and payments for forest hydrological services: A case study of Hoa Binh Reservoir in Vietnam.Land Use Policy, 33: 130-140.We have calculated the economic value of forest hydrological services for Hoa Binh Hydroelectric Plant in Vietnam, which is a major power supplier for the capital Hanoi. Our valuation is based on measurements over a six-year period from 2001 to 2006 in 240 permanent sample plots in different vegetation types distributed throughout the watershed. We have synthesized the information with GIS, and carried out simulations with derived empirical models for different land use, electricity price and payment proportion scenarios. Our findings indicate that the economic value of forest hydrological services for electricity production ranges from 26.3 million USD to 85.5 million USD per year; and that the longevity of the hydroelectric plant can be prolonged by about 35 80 years, depending on the state of forest cover in the watershed.


Ni G H, Zheng F T, Ding Det al., 2013. Oasis agriculture, tragedy of the commons and land desertification: A case from Minqin County, Gansu.Journal of Northwest A&F University (Social Science Edition), 13(3): 12-16. (in Chinese)In this paper,the "tragedy of the commons"theory was used firstly to explain the phenomenon of the coming water reduction at the downstream of Shiyanghe River and the excessive extraction of Minqin groundwater.Further research found that:After years of over-exploitation,the "commons"tragedy of water resources in Minqin has been updated from the issue of competition for water resources inside human beings to the issue of whether human beings can get along well with nature,therefore,the classic solution of "tragedy of the commons"cannot resolve the threat of desertification in Minqin oasis.A higher level of system design is required to use the precious water resources to restore ecology,not to irrigate land.

Ning Y Y, 2010. The compensation mechanism of the grain for green policy of China [D]. Changchun: Jilin University. (in Chinese)

Ouyang Z Y, Wang X K, Miao H, 1999. A primary study on Chinese terrestrial ecosystem services and their ecological-economic values.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 19(5): 607-613. (in Chinese)Ecosystem services are the conditions and processing through which the natural ecosystems and the species,that make them up,sustain and fulfill the human life.They not only supply to the human being with the production of ecosystem goods,but also perform the fundamental life support services,which include the purification of air and water,detoxification and decomposition of wastes,regulation of climate,regeneration of soil fertility,and production and maintenance of biodiversity,mitigation of floods and droughts.The Chinese ecosystem services and their indirect economic values were estimated based on ecological function analysis.The study showed that the indirect economic values in RMB of organic matter production,CO 2 fixation,O 2 release,nutrient recycle,soil protection,water holding capacity and environmental purification were 1 57×10 13 Yuan/a,2 84×10 2 Yuan/a,2 84×10 12 Yuan/a,3 24×10 11 Yuan/a,5 69×10 12 Yuan/a,2 71×10 11 Yuan/a,4 90×10 12 Yuan/a,respectively.

OWG, 2014. OWG Proposal for SDGs.

Pan J, 2014. Main regional eco-compensation and related issues: A case of Beijing and Tianjin sandstorm source region.Journal of Harbin Institute of Technology (Social Science Edition), 16(5): 116-122. (in Chinese)During the practice of Beijing and Tianjin sandstorm source Eco-Compensation,regional compensation body is the Central Government,and the subjects who accept the compensation are Wulanchabu Municipal Government and Zhangjiakou Municipal Government.Other subjects include all levels of government and Reform Commission,the financial sector,resources department,other departments and enterprises,individuals and other social organizations.The realization form of rights and obligations for subjects in practice of Beijing and Tianjin sandstorm source Eco-Compensation is financial transfer payment.There are still ways of masses of self-financing and horizontal fiscal transfer payment.According to the different legal relation of Eco-Compensation subject participation and the role behaviors,it can be summed up in three groups of subjects with rights and obligations relationship.

Peng H, 2013. Eco-hydrological simulation and vegetation water use computation in the Loess Plateau [D]. Beijing: China Institute of Water Resources & Hydropower Research (IWHR). (in Chinese)

Peng J G, Zhou Y M, An W Met al., 2010. Assessment on functional value of ecosystem service in oasis and desert criss-cross zone in Qitai Region.Xinjiang Agricultural Sciences, 47(8): 1665-1670. (in Chinese)Objective and Method]This study adopted Xiegaodi eosystem services value system to assess ecosystem service values from 1986 to 2005 in Qitai oasis and desert criss-cross zone to analyse the change of space time of the landscape pattern in this area.[Result]The results showed that.The functional value of ecosystem service in oasis and desert criss-cross zone in Qitai region were significantly decreased year by year.The trend line slanting rate of service value system in Xiegaodi was-0.100 8.[Conclusion]The probabality transfer matrix was used to analyse the change of ecosystem service values,and the ecological service value came down because of reduce of forest and grassland area.Moreover the area of farm and city was increased,man-made activity interfered landscape pattern of this study which were the main factors causing the devolntion of ecological environment.


Portnov B A, Safriel U N, 2004. Combating desertification in the Negev: Dryland agriculture vs. dryland urbanization. Journal of Arid Environments, 56: 659-690.The Negev region occupies nearly two-third of Israel's land area (21,671 km 2 ) but hosts less than 9% of its 6.5 million strong population. Until recently, the process of desertification did not affect the Negev profoundly. This was mainly due to large-scale afforestation programs, restrictions imposed on grazing, and large water subsidies from the less arid part of the country to its more arid part. However, there are some indications that the process of desertification in the Negev has already started and may accelerate in the future. In light of this trend, the efficient long-term strategy for the Negev's development is essential. The present study compares two alternative strategies of the Negev's future development: agricultural expansion vs. urbanization path. Two basic criteria he minimization of adverse environmental impacts and economic feasibility re used for the evaluation. The urbanization path is found to be preferable. Since agriculture and livestock grazing are the major contributors to desertification, replacing them with urban development may lessen the risk of desertification in the future. In contrast, urban development, if properly planned and regulated, may reduce the spatial extent of the area affected by agricultural development, and thus minimize the anthropogenic impact on the desert environment. Economic reason is also important: While even in the future, agricultural production in the Negev may remain limited due to economic considerations, urban development may justify the often-large investment required for the provision of fresh water.


Ren H C, Sun J M, Zhu L Het al., 2007. Assessment of desert ecosystem service benefits in Western China.Forest Resources Management, (6): 67-69. (in Chinese)We try to do an integrated assessment of desert ecosystem conditions based on theory of ecosystem functions in western China.The result of this assessment is that total value of desert ecosystem service functions in western China is $53.72 billion every year.The conclusion is that total value of desert ecosystem service is much more than what people can imagine.The physical product that is used in economic accounting is only a little part of ecosystem service functions.

Research Project Group on Monitoring and Evaluation Technology of Desert Ecosystem Service Function, 2014. Study on Function Evaluation and Service Value of Desert Ecosystem. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

Richardson R B, 2005. The Economic Benefits of California Desert Wildlands: 10 Years since the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. The Wilderness D C: Island Press.

Rodríguez-de-Francisco J C, Budds J, 2015. Payments for environmental services and control over conservation of natural resources: The role of public and private sectors in the conservation of the Nima watershed, Colombia.Ecological Economics, 117: 295-302.61We studied a payment for environmental services project in the Nima watershed.61We show how the PES project is shaped by the interests of large scale water users.61Its conservation foci are selective and overshadow other environmental impacts.61The outcomes are better explained by power relations than project characteristics.61PES schemes are very diverse and do not always comprise commodification or markets.


Sagie H, Morris A, Rofè Yet al., 2013. Cross-cultural perceptions of ecosystem services: A social inquiry on both sides of the Israeli-Jordanian border of the Southern Arava Valley Desert.Journal of Arid Environments, 97: 38-48.This research explores local resident perspectives on ecosystem services (ES) in the hyper-arid Arava Valley/Wadi Araba, which spans across both Israel and Jordan. Identifying and characterizing ES, an increasingly popular precursor for crafting sustainable natural resource management and land use policy, is an inherently multi-disciplinary endeavor. Our goal is to apply social research tools, in particular in-depth interviews with local residents, to understand their perspectives concerning ES. Since the research is conducted on two sides of an international border, it also illuminates the potential role of culture, nationality and economics in formulating perceptions on ES in deserts.The results show that, although deserts are often considered to be lacking in ES, local residents feel that their environment is abundant in services, particularly cultural services. Furthermore, although they live in a nearly identical ecosystem, local residents from two sides of the border showed distinct differences, as well as some shared patterns, in how they use and value ES. The study highlights the importance of applying social methods for ES identification and characterization in tandem with other disciplinary approaches, in order to avoid common problems including disregard of the importance of social and cultural perspectives, leading to undervaluing of intangible cultural services. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Salvati L, Mavrakis A, Colantoni Aet al., 2015. Complex adaptive systems, soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification: A multivariate assessment of Italian agro-forest landscape.Science of the Total Environment, 521/522: 235-245.Degradation of soils and sensitivity of land to desertification are intensified in last decades in the Mediterranean region producing heterogeneous spatial patterns determined by the interplay of factors such as climate, land-use changes, and human pressure. The present study hypothesizes that rising levels of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification are reflected into increasingly complex (and non-linear) relationships between environmental and socioeconomic variables. To verify this hypothesis, the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) framework was used to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of eleven indicators derived from a standard assessment of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification in Italy. Indicators were made available on a detailed spatial scale (773 agricultural districts) for various years (1960, 1990, 2000 and 2010) and analyzed through a multi-dimensional exploratory data analysis. Our results indicate that the number of significant pair-wise correlations observed between indicators increased with the level of soil and land degradation, although with marked differences between northern and southern Italy. ‘Fast’ and ‘slow’ factors underlying soil and land degradation, and ‘rapidly-evolving’ or ‘locked’ agricultural districts were identified according to the rapidity of change estimated for each of the indicators studied. In southern Italy, ‘rapidly-evolving’ districts show a high level of soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification during the whole period of investigation. On the contrary, those districts in northern Italy are those experiencing a moderate soil degradation and land sensitivity to desertification with the highest increase in the level of sensitivity over time. The study framework contributes to the assessment of complex local systems' dynamics in affluent but divided countries. Results may inform thematic strategies for the mitigation of land and soil degradation in the framework of action plans to combat desertification.


Sodhi N S, Lee T M, Sekercioglu C Het al., 2010. Local people value environmental services provided by forested parks.Biodivers & Conservation, 19: 1175-1188.Garnering support from local people is critical for maintaining ecologically viable and functional protected areas. However, empirical data illustrating local people’s awareness of the importance of nature’s services is limited; hence possibly impeding effective ecosystem (environmental)-services based conservation efforts. Using data from five protected forests in four developing Southeast Asian countries, we provide evidence that local people living near parks value a wide range of environmental services, including cultural, provisioning, and regulating services, provided by the forests. Local people with longer residency valued environmental services more. Educated as well as poor people valued forest ecosystem services more. Conservation education has some influence on people’s environmental awareness. For conservation endeavors to be successful, large-scale transmigration programs should be avoided and local people must be provided with alternative sustenance opportunities and basic education in addition to environmental outreach to reduce their reliance on protected forests and to enhance conservation support.


State Forestry Administration (SFA), 2015. The fifth national desertification and desertification land monitoring. Chinese Forestry Information.

Sutton P C, Anderson S J, Costanza Ret al., 2016. The ecological economics of land degradation: Impacts on ecosystem service values.Ecological Economics, 129: 182-192.We use two datasets to characterize impacts on ecosystem services. The first is a spatially explicit measure of the impact of human consumption or ‘demand’ on ecosystem services as measured by the human appropriation of net primary productivity (HANPP) derived from population distributions and aggregate national statistics. The second is an actual measure of loss of productivity or a proxy measure of ‘supply’ of ecosystem services derived from biophysical models, agricultural census data, and other empirical measures. This proxy measure of land degradation is the ratio of actual NPP to potential NPP. The HANPP dataset suggests that current ‘demand’ for NPP exceeds ‘supply’ at a corresponding ecosystem service value of $10.5 trillion per year. The land degradation measure suggests that we have lost $6.3 trillion per year of ecosystem service value to impaired ecosystem function. Agriculture amounts to 2.8% of global GDP. With global GDP standing at $63 trillion in 2010, all of agriculture represents $1.7 Trillion of the world's GDP. Our estimate of lost ecosystem services represent a significantly larger fraction (~0210%) of global GDP. This is one reason the economics of land degradation is about a lot more than the market value of agricultural products alone.


Tian H W, Gao Z L, 2013. Research of causes and control patterns on land desertification in Loess Plateau.Research of Agricultural Modernization, 34(1): 19-24. (in Chinese)Though the land desertification is a gradual process,but its hazards and disasters have lasting and far reaching.Not only did it have an impact on contemporary people,but also on penalise children.According to estimating of experts,the direct economic loss reaches to $7.87 billion every year as a result of land desertification.Also,the survival,production and daily life of nearly 400 million people are all affected by land desertification,directly or indirectly.Land desertification not only worsening the ecological environment,declining land productivity,threatening the safe of river,but also intensify poverty of the sandy areas.Using the system theory and ecological economics as a guide,on the basis of introducing a basic overview of the Loess Plateau land desertification,the characteristics as well as the harm of land desertification,analyzing the causes of Loess Plateau desertification though the following aspects,sources of surface sand,climates,disasters of wind and sand,water resources,land uses,developments and constructions,and combined control experience of Loess Plateau desertification over the years,the paper proposes four desertification control modes,including ecological governance,plant,engineering and chemical governance,sand industry-leading,and relying on the linear engineering.

Tschakert P, 2007. Environmental services and poverty reduction: Options for smallholders in the Sahel.Agricultural Systems, 94(1): 75-86.Environmental service provision is increasingly discussed as a potential new venue for the simultaneous pursuit of development and natural resource conservation objectives, particularly among landowners in the low-income tropics. To date, most of the experience with such market-regulated mechanisms comes from water and forest projects in Latin America. Preliminary evidence suggests that participation of, and benefits to, small-scale land users are highly unequal and that the synergistic goals of poverty reduction and resource conservation through these emerging market mechanisms might be overly ambitious. This paper assesses the possibility of pro-poor environmental service provision through carbon sequestration among smallholders in the Sahel. It focuses on a case study in the small-scale, rain-fed agricultural systems of the Old Peanut Basin of Senegal. Based on a conceptual framework including economic, institutional, policy and livelihood factors, it assesses to the extent to which specific groups of farmers are able or willing to participate in and benefit from potential carbon offset programs. Finally, the paper stresses the need for adequate and equitable financial support and a careful rethinking of the institutional structures necessary to enhance rural livelihoods and natural resource management in drylands, with or without market-based environmental service programs.


Twomlow S, Mugabe F T, Mwale Met al., 2008. Building adaptive capacity to cope with increasing vulnerability due to climatic change in Africa: A new approach.Physics & Chemistry of the Earth Parts A/b/c, 33: 780-787.The world community faces many risks from climate change, with most scenarios indicating higher temperatures and more erratic rainfall in Africa. Predictions for southern Africa suggest a general decrease in total seasonal rainfall, accompanied by more frequent in-season dry spells that will significantly impact crop and livestock production, and hence economic growth in the region. The hardest hit will be the rural poor in the drier areas, where crop failure due to drought is already common and chronic food emergencies afflict the region in most years. Lessons can be learnt on how the rural poor currently cope with the vagaries of climate and these can be used to help them adapt their current production systems to the future threats of further climate change. But this assumes the institutions that work towards the economic empowerment of the rural poor have the requisite skills to understand their current coping strategies and how adaptation can be facilitated. A new initiative led by Midlands State University and the Zambian Meteorological Office proposes that improving the ability of institutions that train the uture Change Agents , who will subsequently support smallholder communities in adapting their agricultural practices to current climate variability, is the first step in building adaptive capacity to cope with future climate change. The capacity of African scientists, regional organizations and decision-makers in dealing with the issues of climate change and adaptation will be enhanced on a continuing basis, and the impacts of their agricultural development programs improved.


UNCCD, 2011. Desertification: A Visual Synthesis.

UNCCD, 2012. Zero Net Land Degradation: A Sustainable Development Goal to Rio+20.

Unkovich M, Nan Z, 2008. Problems and prospects of grassland agroecosystems in western China. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 124: 1-2.In order to understand the farm-scale balance between the apparently conflicting objectives of system production and biodiversity conservation in grassland-based beef suckler systems, we constructed the whole-farm simulation model SEBIEN. SEBIEN uses a bio-technical approach focussed on grassland utilization by the herd to predict the daily functioning of suckler systems based on permanent pasture. The farming system is divided into three main components which interact at multiple time scales: (i) management, divided into a strategic component (management plan) and a tactical component (management rules), (ii) herd, divided into a group of cows with calf and a group of heifers, and (iii) feed, comprising grasslands paddocks, conserved forage and purchased feed (hay and concentrate). Each component is the subject of a sub-model. The dynamic models predicting animal intake and performance and permanent pasture growth, structure and digestibility have been published previously. The management sub-model is described. The inputs to SEBIEN include farm structure (= description of herd and grassland resources), management plan (= animal production objectives and grassland utilization), thresholds for management rules and weather data which introduces variability between seasons and years. The outputs of SEBIEN include the daily operation of the forage system, the dynamics of intake and performance for the average animals of the herd, and the dynamics of grassland production and utilization on each paddock. To characterize the production biodiversity trade-offs at farm scale, we translated these outputs into an indicator of system production based on animal sales and forage self-sufficiency, and into an indicator of floristic diversity based on soil fertility and grassland utilization rates on each paddock. We simulated three case studies based on real farms with SEBIEN, compared their balance between production and floristic diversity and its response to biodiversity-friendly management rules such as late hay harvest and low grazing intensity. SEBIEN predicted that animal production was not systematically in conflict with floristic diversity at farm scale. The balance between grassland productivity and stocking rate was determinant for both floristic diversity and forage self-sufficiency. For all farms production remained unchanged when intermediate levels of biodiversity-friendly management rules were applied (40% of hay paddocks cut after flowering, or paddock change at grazing when sward height dropped under 8 cm). Though, the pattern and amplitude of the responses differed between farms. At farm scale, an increase in floristic diversity on a few paddocks sometimes led to a decrease on other paddocks, which confirms that farm-scale analysis are needed to evaluate the effects of field-scale environmental policies. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Wang T, 2004. Study on sandy desertification in China: 3. Key regions for studying and combating sandy desertification.Journal of Desert Research, 24(1): 1-9. (in Chinese)Sandy desertification is land degradation through wind erosion resulted from inharmony man-land correlation in arid, semiarid and semi-humid regions, and it is one kind of desertification in China. Compared with original desert and grave desert the formation and development of desertification has its different space-time, vary dominant causes and distinct reversibility. In order to provide scientific guiding for the decision-making of sandy desertification controlling strategy and the implementation of technical measures it is required to define the key regions of sandy desertification research and combating based on the researches of basic issues and principal contents. Then the national sandy desertification controlling engineering can achieve its optimal effect even without adequate investment but on principle of adjust measures to local conditions. After summarizing the field surveying information and remote sensing and GIS monitoring data for last 50 years the author points out that sandy desertification land in China mainly distribute in the farming-grazing interlocked area and the steppe area of semiarid zones, the oasis rim and the lower inland river reaches of arid zone. These areas belong to the land-degraded region due to interaction between human activity and fragile eco-environment, and the sandy desertification land of China in the past 50 years mainly extended in this region. As key regions of sandy desertification research in North China sandy desertified lands in these areas can be classified into 4 large regions and 29 sub-regions according to the time-space distributing characteristics, the naturally zonal principle and the developing intensity principle.


Wang Y H, 2015. Desert ecosystem service and its responses to the change of land cover: A case study of Shapotou reserve [D]. Lanzhou: Lanzhou University. (in Chinese)

Wijitkosum S, 2016. The impact of land use and spatial changes on desertification risk in degraded areas in Thailand.Sustainable Environment Research, 26: 84-92.Land use, which relates to land cover, is one of the influential factors associated with desertification risk. A study was conducted on the impact of land use and spatial changes on desertification risk in Huay Sai Royal Development Study Centre in southern Thailand. The study used spatial analysis and the MEDALUS model to investigate the extent of land degradation, land use changes and desertification risk in the study area from 1990 to 2010. The Study examined three groups of factors: soils, climate and human activity to classify the severity of desertification risk. The study findings indicate that most areas (74.4%) in the Huay Sai area were at high risk of desertification, and the risk remained high (77.2%) in 2010. However, the areas classified as at severe risk of desertification decreased at 4.2% per annum. The study finds that land use changes influenced desertification risk.


Wunder S, 2005. Payments for environmental services: Some nuts and bolts.CIFOR Occasional Paper, 42: 24.This publication discusses the conservation paradigm of Payments for Environmental Services (PES). CIFOR provides a definition of PES with five fundamental principles; PES is a (1) voluntary, (2) conditional transaction with at least (3) one seller, (4) one buyer, and (5) a well-defined environmental service. The brief describes current trends in location, scale, and type of PES projects; suggests conditions in which PES is an efficient, effective approach to conservation; and discusses potential positive and negative impacts on poverty.

Wunder S, Albán M, 2008. Decentralized payments for environmental services: The cases of Pimampiro and PROFAFOR in Ecuador.Ecological Economics, 65(4): 685-698.Few payment for environmental services (PES) schemes in developing countries operate outside of the central state's umbrella, and are at the same time old enough to allow for a meaningful evaluation. Ecuador has two such decentralised, consolidated experiences: the five-year old Pimampiro municipal watershed-protection scheme and the twelve-year old PROFAFOR carbon-sequestration programme. We describe and compare the two cases, using a common PES definition and methodology, drawing on both primary interview-based information and secondary data. We find that both schemes have been relatively effective in reaching their environmental objectives, in terms of having probably high additionality levels and low leakage effects. A strong focus on the targeted environmental service and a strong degree of conditionality seem to be two key factors explaining these achievements. Although neither scheme has targeted poverty alleviation or other side objectives, both are likely to have improved PES recipients' welfare, mostly through higher incomes. We highlight several observations with more generalised relevance and lessons for the design of PES schemes.


Wunder S, 2015. Revisiting the concept of payments for environmental services.Ecological Economics, 117: 234-243.This article revisits the payments for environmental services (PES) concept and reviews existing PES definitions. Based on Weberian philosophy of science, it is argued that an ideal PES type, strongly embedded in PES theory, is needed to understand their logic. Many broader, empiricist definitions fail to distinguish PES from the larger generic family of positive environmental incentives, thus eroding their meaning by excessive vagueness. Arguably, PES definitions should focus on describing a functional tool, rather than normatively integrating desirable PES outcomes. A modified narrow PES definition is proposed, outlining conditionality as the single defining feature, avoiding the buyer-seller terms, and linking PES to offsite externalities. Extensive explanatory guidelines address many valid conceptual concerns raised in the recent PES literature.


Wuriga, 2013. Analysis of desertification control system and construction of market system in Inner Mongolia [D]. Beijing: Minzu University of China. (in Chinese)

Wünscher T, Engel S, 2012. International payments for biodiversity services: Review and evaluation of conservation targeting approaches.Biological Conservation, 152: 222-230.The lack of incentive flows between local producers of global biodiversity-related ecosystem services and global service beneficiaries calls for a mechanism to avoid the under-provision of biodiversity services. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are increasingly being implemented on the local and national scale. The issue of how PES can be upscaled to an international level is currently being discussed. International PES (IPES) will most likely be confronted with a limited budget and attention will have to be given to the issue of how payments are most effectively allocated. The objectives of this paper are to (i) outline the principles of targeting in conservation, (ii) provide an overview of techniques applied in science and practice, (iii) identify some of the specific challenges of an IPES scheme and (iv) analyze the suitability of available global targeting mechanisms for utilization in IPES. The paper is based on a review of targeting literature and uses the framework of a multi-criteria analysis to help organize and quantify strengths and weaknesses of alternative global targeting approaches. Despite growing consensus on the importance of incorporating costs, none of the global targeting approaches under review have so far incorporated costs as a targeting criterion. Data availability is probably one of the main constraints of global targeting. A stepwise selection approach could partly overcome this problem. Existing global targeting approaches could be used for first step selection choices. We identified Biodiversity Hotspots, Crisis Ecoregions and Endemic Bird Areas to be the most suitable approaches for IPES.


Xiao S C, Xiao H L, Lu Qet al., 2013. Evaluation on China desert and sandy land ecosystem services based on its related water process and regulating functions.Journal of Desert Research, 33(5): 1568-1576. (in Chinese)Desert ecosystem is a wide distributed system in the global biosphere,and also an important subsystem in the land ecosystem.Evaluation on the desert ecosystem service has important practical significance on the acknowledgement to the desert ecosystem importance and management on the ecosystem.Based on the water process,water balance and water regulated function of the desert ecosystem,in this paper we calculated the water resources flow in the water supply for the daily use and other economic sections,salt production,water resources purification and storage and climate regulation,and combined with the different type of ecosystem service price flux,the desert and sandy land ecosystem service of water regulation was evaluated finally.The result showed that the total desert ecosystem service of water regulation was 5 510.05 108$per year,and within it the provisioning services value was about 370.42 108$per year,the regulating services value was about 5 139.63 108$per year,and the two service accounted to the total value 6.72% and 93.28%,respectively.

Xie G D, Lu C X, Leng Y Fet al., 2003. Ecological assets valuation of the Tibetan Plateau.Journal of Natural Resources, 18(2): 189-196. (in Chinese)Based on a series of1∶1000000maps of natural resources of China,6categories of ecological assets were divided,which included forest,grassland,farmland,wetland,water body and desert.By means of GIS,the1∶4000000Ecological Assets Map of Tibetan Plateau was compiled and the relative data were calculated.According to partial global ecosystem services value evaluation results obtained by Costanza et al.(1997)along with responses of ecological questionnaire s from specialists of China,this paper established the ecosystem services value unit area of Chinese terrestrial ecosystems.We used the ecological assets value table as a basis and also adjusted price value by biomass and then,the ecological assets value of the Tibetan Plateau was estimated.The results indicated that ecosystem services value of Tibetan Plateau is some 9363.9×10 8 yuan annually,accounting for17.68%of annual ecosystem services value of China and0.61%of the world.The value of soil formation and disposition provided by ecosys-tem s is the highest,which occupies19.3%of the total ecosystem services value and then,the value of waste treatment takes up16.8%,water conservation value,16.5%and biodiversity,16%.The forest and the grassland ecosystem s offered the main ecosystem services value,being31.3%and48.3%of the total value provided by different ecosystem types,respectively.

Xie G D, Zhen L, Lu C Xet al., 2008. Expert knowledge based valuation method of ecosystem services in China.Journal of Natural Resources, 23(5): 911-919. (in Chinese)Valuation of global ecosystem services by R Costanza(1997)has attracted attention of the Chinese ecological researchers over the years.And many Chinese scientists have been using the methods to valuate the ecosystem services for forest,grassland and farmland ecosystems.However,it has been turned out that there are several shortcomings in direct adaptation of the methods,for instance,some ecosystem services have been insufficiently valuated or even ignored via using Costanza's method.To fill this gap,we have,on the basis of Costanza's method,developed a new method or 'unit value' based method for assessment of ecosystem services.Expert interviews with structured questionnaire were contacted in 2002 and 2007 respectively,and altogether 700 Chinese ecologists were involved in the interviews for testing the method.It has been found that the values of ecosystem services from expert knowledge based unit value method and biomass based method are comparative.Therefore,expert knowledge based assessment of ecosystem services could be used as a method for assessing ecosystem services with known land use areas,and a good result could be generated within a short period of time.However,for scientifically sound and concrete results,the spatial disparity of ecosystem services should be taken into account.


Xie Z W, Wang K, Cao S X, 2013. The social, economic, and ecological benefit of deserticulture in Ningxia.Pratacultural Science, 30(3): 478-483. (in Chinese)Ningxia is one of the most serious desertification regions in China and remain relatively underdeveloped in terms of economy and social development.In the process of combating land desertification,a new mechanism was established in 1990's,so-called "governmental guiding,projects motivating,market orientation and enterprises and the whole society participating".The local government promotes the role of the typical model of radiation effects.A policy vigorously favors desert sunlight greenhouses,Chinese herbs planting,and sowing watermelon on pressure sand.Ecological improvement and favorable mechanism made the Ningxia province became the first province where sandified and desertified lands became smaller.The deserticulture in Ningxia showed that the effective combination of ecological restoration and economic development,as well as ecological compensation can achieve positive interaction with natural environment,social economy and escape the poverty trap.Deserticulture brought economic benefit and ecological benefit,promoted the local people's enthusiasm of environment resource protection.The deserticulture in Ningxia provides beneficial experience to other poverty-stricken areas and countries.

Xu M X, 2003. Soil quality evolvement mechanism in the process of ecosystem restoration and its management in the hilly Loess Plateau [D]. Yangling: Northwest Sci-tech University of Agriculture and Forestry. (in Chinese)

Xue Z J, Qin Z D, Meng X W, 2012. Economic loss of sandy desertification in north Shanxi province.Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment, 26(4): 24-29. (in Chinese)The northern Shanxi province is located in the farming-pastoral ecotone in North China,sandy desertification is a main problem of land degradation in north Shanxi province.Evaluation on the economic loss of sandy desertification is one of the most important subjects in sandy desertification research,and it is a main means to reflect the degree of sandy desertification and its damages.In this paper,by means of hazard economic assessment methods,the procedure,content,parameters,process of evaluation of economic loss of sandy desertification have been introduced,and the economic loss of sandy desertification in north Shanxi province has been evaluated.The results showed that the direct economic loss of sandy desertification in north Shanxi province is about 3.156 billion yuan,which accounts for about 51.28% of primary industry of north Shanxi province,and the indirect economic loss of its is above 14.202 billion yuan.

Yang C L, Bai Y P, 2009. Evaluation of the ecosystem service’s value function of an oasis in arid areas: Taking Minqin oasis as an example.Agricultural Research in the Arid Areas, 27(5): 230-234. (in Chinese)Evaluating the ecosystem service's value of an oasis could help study quantitatively the development and changes of the oasis' ecosystem.Based on the statistical data of Minqin Oasis in the lower reaches of Shiyang River from 1994 to 2007, this paper estimated the ecosystem service's value of the Minqin County.The result showed that the annual value of the ecosystem service in the lower reaches of Shiyang River was 102.04×108 Yuan in 1994,and 79.04×108 Yuan in 2007.During the 14 years,the value of the ecosystem service had been reduced by 23×108 Yuan in the area.The main reason for the dropping of the service value of the oasis' ecosystem is grassland reduction,so the important task of oasis ecological environment construction in arid areas is to protect oasis ecological environment,restore and enhance oasis ecosystem service function.

Yang L W, He B Y, Huang Pet al., 2006. Assessment of ecological service values for native Populus euphratica forest in Khotan watershed. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 26(3): 681-689. (in Chinese)

Yang L W, Wang D Y, 2009. Evaluation of ecological service value of wind-break and sand-fixation function of Shapotou sand-binding vegetation ecosystem.Journal of Shanxi Normal University (Natural Science Edition), 23(4): 94-98. (in Chinese)In this paper,the function mechanism of wind-bread and sand-fixation is divided into three parts,such as barrier straw checkboard and sand-binding plant for evaluating the material and menetary assessment of the sand-binding vegetation ecosystem in shapotou.As a result,the total quantity of moving sand held up by sand-binding vegetation ecosystem is 2.79×108 m3,and of this,the quantity of moving sand held up by sand-binding vegetation is 2.8×108 m3,followed by the quantity of moving sand held up by straw checkboard being 8.5×103 m3,and the quantity of moving sand held up by the barrier being 2.26×103 m3.Then using opportunity cost method,we concluded that the overall ecological service value(ESV) of wind-break and sand-fixation function of sand-binding vegetation ecosystem is 5.93×108 Yuan.The result provides a scientific basis for further evaluation of Shapotou sand-binding vegetation ecosystems evaluation.

Zhang B, Xie G D, Xiao Yet al., 2010. Classification of ecosystem services based on human needs.China Population, Resources and Environment, 20(6): 64-67. (in Chinese)

Zhang F, Teyibai T, Ding J Let al., 2009. Spatial-temporal changes of land use and ecosystem services value in the north of Tarim Basin: A case study on the Ugan-Kuqa River Delta Oasis.Journal of Desert Research, 29(5): 933-941. (in Chinese)Ecosystem services value(ESV) has been one of the hottest issues in the field of ecology.The researches of ESV have greatly advanced in its theory,assessment scale and evaluation methods but its results were applied little.This paper took the Ugan-Kuqa River Delta Oasis as a case to analyze the spatial-temporal changes of land use and to examine their effect on the spatial-temporal changes of ecosystem services value(ESV).The methods are based on the Constanza's ecosystem service value(ESV) theory and the ecosystem service value coefficients of different Chinese ecosystem types published by Xie Gao-di.The following results and conclusions have been obtained: ①From 1996 to 2004,the total value of ecosystem services of the Ugan-Kuqa River Delta Oasis increased,however,there were some changes in the structure of ecosystem services value and the function of ecosystem services.②The rate of primary material services value had the greatest increase from 1996 to 2004,whereas the rate of waste disposal services value had the greatest decrease.Thereinto,the rate of food production services value had the greater decrease during 2000-2004,because that the cultivated land with higher food produce value coefficient decreased.③The ecosystem service value structure changed differentially in counties on the delta oasis.The proportion of water conservation,waste disposal and fallow recreation services value all decreased in Kuqa,Shaya and Xinhe County,especially the water conservation services value decreased at most.④The sensitivity analysis suggested that these estimates are relatively reasonable.The sensitivity coefficients by Xie Gao-di are suitable for application in the study area.

Zhang F C, Yang X Y, 2007. Analysis of prospects of developing deserticulture in Chaidamu Basin, Qinghai Province.Ecological Economy, (3): 111-115. (in Chinese)It is necessary and important to develop deserticulture in Chaidamu basin,which can bring gigantic profit either in economical or ecological or tour aspect,based on the concept of deserticulture and the main characteristics of desert areas in Chaidamu basin,China.This paper also proposed some ways and measures for develop deserticulture in Chaidamu basin.

Zhang H, Zhang A P, Yang J, 2007. Effects of land use change on ecosystem service values of Horqin sandy land.China Population, Resources and Environment, 17(3): 60-65. (in Chinese)tudying the changes of land use on ecosystem service values can assess quantitatively the effects of land use activity on the regional eco-environment.Based on the land use data of 1995 and 2000,and referring to the table of Chinese land ecosystem service value of unit area which was established by Xie Gaodi,etc.,the effects of land use change in Horqin Sandy Land on ecosystem service value were estimated.The result indicates that from 1995 to 2000,the area of farmland increased 4.87%,the area of forestland decreased 2.25%,and of grassland decreased 0.03%,of water bodies decreased 1.32%,of wetland increased 0.54%,and the land of rural-urban,industrial mining and residents reduced 3.21%,unused land decreased 8.83%.The land use in the study area were different from region to region,as most county kept abusing land by destroying forestland and grassland.The total ecosystem service value in Horqin Sandy Land increased from 146.367 109 yuan to 146.736 109 yuan in period of 1995-2000.There was 0.25% net increment of 369 106 yuan,and the increment was not caused by the extent of farmland,but by the effective management on the sandy land in some counties.


Zhang J P, Li Y Q, Zhao X Y et al., 2017. Effects of exclosure on soil physicochemical properties and carbon sequestration potential recovery of desertified grassland.Journal of Desert Research, 37(3): 491-499. (in Chinese)

Zhang J Z, Zhao T Y, Jiang C Cet al., 2016. Opportunity cost of water allocation to afforestation rather than conservation of natural vegetation in China. Land Use Policy, 50: 67-73.Estimation of ecosystem service values is a hot area of research in ecological conservation and economics. However, the costs of these outputs are largely unknown. In this paper, we estimated the opportunity cost of water allocated to afforestation projects through mathematical modeling based on statistical data for all of China to provide support for restoration planning based on a fuller consideration of the true costs. To guide future ecological conservation and environmental policy development, we illustrate a neglected concept (ecosystem service costs) and use this concept to compare the ecological services provided by ecological restoration based on afforestation with those of restoration based on the conservation of natural vegetation using data obtained since 1949 in China. The results showed that afforestation and natural vegetation create annual costs related to use of the available water resources equal to 4800 and 3700 RMB02ha 611 , respectively, representing a water opportunity cost of 1100 RMB02ha 611 for afforestation. This illustrates the rule that “there is no free lunch” for any service, including ecosystem services. Therefore, to support the development of more effective and sustainable environmental restoration policy, it will be necessary to evaluate the associated opportunity costs.


Zhang Z Y, 2015. Desertification governance based on ecological economics: An example of Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia.Journal of Inner Mongolia University for Nationalities, 30(6): 497-502. (in Chinese)

Zhao Q N, Zhu T J, 2015. Hedonic price research on the impact of urban lake landscape on residential property value.Science Technology and Industry, 15(5): 15-18. (in Chinese)Estimates and tests degree of urban ecological landscape impact on surrounding property value by building hedonic price model.Swan Lake in Hefei is selected as a case,regional variable,structural variable and neighborhood variable are selected to set hedonic price model.The effect of different feature variables on property value is analyzed,especially the distance to Swan Lake.Result indicates that distance to lake effect property value,closer to lake enhance property value significantly.Based on these,government should consider the effect of environment and infrastructure construction in city plan and construction,and the value-added effect on private property brought by public expenditure in tax policy making.

Zhao S D, Zhang Y M, 2006. Ecosystems and human well-being: The achievements, contributions and prospects of the millennium ecosystem assessment.Advances in Earth Science, 21(9): 895-902. (in Chinese)Millennium ecosystem assessment(MA)was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and was completed in March 2005.So far,the MA is the first international work program designed to assess the global ecosystem by synthesizing information from all kinds of sources.The assessment focuses on the linkages between ecosystems and human well-being and,in particular,on "ecosystem services".Based on the latest findings,three main contributions presented by the MA were expounded in this paper.① Conducted a comprehensive global assessment of the world's major ecosystems and its four main findings,which can provide substantial scientific basis for decision-makers to improve their decision-making processes concerning ecosystem management;② Enriched the connotation of ecological research by pointing out explicitly that a change in ecosystems is closely related to human well-being,and placing the study of "ecosystem and human well-being" as one central task for current ecologists,which can lead the development of ecology in 21~(st) century;③Established a framework to assess the interactions between ecosystems and human well-being,and a analytical approach to conduct multi-scale and integrated assessments.Though great achievements have been gained with the MA implementation,but many issues still need to be discussed or improved,including concepts,methods and data.