Decentralization and forest restoration
governance: A comparative study in
upland communities of Southwest China
Jun He & Jianchu Xu
• 1. Sloping Land Conversion Program is hugest forest restoration program
in implementation in China with involvement of millions of upland farmers.
• 2. Although the SLCP generally implemented in a top-down approach, the
environmental and social outcomes varied from place to place.
• 3. Local institutions play a significance role in shaping the policy’s
outcomes which resulted that SLCP can be succeed in one place but fail in
• 4. There is a need for institutional reform across the country’s socioecological system with the national policy-maker considering local
dynamics in in policy implementation and developing mechanisms for
accountability and local institutions.
• The Chinese government is currently implementing the world’s
largest forest restoration program, the Sloping Land Conversion
Program (SLCP), which uses public payments to convert marginal
cropland in upper watersheds into forests, engaging millions of
• Apart from providing financial incentives, the state has also
attempted to promote local autonomy and participation in the
program. This promotion is a milestone shift in forest policy to grant
more power to local communities and increase the involvement of
local governance in decision-making.
• However, whether the SLCP has been effectively implemented, the
extent of its ecological and socioeconomic outcomes and how its
performance can be improved are still unclear in the absence of
adequate biophysical and socioeconomic data.
Results: local Institution dynamics
---local institution for collective management
---local election and democracy, downward
---local communal tenure system
---broken down local institution as resettlement project
---Eroded local institution for scared forest
Results: influential actors in SLCP
Results: Land use and cover change on
the plots of SLCP
Results: Socioeconomic assessment of
sampled households after SLCP
• SLCP is implemented in a top-down approach,
while the central government promoting local
• The SLCP is more likely to be successful where
local institution is strong and downward
• The central government would consider local
variations in program implementation.
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