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Achieving ecological restoration by working with local people: a Chinese scholar seeks win-win paths

Heran Zheng, College of Economic Management, Beijing Forestry University
Guosheng Wang, China Law Society


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Environmental degradation and poverty are linked, and this means that conservation and poverty reduction must be tackled together. However, finding a successful integrated strategy has been an elusive goal. We describe the career of a Chinese scholar, Shixiong Cao, whose persistent efforts to find and follow win-win paths have led to ecological restoration accompanied by long-term benefits for local residents. Cao’s story illustrates how development that combines environmental and economic perspectives can both help people to escape the poverty trap and restore degraded environments. His experience demonstrates that when environmental managers find solutions that can mitigate or eliminate poverty through the development of green enterprises, they can combine them with environmental restoration efforts to produce long-term sustainable solutions. In this paper, we share Cao’s 28 years of experience because we believe that his scientific and practical spirit, and his belief that it is necessary to work directly with the people affected by environmental projects, will inspire other scholars and practitioners to achieve similar successes.

Key words

environmental conservation; environmental policy; poverty trap; scientific philosophy; socioeconomic development

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087