Resource Details

China's sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?

Literature: Journal Articles

Bennett, M. T. 2008. China's sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?. Ecological Economics, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 699-711.

Contact Info

Corresponding author:


Visiting Scholar, College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Rm 322, Old Earth Science Bldg., Peking University, Beijing 100871, PR China


Ecological Economics

Selecting the link above redirects this page to the article on the journal website where the online material can be purchased or accessed if with subscription. For more information on access, see sidebar.


  • The Sloping Land Conversion Program is a large scale reforestation program (~15 million ha) initiated in China in 1999, aimed to reduce erosion by converting cropland on steep slopes to forestland. The program was created partially in response to the droughts, followed by massive floods experienced in the Yangzte basin from 1997-1998.
  • The program is different from past China reforestation programs in that this one is intended as a payment for ecosystem services scheme that will pay landowners to undertake the reforestation. 75% of the planted forest area will be designated timber, and farmers will be allowed to harvest these forests.
  • Some studies find that the compensation payments are actually less than what the farmer had been receiving from farm income. Many farmers also complained of slow delivery in payment.
  • The study also examines the program in the context of additionality, leakage, and permanence.
  • The author makes four conclusions:
    • The program is very top-down, and landowners have little choice over project design and tree species selected. Local communities should be given greater say.
    • Greater emphasis should be placed on technical support.
    • The program should clarify the environmental services that are being targeted, ie, preventing erosion and providing stream water.
    • The program should be integrated with a portfolio of policies aimed at the rural sector.

Geographical Region

  • Other-China
  • Ecosystems

  • General
  • Country

  • China
  • This database is a work in progress, and we need your input to keep it up to date. Feel free to contact ELTI at to provide information on your own work as well as other projects and literature currently missing from the database.


    ELTI is a joint initiative of:
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute