Title: Degradation of rangeland ecosystems in the developing world: tragedy of breaking coupled human-natural systems

Authors: Shikui Dong; James P. Lassoie; Lu Wen; Lei Zhu; Xiaoyan Li; Jinpeng Li; Yuanyuan Li

Addresses: School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China; Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA; India-China Institute, New School, New York, USA ' Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA ' School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China ' School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China ' School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China ' School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China ' School of Environmental, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Abstract: Understanding the mechanisms that regulate rangeland health will contribute to our knowledge of complex coupled human-natural systems (CHANS). This will require the integration of multiple, complementary and independent methods of CHANS to open new opportunities for dialogue among natural and social scientists, particularly with regard to the interplay between ecological, social and economic systems in rangeland management. In this paper, four case studies from African Savanna, Central Asian Steppe, Tibetan alpine meadow and Nepali Himalayan rangelands are synthesised to demonstrate how important the concepts of CHANS are to clarifying the questions of driving forces for rangeland degradation and how the approaches of CHANS work for promoting the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems in the developing world.

Keywords: rangeland degradation; developing countries; coupled systems; sustainable society; sustainability; sustainable development; rangeland ecosystems; African Savanna; Central Asian Steppe; Tibetan alpine meadows; Nepali Himalayas.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSOC.2012.049406

International Journal of Sustainable Society, 2012 Vol.4 No.4, pp.357 - 371

Available online: 03 Oct 2012

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