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Features and Socio-Economic Sustainability of Traditional Chestnut Forestry Landscape in China: A Case of Kuancheng County, Hebei Province

Lulu He (), Qingwen Min (), Chuanchun Hong () and Yongxun Zhang ()
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Lulu He: College of Humanities and Development, China Agricultural University, No.2 Yuanmingyuan West Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100094, China
Qingwen Min: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A, Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
Chuanchun Hong: School of Management, Northeastern University at Qinhuangdao, Qinhuangdao 066004, China
Yongxun Zhang: Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhongguancun South Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100081, China

Land, 2021, vol. 10, issue 9, 1-18

Abstract: Since Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (IAHS) were launched by the FAO to protect the sustainable traditional agricultural systems around the world, their conservation has become a new difficult issue under the context of urbanization. Farmers in IAHS sites giving up small-scale traditional farming due to their low economic benefit and high labor intensity are considered as the main cause hindering effective conservation of these heritages. This study takes the Kuancheng traditional chestnut cultivation system (KTCCS) in northern China as a case to assess its economic and socio-cultural sustainability. Based on questionnaires and interviews, this study found that: the traditional ecological farming methods were still used by local farming households to plant chestnut trees; and most farmers support IAHS conservation. KTCCS performs economic and socio-cultural sustainability. For a household, the labor productivity of chestnut cultivation was 1.33 times that of their non-farm jobs because of the low labor input of chestnut cultivation. Farmers widely consider they live in a harmonious social environment but are lower than other households in economic status. Most farmers still lack an understanding of indigenous traditional knowledge and cultures. In the future, secondary and tertiary industries should be developed to provide farmers with employment opportunities in their hometowns for protecting KTCCS.

Keywords: sustainability; labor productivity; nationally important agricultural heritage system (NIAHS); small farmer; agricultural landscape (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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