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Livelihood Assets and Strategies among Rural Households: Comparative Analysis of Rice and Dryland Terrace Systems in China

Lun Yang (), Moucheng Liu (), Fei Lun (), Qingwen Min (), Canqiang Zhang () and Heyao Li ()
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Lun Yang: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China
Moucheng Liu: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China
Fei Lun: College of Land Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Qingwen Min: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China
Canqiang Zhang: Research Center for Rural Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing 100810, China
Heyao Li: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 11A Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-18

Abstract: The livelihood of peasant households is one of the selection criteria of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems and a critical factor that affects agricultural heritage system conservation and inheritance. Taking the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces System (HHRTS) and Shexian Dryland Terraces System (SDTS) as examples, we investigated 304 households through a participatory rural appraisal method to discuss the livelihood assets and strategies of households in agricultural heritage systems. From the viewpoint of livelihood strategies, household strategies can be divided into pure agricultural, nonagricultural, and part-time agricultural strategies. The livelihood strategies of households in the HHRTS feature a higher proportion of nonagricultural, while those in the SDTS have a diverse distribution. With respect to livelihood assets, we constructed a livelihood assets accounting framework to highlight the important role of traditional culture and information technology in agricultural activities. The average livelihood assets value in the HHRTS and SDTS was 2.249 and 1.832, respectively. Then, applying the multinomial logit model, we quantitatively analyzed the relationship between livelihood assets and strategies. The results show that in both terrace systems, the understanding of traditional agricultural knowledge is important to suppress the shift of pure agricultural households to nonagricultural or part-time agricultural households. Therefore, in order to achieve dynamic conservation of terrace systems, it is necessary to effectively increase the cultural assets level of households, especially farmers’ understanding of traditional agricultural knowledge.

Keywords: agricultural heritage systems; terrace systems; sustainable development; livelihood strategies; livelihood assets (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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