Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles


China - continued

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 by

Prof. Hu Zizhi and Dr Zhang Degang


6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER RESOURCES

Grassland Use

Most grassland in China is in the arid, semiarid or alpine areas where the climate is harsh, communications are poor and the economy backward. The grassland within agricultural and agro-pastoral areas is also scattered in remote places. In this case, the grassland utilization is extensive, mainly free grazing. Utilization methods are based on the natural geographic conditions and grassland productivity. Natural grassland may be divided into three types according to their use (see Table 26).

Table 26 Grassland Types by Use

Grassland Type

Area (million ha)

Usable Grassland (%)

Grazing Pasture 264.2049 75.25
Warm Season Pasture 117.4606 33.45
Cold Season Pasture 64.1451 18.27
Year Round Pasture 82.5994 23.53
Grazing and Haymaking Dual Purpose Pasture 67.3293 19.18
Difficult Usable Grassland 19.5678 5.57
Total Usable Grassland 351.1020 100.00
Source: Animal Husbandry and Veterenary Medicine
Division of Ministry of Agriculture (1996)

Grazing and Haymaking Dual Purpose Grassland. Grassland for dual purpose grazing and haymaking is generally on plains with a sward height of 50 cm, more than 50 percent of cover, less than 25 of slope and high quality. The aftermath is grazed.

Grassland suited to haymaking is mainly in northern and south-eastern China with >400 mm. of precipitation; it is scarce in the west temperate, arid and semiarid desert and steppe where it is only available in scattered patches on high mountains. Hay land is also available in lowland meadow areas along the rivers and by lakes; it is dominated by Phragmites communis (it is used for hay during early growth, i.e. before the six leaf stage). In spite of high coverage of grass communities on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau hay land is still scarce since the grass is very short and is scattered in low altitude valleys. Dominant grasses in the valleys are Leymus chinensis, Phragmites communis, Deyeuxia angustifolia, Deyeuxia langsdorffii, Deyeuxia arundinacea, Stipa grandis, Stipa baicalensis, Stipa capilata, Stipa bungeana, Spodiopogon sibiricus, Bothriochloa ischaemum, Themeda triandra var. japonica, Miscanthus sinensis, Miscanthus sacchariflorus, Achnatherum splendens, Elymus sibiricus, Elymus nutans etc.

According to the pattern of use, hay land can be divided into permanent and temporary types. Permanent haymaking land is used on the same patches, at the same time of year. Temporary haymaking land is used for hay or grazing, based on the precipitation and thermal conditions of the year and the grass height. Grass is mown once in late summer or early autumn in northern China and twice in summer and autumn in southern China. Harvested grass is mainly for hay and used as a supplement in winter and spring; a little is sold. Some high quality hay, such as Leymus chinensis is exported to Japan and Korea. It is not usual to make silage in pastoral areas.

Grazing. Grazing is the most important and essential method of using natural grassland. The area of grazed pasture is 264,204,900 ha, which accounts for 75.25 percent of national grassland. Grazed pasture has the following aspects: < 30 mm sward height or as for haymaking, but with an uneven surface, > 25 degree of slope, low quality grass and unsuitable for hay. Based on topography, seasons of use and water availability, the seasonal belts of grazing land may be divided into spring-autumn pasture, summer pasture and winter pasture or cold season (spring, autumn and winter) pasture and warm season (summer) pasture.

Seasonal bands of grassland in the plains of the northeast and Inner Mongolia are not clear and most grassland could be grazed at any time of year. However, seasonal belts of grassland in north-western arid desert areas are clearly defined since high mountains alternate with valleys. Animals graze desert pasture in basins in winter and on the semi-desert and steppe pasture in outlying hills and low mountains in spring and autumn and on the forest pasture and alpine meadows in summer. Stock and herders move as far as tens of kilometres, even 500 kilometres, from winter to summer pasture. Although the grassland on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is in the alpine belt or above, it too is divided into warm pasture and cold season pasture. The former is in lower valleys and the latter in the remote higher mountains.

In the past decade, the government put the "Long-term contract grassland use system" into force with great effort. Under this system, grassland productivity is improved by sub-dividing pastures and allocating long-term grazing rights to individual families based on the number of family members, with fencing, establishing a homestead and barn, establishing artificial grassland and building infrastructure for water and electricity supply. This has been basically completed nationwide, but it is not totally applied on summer pastures because of their long distance from settlements, complex topography and difficulty of management. Most herders began to adopt extensive rotational grazing systems and use improved technology from the inception of the system. It also provides a good basis for managing grassland legally.

Grasslands which are difficult to use include areas which are:

  1. at high altitude, of harsh climate and in unpopulated areas
  2. where there is a shortage of drinking water for man and animals
  3. in the alpine belt where there is difficulty of access
  4. in swamp and bottomland difficult to access
  5. on small unpopulated islands
  6. > 35 degree of slope

The area of such land is 19,567,680 ha, or 5.57 percent of the total. Most water-scarce grassland is in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Qinghai, unpopulated areas in north-western Tibet and south-western Qinghai, difficult swamps in Heilongjiang and Sichuan.

Grassland Deterioration and Control Strategies

Grassland deterioration, a worldwide problem, is severe in China. According to data published in 1994 the national area of deteriorated grassland was 68,000,000 ha. up to the end of 1980s, which is 27.5 percent of the total. It has increased remarkably in the past decade. Now 90 percent of national grassland is reported to show signs of deterioration, in which, moderately degraded grassland is 130,000,000 ha. (32.5 percent of total) and it is accelerating by 20,000,000 ha. per year (Liu Zixue, 2001). The current grassland deterioration in major pastoral regions is shown in Table 27.

Table 27 Current Situation of Over-grazing and Grassland Deterioration in Major Pastoral Regions - percentages

Region

1990

1999

Over-grazing rate

Deteriorated Grassland

Over-grazing

Deteriorated Grassland

Tibet

-

14

30

15

Inner Mongolia

-

40

32

60

Xinjiang

-

-

60-70

65

Qinghai

-

17

31

39

Sichuan

-

24

13

28

Gansu

-

40

35

50

Heilongjiang

-

30

124

65

Evidence of grassland deterioration is drifting sand, salinization, patch-like distribution and hammada. Its major causes are severe over-stocking caused by long-term uncontrolled grazing, improper land reclamation and abandonment, climate change, collecting firewood and herbal medicine.

Grassland deterioration not only results in decline of productivity, but also in environment damage, water and soil erosion, sand and dust storms, and desertification. The government is paying great attention to this situation. As one of its most important targets, ecological environment rebuilding has been covered in the West Development Plan by central government in 2000. In agricultural and agro-pastoral areas, this target will be achieved through returning arable land on slopes of >25 degree to forest and grassland and reducing the number of grazing livestock. Severely degraded pasture will be closed for vegetation recovery in pastoral areas. Simultaneously stock numbers will be reduced with yard feeding so that the vegetation and environment can recover rapidly.

Grassland Improvement

The large area of degraded grassland has a severe negative influence on animal production and the environment and causes great concern to the government. According to the "Planning Program of National Ecological Environment Construction" and "Outline of Fifteenth Ten Years Plan", the following should be achieved by 2010:

- to increase artificial grassland and improved grassland by 50,000,000 ha;

- to improve 33,000,000 ha. of degraded grassland and 20,000,000 ha. of desertified land;

- to control of 600,000 ha. of water and soil eroded land;

- to return 6,700,000 ha. of arable land (on >25 degree slopes) to forest and grass.

These objectives show the resolve of the Chinese people and government to improve degraded grassland and the environment. There are temporary and permanent solutions for grassland improvement. The latter is to establish artificial grassland, which will be discussed below.

Closure Closure is to protect grassland from grazing or control grazing pressure strictly through fencing, so that it has a chance to recover. Herbage yield increases rapidly in the humid and subhumid areas but the effect declines over time; closure should not exceed three years. In western China, where the grassland is severely degraded, a large area has been closed to grazing since 2000 and many animals have been culled or are stall fed.

Reseeding Reseeding is over-sowing degraded grassland with improved forages to improve sward composition and productivity. Manual methods are used on small areas, but aerial seeding should be used on large ones. The cost/benefit ratio is 1: 2-4, the investment could be recouped within two years. The following details require attention during aerial seeding:

  1. the area should exceed 350 to 650 ha. of which the target area should be more than 80 percent;
  2. seed should be pre-treated by coating, de-awning, scarification and legumes should be inoculated;
  3. the land should be smoothed with a heavy harrow, plus burning and weeding;
  4. after aerial seeding, treading by livestock can improve the establishment rate.

Irrigation Water shortage is a major constraint for grass and animal production since most of China’s grassland is in arid and semiarid areas. Grass yield could be increased by 6 to 9 times through irrigation and the proportion of legumes in the sward could be increased as well, improving nutritive value. In Inner Mongolia, 5 percent of water for agriculture is used for grassland irrigation. Thirty two reservoirs have been built in pastoral areas of Qinghai, their storage capacity is 1,739,000 m3. 512 water channels, totalling 2,190 kilometres, were built to irrigate 40,000 ha. of grassland. The area of irrigated grassland is 140,000 ha. in Xinjiang and 240,000 ha. in Tibet. Surface flooding is the common irrigation method. The problem is that over half of the area can be missed because of poor land-levelling. Sprinkler irrigation is not used in practical situations.

Fertilizers Fertilization is important for grassland improvement. A large amount of nutrients is absorbed by grasses, especially highly productive grassland for hay and dual use. The deficit should be supplemented by fertilizing. Dung is widely used combined with chemical fertilizers for artificial grassland establishment. Trace fertilizers and rare earth fertilizers are also applied in some places. On natural grassland the commonest and most practical fertilization application method is night penning, i.e. concentrate animals in one place for two nights and then move them to another. This method can increase grass yield by half in the following year.

Surface Tillage Shallow tillage (with surface cultivator) has a positive effect on grass yield on pasture dominated by rhizomatous grasses such as Leymus chinense and Phragmites communis and those with dense sod (dominated by Kobresia spp.). Shallow tillage improves air and water permeability of the soil and enhances vegetative propagation by cutting rhizomes. The yields of grasslands dominated with Leymus chinense, Kobresia spp. and Agropyron cristatum could be increased by 50 to 200 percent. Seed yields of Leymus chinense and Agropyron cristatum can be increased by 180 percent to 1,500 percent.

Burning is an old, practical method for grassland improvement. It is no longer used in northern China because the grassland is so severely degraded. It is, however, still widely used in the shrub grassland and swamp grassland in southern China.

Forage grasses and artificial grassland

Artificial grassland is special agricultural land combining pastoralism with agronomy. Even as the artificial grassland constituted by Lolium perenne-Trifolium is symbolic of the western agro-pastoral civilization, the artificial grassland of Medicago sativa is typical of the eastern agro-pastoral one. China was one of earliest countries to grow Medicago sativa. In 126 BC, China began raising lucerne along the Yellow River, and it was rotated with wheat. Apart from improving crop yield and soil fertility, this system directly and indirectly contributed to forming livestock breeds such as Qingchuan cattle, Jinnan cattle, Zaosheng cattle, Nanyang cattle, Guanzhong donkey, Zaosheng donkey (the donkey is less important than before because of mechanized cultivation and transport).

Compared with natural pasture, the area of artificial grassland is small. In 1995 it was 13,800,000 ha, which is 3.4 percent of all grassland. It increased to 15,480,000 ha. in 1997, 3.8 percent and 20,000,000 ha. in 2000, 4.8 percent. Aerial seeding plays an important role for establishment; it began in 1979 and the area of aerial seeded artificial grassland was 2.497,000 ha; by the end of 1998 the established area was 1,472,000 million ha. Among provinces or regions, the artificial grassland areas in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Shaanxi and Sichuan are large: over 2,500,000 million ha. in Inner Mongolia and close to 1,000,000 ha. in Gansu. The priority is given to lucerne in all provinces except Sichuan. The lucerne area in Gansu is close to 400,000 ha, which is 34 percent of the national total.

Nowadays, cereals, cotton, oilseeds and fruits are in relative surplus in China, but forage is scarce in both urban and rural areas. Besides, environmental deterioration has drawn serious attention to reseeding grassland; returning arable land to grassland and forest is one of 10 projects for reconstruction in western China. It is expected that the development of artificial grassland will be speeded up in the near future.

Major Forage Grasses and Forage Crops

China has many forage grasses and forage crops. There are more than 100 species of cultivated forage in China; most are legumes and grasses. Among these, over 30 species are sown on more than 10,000 ha. (excluding mixed sowing, see Table 28)

Table 28 Major Forages and Sown Area (thousand ha, 1998)

Forage

Area

Life Period

Rank

Medicago sativa 1804.7 Perennial 1
Astragalus sinicus 1686.9 Perennial 2
Caragana koshinskii 1108.7 Shrub 3
Astragalus huangheensis 653.2 Perennial 4
Vicia villosa 123.9 Biennial 12
Vicia sativa 98.9 Annual 14
Onobrychis viciaefolia 65.2 Perennial 17
Trifolium repens 31.7 Perennial 19
Oxytropis coerulea 28.7 Perennial 20
Trifolium pratense 28.2 Perennial 21
Stylosanthes guianensis 26.9 Perennial 22
Melilotus alba, M. officinalis 20.7 Biennial 24
Zea mays (forage) 570.5 Annual 5
Leymus chinensis 403.7 Perennial 6
Hordeum vulgare 358.7 Annual 7
Elymus sibiricus 230.3 Perennial 8
Lolium multiflorum 183.2 Annual 9
Avena sativa 155.7 Annual 10
Elymus dahuricus, E. excelsus 138.6 Perennial 11
Avena nuda 118.7 Annual 13
Setaria italica (forage) 80.0 Annual 15
Sorghum sudanense 77.2 Annual 16
Bromus inermis 22.5 Perennial 23
Secale cereale 20.1 Biennial 25
Lolium perrene 17.6 Perennial 26
Agropyron cristatum 14.4 Perennial 28
Dactylis glomerata 13.7 Perennial 29
Artemisia sphaerocephala 55.3 Sub-shrub 19
Raphanus sativus 17.0 Biennial 27
Amaranthus paniculatus 10.5 Annual 30
Source: Cheng Baoshu (2001)

Forage Legumes Around 21 genera and around 60 species of legume are grown in China. The major genera and species are briefly introduced as follows(Cheng Baoshu, 2001; Hong Fuzeng, 1989):

Astragalus: Astragalus huangheensis (=Astragalus adsurgens), it is thermophilic, cold resistant, salt tolerant, wind and sand resistant, adapted to sandy land with 300 mm to 400 mm of rainfall and mainly used for aerial seeding for soil protection and forage. Astragalus sinicus, its provenance is in the subtropical area of China from 24o to 35o N and it has been cultivated for more than 600 years, is used as a green manure on paddy fields (inferior 1/3 and roots) and forage (top 1/3) for pigs. It is also a honey resource.

Caragana: Caragana korshinskii, Caragana intermedia and Caragana microphylla, sub-shrubs tolerant to cold, drought, wind and sand, can be sown in arid sandy land where the rainfall ranges from 150 mm to 250 mm.

Coronilla: Coronilla varia ( a dual-purpose legume for forage and soil conservation).

Desmodium: Desmodium. intortum, Desmodium uncinatum etc.

Hedysarum: Hedysarum laeve, Hedysarum scoparium, Hedysarum fruticosum (sub-shrubs suitable for temperate areas where the rainfall is 150 mm to 350 mm).

Kummerowia: Kummerowia striata, an annual legume with wide adaptation: drought tolerant, flood resistant, photophilic and shade tolerant, and can be sown in tropical, subtropical and temperate areas where the pH values range from 4.1 to 7.5.

Lathyrus: Lathyrus sativus, Lathyrus pratense etc. Annual legumes.

Lespedeza: Lespedeza bicolor, Lespedeza cuneata, Lespedeza dahurica (all indigenous and widely sown in the north), Lespedeza hedisaroides.

Leucaena: Leucaena leucocephala, a shrub or tree with various varieties suited to tropical and subtropical areas.

Lotus: Lotus corniculatus.

Lupinus: Lupinus luteus, Lupinus albus etc.

Macroptilium: Macroptilium atropurpureum, is a tropical perennial creeping legume with high proportion of leaf and high protein content and can be used as both fodder and for water and soil control.

Medicago: Medicago sativa (most important and widely sown), Medicago falcata and Medicago denticulata etc.

Melilotus: Melilotus alba (widely sown in 1950s and 1960s), Melilotus officinalis, Melilotus dentatus etc.

Onobrychis: Onobrychis viciifolia (mainly used in sandy area where the conditions are unsuitable for Medicago sativa through low temperature and rainfall), Onobrychis transcausia, Onobrychis arenaria etc.

Pocockia: Pocockia ruthenica (= Trigonella ruthenica, it is a rare legume in the alpine region, extremely cold resistant and with stool shoots).

Pueraria: Pueraria lobata (sown in north) and Pueraria thomsonii (sown in south, high starch content in roots), both good both for forage and water and soil conservation.

Stylosanthes: Stylosanthes guianensis (introduced).

Trifolium: Trifolium repens and Trifolium pratense (mainly sown in the humid hilly area in southern China), Trifolium incarnatum, Trifolium hybridium, Trifolium lupinaster, Trifolium fragiferum, Trifolium subterraneum, Trifolium alexandrinum etc.

Vicia: Vicia sativa, Vicia villosa, Vicia faba (used for fodder and green manure, sown in autumn in southern China), Vicia amoena.

Cultivated Grasses Around 24 genera and 60 species of grasses are cultivated in China. The major genera and species are briefly introduced as follows:

Agropyron: Agropyron cristatum (sown in the northern China), Agropyron mongolicum (adapted to steppe and desert zones) and Agropyron desertorum.

Alopecurus: Alopecurus pratense and Alopecurus arundinaceus; are not used much.

Arrhenatherum: Arrhenatherum elatius.

Bromus: Bromus inermis (has been sown in China for more than 100 years and its cultivated area is increasing in the humid regions of northern China and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau), Bromus catharticus.

Cynodon: Cynodon dactylon (widely used as forage and turf).

Dactylis: Dactylis glomerata (sown widely in China and the area is large).

Elymus is an important grass and of great value for establishing perennial artificial grassland. Cultivars in this genus are characterized with strong adaptation, strong cold tolerance and easy maintenance. Elymus sibiricus and Elymus nutans were domesticated in the 1950s and are major cultivated grasses in northern China (especially on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau). They can be sown in pure stand but perform better if the two are mixed. Elymus dahuricus and Elymus excelsus are also cultivated.

Elytrigia: Elytrigia repens, Elytrigia intermedia and Elytrigia trichophora.

Hemarthria: Hemarthria compressa (mainly grown in the subtropical south-western humid areas and Sichuan).

Hordeum: Hordeum brevisublatum and Hordeum bogdanii (used for both grazing and hay with features of hydrophile and salinity tolerance).

Leymus: Leymus chinensis (has a wide ecological range and is salinity resistant, with high nutritive value and was sown on a large scale in the 1950s as one of the key cultivars of permanent artificial grassland), Leymus secalinus (is resistant to cold, drought and salinity with strong colonising ability, but its cultivated history is short).

Lolium: Lolium perenne (a famous perennial grass, widely cultivated since 1970s; an important forage grass and also the most important turf grass in humid regions) and Lolium multiflorum (mainly sown in winter in rice raising areas of subtropical zone can be grown in the warm Temperate Zone of North China).

Paspalum: Paspalum dilatatum and Paspalum wettsteinii (all cultivated species in this genus are introduced and these two are important in tropical and subtropical areas).

Pennisetum: Pennisetum purpureum (introduced in the 1930s, is grown in subtropical areas on a large scale).

Phalaris: Phalaris arundinacea (is all over China, and is widely sown since it tolerates waterlogging, salt and pests), Phalaris tuberosa (introduced in the 1970s, is cultivated in southern subtropical areas) and Phalaris canariensis (not used much).

Phleum: Phleum pratense (is cultivated and widely sown, but the area is small).

Poa: Poa pratensis, Poa pratensis var. anceps (wild on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and adapts to cold with grazing and cutting tolerance), Poa trivialis, Poa erymophila and Poa compressa.

Puccinellia: Puccinellia tenuiflora (domesticated in 1930s) and Puccinellia chinampoensis (both are famous for salinization control).

Roegneria: Roegneria semicostata, Roegneria ciliaris (both are widely distributed), Roegneria kokonorica (domesticated in the 1960s and is important for artificial grassland with its strong cold tolerance in alpine regions of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau).

Setaria: Setaria anceps (introduced, sown in southern subtropical areas).

Sorghum: Sorghum sudanense (introduced in the 1930s and sown nationwide. It is a vital fish fodder).

Spartina: Spartina anglica (introduced from United Kingdom in 1963 and widely planted in coastal areas. It is of great value for the improvement of saline coastal areas).

Zoysia: Zoysia japonica, Zoysia sinica, Zoysia tenuifolia, Zoysia matrella, Zoysia macrostachya etc. (creeping grasses for grazing, slope consolidation and turf).

Other Cultivated Forages Amaranthus paniculatus, annual herb of Amaranthaceae, is a high quality fodder for pigs, poultry and cattle. It is of ancient cultivation in China where the area is the largest in the world.

Calligonum mongolicum, the super-xerocole shrub of Chenopodiaceae; a pioneer plant for sand fixation in desert and gravel desert with tolerance to drought and cold. It is usually used for aerial seeding.

Ceratoides latens, a shrub of Chenopodiaceae, important in Temperate Zone and alpine desert for artificial pasture with tolerance to drought and cold, and adaptation to sandy and rocky soils.

Kochia prostrata, a creeping sub-shrub of Chenopodiaceae, is good forage in desert and semi-desert areas with tolerance to drought, salt, poor soil and a high protein content, and it is suitable for establishing rainfed grassland.

Lactuca indica, a biennial herb of Compositeae, indigenous to China and sown country-wide as fodder for pigs and poultry.

Silphium perfoliatum, a perennial herb of Compositeae, introduced in the 1980s and is cultivated nationwide as fodder for cattle, pigs and rabbits.

Symphytum peregrinum, a perennial herb of Boraginaceae, introduced in the 1970s is widely cultivated between the Great Wall and Yangtze River as pig and cattle fodder.

Forage Cereals Avena sativa is the most important fodder crop in the north and alpine areas. It is generally sown pure; the sown area has increased rapidly in recent years because it is easy to grow and harvest. Its seeds do not ripen on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, but high quality freeze-dried hay could be got through adjusting sowing time to enable it to complete heading before the frost.

Hordeum vulgare is an important forage and its cultivated area is only slightly less than forage maize. It is sown country-wide both in the north (spring barley) and the south (winter barley). Naked barley is the Tibetan staple food.

Secale cereale introduced from Russia in 1940s and now widely cultivated in northern and alpine areas. In 1979 an American cultivar "winter grazing 70" was introduced and extended nation-wide.

Setaria italica, annual, is indigenous to China and has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years. It is widely sown in the north as a cereal. The nutritive value, palatability and digestibility of its straw are higher than those of wheat and rice. It could be made into high quality hay (not removing the grain) by dense planting.

Sorghum bicolor has been cultivated in China for 4,000 years, but its area is much less than Sorghum sudanense and is increasing in recent years.

Zea mays is the most important forage in China and sown country-wide in a long, narrow belt from northeast to southwest. It was used as human food before 1980, but now is almost all used as animal feed.

Grain Legumes as Forage Cicer arietinum is a dual-purpose crop, introduced from Russia in the 1950s. Now it is cultivated both in the north and the south. Its grain is a very nutritious concentrate.

Glycine max is indigenous to north-eastern China and the forage variety is a primitive form. Both green chop and grain are good forage with high protein content.

Pisum sativum (white flower) and Pisum arvense (purple flower) are annuals and have been cultivated for 2,000 years in China. It is sown country-wide because of cold tolerance and it is better to mix with oats than Vicia sativa.

Vicia faba is a dual-purpose crop and has been cultivated for 2,100 years in China where its cultivated area is the greatest in the world. A forage cultivar introduced in 1960 is cold resistant with high yield and high quality.

Root Tuber, Stem Tuber and Melon Forages Beta vulgaris, biennial herb of Chenopodiaceae, is widely grown in the north for sugar (main purpose) and fodder. Fodder cultivars normally cannot grow in alpine regions, but it could be grown and yield well by using plastic sheet mulching.

Brassica rapa, a biennial crucifer, is an old cultivated crop. It was mainly grown on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in early times and now is extended to the whole country as a succulent fodder. Its yield could be greatly increased by using plastic sheet mulching.

Cucurbita moschata, annual Cucurbitaceae, gives high yields and high quality succulent fodder. The contents of carotene, vitamin A, B and C in flesh and fruit are 100 times higher than grain cereals.

Daucus carota, biennial of the Umbelliferae, grown country-wide as a succulent fodder.

Helianthus tuberosus perennial herb of Compositeae; leaf, stem and tuber can be used.

Aquatic Forage Crops Alternanthera philoxeroides, amphibious perennial herb of Amaranthaceae, from Brazil and was introduced in 1920s. Cultivated both in the north and south as fodder for pig, poultry, cattle, sheep and fish. Its dry matter content is less than 5 percent.

Aneilema keisak, an annual herb of Commelinaceae, has been cultivated in subtropical southern China for a long time. Its dry matter content is around 5 percent. It grows fast and is used as fodder for pigs, cattle and rabbits.

Azolla imbricata, a floating fern of Azollaceae, widely distributed in tropical and subtropical zones; has been cultivated in China for 500 years. It forms a fern-algal symbiosis with blue green algae (Anabena azolla, Cyanophyta) and can fix atmospheric nitrogen. Its yield is as high as 300 to 500 tons/ha. with 16 to 18 percent of crude protein (DM base). It is high quality fodder for pig, poultry and fish, and a good green manure.

Eichornia crassipes, a floating herb of Pontederiaceae, is a high yielding aquatic forage indigenous to South America. It is cultivated in the warm Temperate Zone in China. Its dry matter content is around 5 percent. It is used as fodder for pigs, poultry, cattle, sheep and fish or as green manure.

Pistia stratiotes, floating herb, of Araceae, is a high yielding aquatic forage in tropical and subtropical zones. It has been extended to the watershed of the Yellow River. The dry matter content ranges from 5 to 6 percent. It is mainly fed to pigs, poultry and fish or is a green manure.

Zizania caduciflora, perennial temperate and subtropical grass, long cultivated in southern China. Its height is 1 to 2.5 m and it is high quality fodder for cattle, horses and fish with 14 percent of crude protein.

Classification of Artificial Grassland(Hu Zizhi, 1997)

Artificial grassland is playing an increasingly important role and its area has increased in recent years. To understand and guide the artificial grassland development scientifically, its classification has been given great attention.

Principles of Artificial Grassland Classification The following five principles should be followed for classification:

  1. The classification should depend on the labour factor. It differs from natural grassland, for artificial grassland is an agricultural resource created through human effort and can only exist while the cultivation is kept going. So cultivation differentiates natural from cultivated grassland. Then artificial grassland could be differentiated from semi-artificial grassland depending on the degree of cultivation , i.e. permanent cultivation or periodic cultivation. Semi-artificial grassland should be included in natural grassland because the vegetation components are not changed radically.
  2. Moisture and thermal conditions are basic factors for artificial grassland type determination. The thermal condition is the priority basis for determining the high-grade units. It is the same as with natural grassland, the bio-community of artificial grassland is formed and maintained under certain water conditions. People can considerably modify the water supply to grasslands under current production conditions. However, the thermal condition cannot be changed by human intervention. The thermal condition becomes, therefore, the crucial factor to define the type of artificial grassland. Besides, the type difference caused by the variance of water condition in the same thermal zone has been eliminated by irrigation and other cultivation practices to a great degree, so the number of types in a thermal zone is decreased remarkably and most of the types are mesophytic.
  3. The major feature of land is determined by soil, thus the soil is used to define the middle classification grade. Land preparation is an important step for artificial grassland establishment. The soil should be levelled for irrigation and machinery operation. The influence of topography on the distribution of water is greatly decreased. In this case, the effect of soil on restricting the characteristics and production of artificial grassland stands out. It is the reason to treat soil as the parameter of middle grade of artificial grassland classification.
  4. Forage species and species components are used as the basis to determine the lower classification grades. The grass component in vegetation is the most distinct feature of the structure and appearance of the community, and it also indicates its feeding value. Compared with natural grassland, the grass component of artificial pasture is simple and it is therefore easy to be used as the parameter to classify types. At the same time, the stability of the grass component is much lower than that of temperature and soil, that is why it can only be used as the classifying parameter of low grade.
  5. The classification system of artificial grassland should be linked with the natural grassland classification system. This is because any piece of artificial grassland is established and maintained under the ecological environment of natural grassland. In substance, artificial grassland is the result of highly intensive management of natural grassland. Furthermore, from the view of agricultural resources, natural grassland and artificial grassland are two parallel levels with the same use. Therefore, each classification system should be properly linked in an integrated system.

Classification System and Classification Standards Based on the above-mentioned principles, the classification system of artificial grassland may be constituted with three grades, i.e., class, subclass and type. The classification standards of each grade are described as follows:

Class: is divided according to thermal condition. The features of class can be used to guide artificial grassland regionalization. Thermal grade is determined with >0 C accumulative temperature (sum theta, see Table 29), totally 5 grades, i.e. tropical zone, subtropical zone, temperate zone, cold temperate zone and frigid (alpine) zone. The thermal values of each zone are shown in Table 29. Class is named with the name of the thermal grade, the 5 Classes are Tropical Zone Artificial Grassland, Subtropical Zone Artificial Grassland, Temperate Zone Artificial Grassland, Cold Temperate Zone Artificial Grassland and Frigid Zone (Alpine) Artificial Grassland.

Table 29 The Division of Thermal Grade

Thermal Zone

>0 C cumulative temperature (sum theta)

Thermal Grade

Frigid (Alpine) Zone

< 1300 C

Frigid
Cold Temperate Zone

1300 to 2300 C

Cold Temperate
Temperate Zone*

2300 to 3700 C

Cool Temperate

3700 to 5300 C

Warm Temperate
Subtropical Zone*

5300 to 6200 C

Warm

6200 to 8000 C

Subtropical
Tropical Zone

> 8000 C

Tropical
* Please refer to Table 11, the division of thermal zone is simplified because the rate of dependency of cultivated forage grasses on temperature is lower than wild ones.

Subclass: after class Subclasses are divided by soil type. The features of subclass can be used to guide soil improvement and fertilizer regime. Subclass is named by soil type and temperature zone is used as a prefix to express the features of subclass, for example, Tropical Zone Latosol Artificial Grassland, Temperate Zone Chernozem Artificial Grassland, Frigid Zone Alpine Meadow Soil Artificial Grassland etc.

Type: after subclass determination, the type is determined according to forage species or species component. The features of type can be used to select cultivation and utilization patterns. Type is named with the forage or forage group. For example, Sorghum sudanense forage, Lolium perenne + Trifolium pratense + T. repens mixture. For convenience of mapping, several types could be merged according to life form, economic group or life span.

Connection of Artificial Grassland Classification to the Comprehensive and Consequence Classification System of Natural Grassland The classification system has an inherent relation to the Comprehensive and Consequence Classification System of Natural Grassland; this is embodied in the following points:

- First, both systems have three basic grades, Class, Subclass and Type. The thermal, soil and forage species are used as the classification parameters for these three grades in the artificial grassland classification system. This is similar to the Comprehensive and Consequence Classification System of Natural Grassland. Therefore, this system can be called "the Comprehensive and Consequence Classification System of Artificial Grassland".

- Second, the temperature could be used as the "interface" to connect the systems because water and temperature are used for class division in both . So, the two systems could be merged and expressed in a unified index chart (see Figure 13).

- Third, soil and topography are used for subclass division in natural grassland and soil is used in artificial grassland. Topography is not as important in artificial grassland classification as in natural grasslands.

- Fourth, the type of both systems is determined by forage species, so it could be connected directly to compare the aspects of community and grass production.

Grass cultivars and seed production

The selection and breeding of forage grasses in China can be traced to early times, farmers selected many native forages. However, modern grass breeding began quite late. In the nineteen-fifties two cultivars of Medicago sativa were bred, i.e. Gongnong No. 1 and Gongnong No. 2; breeding has speeded up since 1980. The National Examining and Approval Committee for Forage Cultivars, affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture, was constituted in 1987. A set of laboratories and experimental stations was set up. There are more than 300 researchers working in forage breeding in 2000. 379 forage cultivars were submitted for registration and 219 were approved by the end of 2000 (44 during 1998 to 2000), including 90 of improved cultivars, 39 of native cultivars, 55 of introduced ones, 35 of cultivated wild varieties. Out of the registered cultivars 17 are Medicago sativa and these can increase yields by 10 to 30 percent.(National Examination and Approval Committee of Forage Grass Cultivars, 1992; Su Jiakai, 2001).

In 1986, the National Crop Germplasm Store in the China Agricultural Academy (based in Beijing) was set up It is in charge of long term conservation of crop genetic resources (including forage: seeds can be conserved for over 50 years). In 1989, a Forage Germplasm Store was set up in the Grassland Institute of the Agricultural Ministry. Its storage capacity is 40,000 and it is in charge of midterm conserving and supplying forage germplasm. Meanwhile, five Resource Gardens of perennial forages in Hohhehot, Beijing, Wuhan, Nanning and Kunmimg were set up for field conservation, propagating and supplying germplasm. In 1998, the nationwide Testing Centre of Forage Seeds was founded. All these units, based on the Forage Germplasm Store, combined with the National Crop Germplasm Store and Resource Gardens, make up a national network for conserving, supplying, and testing of forage germplasm.

Good Forage Grass Cultivars

The characteristics of some important cultivars in terms of breeding targets are introduced below (detailed information can be obtained from the National Examining and Approval Committee of Forage Grass Cultivars, contact address: Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100026)

Early Ripening Cultivars Erect milkvetch (Astragalus huangheensis = A. adsurgens) cannot produce seeds or the seed yield is very low north of the Yellow River because of insufficient accumulated temperature. New cultivars, "Huanghe No. 2", Longmu No. 2" and "Zaoshou" were bred by systematic selection or 60Co-y. Flowering date could be 20 days earlier and the seed yield can be increased by 80 to 120 percent.

Lactuca indica originated in the warm temperate and subtropical zones. New cultivars, "Gongnong", "Longmu" and "Mengzao" were bred by mixed selection, and these new cultivars are early maturing, cold resistant and high seed yielders.

Cold Resistant Cultivars Legume cultivars suitable for mixed sowing and pure stand are very scarce in northern China. New cultivars of Medicago sativa, "Caoyuan No. 1", "Caoyuan No. 2", "Gannong No. 1", "Longmu 893", "Tumu No. 1", "Xinmu No. 1" and "Xinmu No. 3" were bred using interspecific crossing or intergeneric crossing of M. sativa x M. falcata. Hybrid cold resistant cultivars of Onobrychis viciifolia are "Mengnong" and "Gannong No. 1".

Disease Resistant Cultivars Downy mildew is a major diseases of Medicago sativa. "Shingling No. 1" is a cultivar resistant to downy mildew, bred by identifying disease-inoculated strain, selecting, and crossing. Its disease-free rate is 95 to 100 percent.

Stylosanthes guianensis is severely infected by anthracnose. "Reyan No. 2" was bred through selection and "907" through 60Co-? for resolving the problem.

Salt Tolerant Cultivars A salt-resistant cultivar of Medicago sativa, "Zhongmu No. 1", was crossbred with four good cultivars as parents through open pollination and mix selection for four generations. It enables Medicago sativa to be grown in saline soil and yields can be higher by more than 10 percent compared to ordinary cultivars.

Drought and Heat Resistant Cultivars It is hot and dry in the Yangtze River catchment in summer and this is to the detriment of over-summering temperate forages. The new cultivar, "Emu No. 1", was bred from cultivar "Regal" of Trifolium repens as parent material through natural selection, artificial selection, individual selection and multiple crossbreeding. The summer survival rate was increased by 15 percent.

A new cultivar, "Nannong No 1." (Lolium perenne x Festuca arundinacea), was bred by intergeneric crossing with Lolium perenne cv "Manawa" as female parent and Festuca arundinacea as male . It is cold resistant, and tolerates waterlogging and drought.

Grazing Tolerant Cultivars of Lucerne with Stool Shoots Based on introduced stoloniferous lucernes, two new cultivars, "Gannong No. 3" and "Gannong No. 2" of Medicago sativa, were bred respectively in semiarid area and alpine area through spot sowing, individual fixed planting and cloning. The proportion of plants with stolons of the former is more than 30 percent, and the proportion of plants with horizontal roots of the latter ranges from 50 to 80 percent (Geng Huazhu, 1995).

Polyploid Cultivars Polyploid plants are characterized by eugonic growth, high yield and strong cold and drought resistance, but low seed yield. This feature could be used to increase the yield of vegetative organs. Up to now, heptaploid Triticosecale wittmack cv "Zhangxin 1881" and hexaploid cv "Zhangsi 237" have been bred octoploid. Tetraploid Lolium multiflorum cv "Ganxan No. 1" and "Shangnong" were bred as well.

Hybrids These cultivars include Zea mays cv "Jiqing No. 7" (Pa91 X 340), "Longmu No. 3" (GJ60 X GB47-1), "Longmu No. 5" (J38 X GB33), "Liaoqing No. 8" (Liaoyuan No. 1 X Gueiqong), "Huanong No. 1" (Tian 111 X Mexico Euchlaena mexicana inbred line A1), "Xinduo No. 2" (Huangyu 5-5-5 X 7G) and "Zhongyuandan No. 32" etc. These cultivars have significant heterosis.

Cultivars of Sorghum bicolor, "Liaosiza No. 1" (S. bicolor male sterile line T X 623A X sugar S. bicolor restorer line 1022) and "Liaosiza No. 2" (S. bicolor sterile line LS3A X sweet S. bicolor restorer line Roma), are waterlogging tolerant, drought tolerant and salinity tolerant. "Wancao No. 2" (Sorghum bicolor x S. sudanense) has low hydrocyanic acid content and is suitable for green use . Pennisetum purpureum (male sterile line Tifa 23A X restorer line Bil 3B-6) is taller and has more tillers. "Mingmu 42" is a fodder cultivar of Saccharum officinarum bred from CO419 (female parent) and PT43-52 (progeny of wild variety, male parent). It is has high yield, high quality and multiple resistance.

Cultivars Selected from Wild Plants Puccinellia chinampoensis can grow in salty soil (pH > 9.4, salt content of topsoil 2.0 to 2.5 percent), but native types only germinate where the temperature range is more than 10 C. This limits their widespread use. Using four excellent strains and an integrated variety a new cultivar, "Jinong" has been bred. Its germination and yield are improved significantly.

Hedysarum laeve and Hedysarum scoparium are excellent pioneer shrubs for wind breaks, sand fixation and fodder. The productivity of wild strains is low. New cultivars, "Zhongcao No. 1" of Hedysarum laeve and "Zhongcao No. 2" of Hedysarum scoparium, were bred through single plant selection, mix selection, strain test, regional testing and production testing. New cultivars retain the excellent features and strong vitality of wild plants and the biomass could be increased by 20 percent.

Seed Production

China has a very long history of grass seed production, but seed supply is still a bottleneck for grass and forage production because of the weak breeding work. Despite a set of bases for foundation seed having been set up in the nineteen-eighties, the output of commercial seed is very low. China can only produce seeds of Medicago sativa, Astragalus huangheensis, Melilotus alba, Vicia sativa, Vicia villosa, Leymus chinensis, Puccinellia tenuiflora, Puccinellia chinampoensis, Elymus sibiricus, Elymus nutans, Elymus dahuricus, and Sorghum sudanense to a certain degree. The seeds of Astragalus sinicus are produced and used by farmers themselves, but there are no commercial seeds in China due to the small production scale. The situation of Lolium multiflorum is similar to Astragalus sinicus, the vigour of harvested seeds by farmers is quite low since humid weather and the local government encourages farmers to use the seeds produced in drier areas. Imported seeds are also used in these areas.

Seeds of other grasses and forages that cannot be produced commercially include seed of Lolium perenne, Dactylis glomerata, Festuca arundinacea, Trifolium repens, Trifolium pratense and the cold season turf grasses Poa pratensis, Festuca elata, Festuca capillata (Festuca tenuifolia), and Agrostis stolonifera; for these there is almost total dependence on imports. Although large amounts of seed of Zoysia japonica, and Cynodon dactylon can be produced in China, seeds would have to be exported for further selection and cleaning and then reimported for end use because of lack of seed cleaning technology and related equipment.

Turf culture in China has developed rapidly at 20 percent annual growth since 1996.

Since the demand for grass products from East Asia and within China keeps increasing and the price is steady since 1995, the production of forage products has been promoted, especially based on Medicago sativa. In 2000, the central Chinese government started the "West Development Plan", including returning arable land to pasture and forest on a large scale; this is ongoing. This is strongly increasing the demand for grass, forage and turf seeds . According to statistics, the imported grass seed in 2000 was around 10,000 tons and both forage and turf account for 50 percent. Because of the long term increasing demand for grass seed, China is beginning to invest in their production and since 2001 has set up production bases to promote self-sufficiency. However because turf seed production has high technical requirements, dependence on imports will not be changed in the long term.

Zonation of grassland for sustainable ecological and economic development

The Zone of Grassland Agro-ecosystems is a multiple-component complex that consists of the environment, flora and fauna, social and economic systems in a geographical area and functions as an ordered and structured integration. Natural conditions vary significantly over the vast territory of China and various grassland types and grassland ecosystems have developed in different regions. In these regions grassland exploitation is characterized by different local social and economic factors.

Principle of Division of Economic Zones of Grassland Agro-ecosystems

The grassland industry, based on a well-functioning grassland agro-ecosystem, can use both native and introduced forages in a large range of varying ecological environments. Therefore, its adaptability to natural characteristics is wider and more flexible than traditional crop production and forestry. Considering the regional characteristics of grassland industry in relation to natural, social and economic conditions, the zonation for sustainable development is based on the following criteria:

  1. Similarity of ecological conditions, precipitation and temperature in particular;
  2. Similarity of grassland types and landscape;
  3. Similarity in grassland production and its structure;
  4. Consistency between grassland ecosystems and economic systems;
  5. Consistency between grassland policy and critical technology adopted; and
  6. Consistency of grassland zones and administrative divisions that provide practicability of regional programming for grassland development.

Grassland Zones

On the basis of the above criteria, China’s grasslands can be divided into seven ecological-economic zones as follows:

Zone 1: Inner Mongolia-Ningxia Arid Grasslands, which includes the Ningxia Huizu Autonomous Region, the bulk of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and that part of Hebei Province north of the Great Wall.

Zone 2: Northwest Desert Shrublands, which includes Tibet Autonomous Region, the Hexi Corridor of Gansu and Alashan Meng of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Zone 3: Qinghai-Tibet Alpine Shrublands, including Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai Province, the southern part of Gansu Province, the western part of Sichuan Province and the northwest of Yunnan Province.

Zone 4: Northeast Forests, including Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province, Liaoning Province and the northeast of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Zone 5: Loess Plateau and Huang-Hai Plain, which covers Shanxi Province, Shandong Province, Henan Province, Beijing and Tianjing Municipalities, the north of Shaanxi Province, the east of Gansu Province, that part of Hebei province to the south of the Great Wall and the parts of Anhui Province and Jiangsu Province to the north of the Huaihe River.

Zone 6: Southwest Karst Shrublands, including Guizhou Province, Chongqing Municipality, the east of Sichuan Province, the southeast of Yunnan Province, the bulk of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the west of Hunan Province and Hubei Province.

Zone 7: Southwest Evergreen-broadleaf Forests-shrublands, including Zhejiang Province, Jiangxi Province, Fujiang Province, Guangdong Province, Hainan Province, Taiwan Province, Hongkong and Macao, the Sichuan Basin, the south of Shaanxi Province Tianshui Prefecture of Gansu Province, the east part of the Guangxi Zuang Autonomous Rejoin, the parts of Anhui Province and Jiangsu Province to the south of the Huaihe River and the eastern parts of Hubei Province and Hunan Province.

Statistical data on local natural and social conditions and agricultural production in each Zone are given in Tables 30 - 33.

Table 30. Major climate data of each grassland zone

Zone

Annual 0=C accumulated temperature (C)

Annual precipitation (mm)

Humidity (K)

(mm/C)

1

2000 - 3000

250 - 400

0.5 - 1.4

2

4000 - 5700

< 250

0.1 - 0.9

3

2000 - 1600

500 - 700

0.1 - 4.4

4

1700 - 3500

500 - 1000

1.6 - 3.3

5

3000 - 4800

500 - 900

1.1 - 2.1

6

4000 - 7000

1000 - 2000

1.2 - 3.5

7

4500 - 7500

2000 - 2500

1.6 - 2.7

Note: K = r/(0.1 sum theta), r is annual precipitation (mm), theta is annual >0=C accumulated temperature (C)

Current Grassland Situation and Proposed Strategy for Each Zone

Inner Mongolia-Ningxia Arid Grassland Zone This is one of the most important pastoral areas in China. Grassland types change from meadow grasslands to typical grasslands, then to desert grasslands from northeast to southwest, with decreasing precipitation. The environment is fragile due to severe desertification caused by frequent gales, coarse soils, overgrazing and poor management. Deserts and desertified lands make up 11 percent and 18.4 percent respectively of the land of this zone.

The rich grassland resources have high primary productivity and stocking capacity. Typical grasslands in Hulun Beir Meng and Jirem Meng in the east of the zone are one of the best grassland areas in China, with annual hay yield and stocking capacity of 900-1500 kg per ha. and 0.7 -1.2 sheep unit per ha, respectively; desert grassland types are in the Ulanqab Meng, on the Ordos Plateau and in the areas to the east of the Helan Mountain Range, with Stipa spp., Salsola collina, Artemisia frigida etc. as dominant species. Annual hay yield and stocking capacity are 400-600 kg per ha. and 0.25-0.40 sheep unit per ha, respectively.

Winter grasslands are scarce, only 30 - 60 percent of the warm-season grasslands, so they are heavily grazed and their grazing usually lasts five months, longer than on warm-season grasslands. Significant annual variation in precipitation causes great differences in forage production, which can be as much as four times between a year of good rainfall and a dry one. Crop growing has been expanding to the north, taking over more and more grasslands, resulting in sharpened conflicts in the local society.

Nomadic, extensive management still prevails. With rapid growth in livestock numbers and slow development in establishing artificial pastures in past years, the grasslands have deteriorated seriously under heavy grazing. Shortage of pasture and frequent natural disasters cause heavy losses of livestock: loss, sale and domestic consumption by local herders makes up a third each of the total animal production each year.

In this zone, crop production should be restricted and development focused on livestock, grassland protection, establishment of artificial pastures and integration of crop production with feedlot operation. Feed processing and mechanization of forage production should have a high priority in development planning.

Northwest Desert-shrubland Zone This is the largest of the zones defined in this study; it is in arid and semi-arid desert areas, in most of which annual precipitation is less than 250 mm, with long hours of solar radiation between 2,600-3,400 h/annum. An extremely arid climate, frequent wind and sparse vegetation are features of the fragile environment (Geography Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, 1983). Sand storms often cause serious damage to grassland production. By estimation, desertification and salinization have affected 486,000 km2 and 1,730,700 km2, respectively, which account for 21.6 percent and 47.5 percent of the total affected land in China.

There are 676 continental rivers in the zone that are fed by melting snows and glaciers in the Tianshan Mountains, the Kunlun Mountains, the Altay Mountains and the Qilian Mountains. These rivers have played an important role in nourishing the development of local oases agriculture for thousands of years. Nowadays, however, only the Yili, the Ertix and Shule Rivers can maintain their supply to the increasing population in the zone, while the others are seriously short of water. Meanwhile, the area of arable land affected by secondary salinization has reached 14.7 percent and 31.1 percent, respectively, of the total arable lands in Xinjiang and the Hexi Corridor of Gansu (Ren Jizhou and Zhu, 1998).

The forage yield (dry matter) of the native grasslands is 300 kg/ha. in mountain areas, and 300-1,200 kg/ha. from sown pastures. It is an indicator of the great potential of grassland productivity of this zone. Livestock production is mainly in the mountains, where serious seasonal imbalance between forage supply and livestock requirement is a major constraint. Very often, in spring, livestock die in large numbers due to fodder shortage. On the other hand, the fodder resources of crop-producing areas in the zone are not used efficiently for there could be a combination of grazing and crop production.

As measures of improvement, artificial pastures should be widely and intensively established in mountain areas to protect against natural disasters. Rotational grazing regimes need to be adopted and measures taken to protect water sources. In desert areas the stocking rate should be strictly controlled, while in oases feed and fodder production needs to be expanded. Livestock can be transferred from mountain areas to oases for fattening which would greatly improve the overall production system.

Zone of Qinghai-Tibet Alpine Shrublands The population here is the smallest of all zones, while the area of natural grassland is the largest. Due to high altitude, average more than 3,000 m, solar radiation in the zone is 50 percent higher than in neighbouring zones. However, heat resources are less.

Table 31. Major socio-economic data of each grassland zone (1995)

Zone

Land area (104km2)

Population
(104)

Arable land
(104 ha)

Grassland
(104 ha)

Theoretical NPP of grassland (106 ton DM/year)

1

69.77

2,038.87

488.67

5,404.55

255.60

2

222.33

1,999.04

407.81

8,854.78

214.29

3

220.95

918.98

108.25

13,562.62

810.09

4

96.56

10,211.30

1,715.36

2,153.78

122.38

5

97.96

32,398.91

3,243.06

2,610.76

164.71

6

83.50

1,1194.23

749.46

3,134.07

371.42

7

168.48

5,5081.53

2,749.90

3,589.18

436.33

All

959.55

113,843.23

9,491.02

39,309.74

2,374.82

Note: NPP is net primary productivity, calculated by the formula of Li et al. (1998) and Zhou and Zhang (1996)

Water resources in the zone are unevenly distributed. Annual precipitation is 1,000-2,000 mm, even as high as 3,000- 4,000 mm in some places on the southern slopes of the Himalayas and in the southeast of the Hengduan Mountains. It is only about 50 mm in the Qaidam Basin and the northwest of the Qiangtang Plateau (Geography Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, 1983). Annual precipitation is between 500-700 mm in other areas. Many rivers rise on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is the area richest in hydraulic energy in China. The rivers are mainly in the southeast.

The primary productivity of native natural grasslands is low. Forages from the alpine meadow type are palatable and nutritious, while those from sparse wood and shrub grasslands are of poor quality. Due to the long cold season, windy weather, frequent snow disasters and droughts, the imbalance between fodder supply and livestock requirement is great and so the system has difficulty in resisting the impact of natural disasters. Long-term overgrazing has turned many places on grasslands into Black-Soil-Patches or Sandy Lands (Liu et al., 1999; Ma and Li, 1999; Ma et al., 1999).

The off-take of a marketable surplus of animal products in the zone is the lowest in China. Measures for improvement that should be taken include strictly controlling the stocking rate, breed improvement, adopting rotational grazing, establishing artificial pastures and accelerating the development of markets for animal products. Meanwhile, the problems of transport, low adoption of new technology and funding for development should be given a high priority in the agenda. Tourism could be integrated into the traditional grassland industry to take full advantage of the resources of beautiful scenery and native Tibetan culture. The zone is one of the least polluted regions in the world, and thus there is a potential to produce green foods for the increasing demand for such products on the world market. Sustainable development in local society, environment and economy could be realized through organizing a grassland agro-ecosystem that functions well at all its production levels.(Hu Zizhi, 2000)

Table 32. Agricultural production in each grassland zone (108 RMB, 1995)

Zone

Crops

Forestry

Livestock

Fisheries

1

149.60

8.65

95.2

2.82

2

289.57

7.35

89.87

2.34

3

42.30

2.89

46.58

0.16

4

977.70

33.87

485.38

86.05

5

2,720.49

129.17

1,357.90

3.27

6

710.24

82.22

340.75

18.74

7

4,200.10

346.39

2,253.84

861.56

China

9,169.22

611.07

4,671.99

1,298.19


Table 33. Marketable surplus of livestock in the 5 most important regions (percent)

Region

Cattle

Horse

Ass

Mule

Camel

Pig

Sheep

Inner Mongolia

21.3

8.7

8.7

3.2

15.4

62.1

33.4

Tibet

10.8

--

--

--

--

49.1

21.5

Gansu

16.6

4.0

7.1

1.9

13.1

85.2

32.0

Qinghai

11.5

1.3

2.5

1.1

16.2

71.9

23.0

Xinjiang

26.8

16.3

11.9

9.5

14.6

83.6

45.1

China

20.4

9.6

13.9

8.2

14.9

107.1

54.6

Northeast Forests Zone The zone is characterized by adequate rainfall but low temperatures. The major grassland types are meadow grassland, typical grassland, alpine meadow and marsh. The dominant species are Leymus chinensis, Stipa baicalensis, Dendranthema maximowiczii and Cinnamomum austro-sinense, with meadows of Leymus chinensis as the most important type. Annual forage yield is 1,000-1,500 kg/ha. (dry matter) and remains quite stable from year to year. The stocking capacity is 1.5-2.0 sheep/ha.

Dairy cattle and milk production in this zone takes first place in China and the grassland industry is integrated with local crop production to use local fodder and feed resources such as crop residues and maize, more efficiently. The strategy for development in the zone is to establish large-scale production bases through increased input and establish close co-operation between agricultural sectors for efficient utilization of resources. Ecologically healthy animal products should be the main output of the production bases.

Loess Plateau and Huang-Huai-Hai Plain Zone The zone is the area with the longest history of agriculture in China. There are many fine native breeds and rich feed resources. In addition to concentrates, silage and urea-treated maize stover have been widely adopted in recent years in beef feedlots which have become a profitable farm enterprise. To meet the demand for fodder, lucerne (Medicago sativa) cultivation is expanding rapidly. In Gansu and Shandong, farmers grow Medicago sativa (Gannong No. 2 and No. 3, and native or imported cultivars) for hay or selling to the processing company for pellet making. Farmers’ income can be increased by more than 15 percent compared with cereal growing.

The climate is of humid or semi-humid monsoon type, with high consistency between rainfall and biologically active accumulated temperature, and is favourable for agriculture. However, the variation in rainfall between years is large and thus drought is a major problem (Hou et al, 1991). Surface and underground water is insufficient to meet agricultural demand. Average runoff per capita is only about 500 m3, only a fifth of the national average (Ren and Bao, 1992). The Loess Plateau is seriously eroded, while the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain is dominated by soils of poor quality for agriculture, such as Shajiang black saline soil and heavy sandy soil.

The zone is one of the major areas of forage seed production in China. The forages include Medicago sativa, Melilotus spp., Onobrychis viciifolia, Sorghum sudanese, Astragalus adsurgens, and Zoysia spp. Erosion control and conversion of farmlands to woodlands and pastures should be the major measures on the Loess Plateau for sustainable development. Pasture establishment can be integrated into the planning of small catchment management. In the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain wastelands on sandy river flats and beach areas near the sea can be used to grow pastures for fodder production and soil improvement. Based on established pastures and crop by-products, beef and dairy cattle, sheep and goats can be raised to expand the livestock sector of the local agriculture.

Southwest Karst Shrubland Zone There are 48 ethnic minorities and half of the poverty-stricken people in China live in this zone (Research Group of Sustainable Agricultural Development in Karst Regions of China, Chinese Academy of Engineering, 1999). The karst landforms have widely distributed limestone cliffs and bare stone deserts caused by irrational cultivation, overgrazing and deforestation on mountain slopes. It is estimated that the area of stone deserts has quadrupled in the past 50 years in Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces. This trend of land degradation has been accompanied by serious water loss and soil erosion and, as a consequence, general deterioration of the ecological environment (Research Group of Sustainable Agricultural Development in Karst Regions of China, Chinese Academy of Engineering, 1999).

Natural grasslands are fragmentarily distributed in mountainous areas and are usually difficult to manage. Moreover there are many poisonous plants, with palatable species accounting for only 30 - 60 percent. Native forage legumes are scarce, but the leguminous shrubs that exist in great number have not yet been utilized. Both overgrazing and under-utilization of local fodder resources exist in the zone.

Water and heat resources are rich here, but radiation is inadequate to support plant growth for seed production (Hou et al., 1991). Cereals can be grown but their yield and quality are low. However, local climatic conditions are suitable for making improvement in natural grasslands and establishing artificial pastures by vegetative production (Ren et al., 1999). Sown pastures can have 3-4 cuts, even 6 cuts in some places, annually. Some forages, such as Lolium spp., Stylosanthes spp., Trifolium repens, Trifolium pratense and Dactylis glomerata grow well under local conditions. Annual hay yield is 3,400~4,500 kg/ha. from natural grasslands and 8,000~10,000 kg/ha. from sown pastures; on some it was more than 10,000 kg/ha., with 2,133 ha. of pastures carrying 12,000 sheep that produced 2.5~3.0 kg clean wool each in a year (Jiang et al., 1996 ab).

The development of vegetative agriculture and rational utilization of native leguminous shrubs could be a way to realize sustainable development (Ren et al., 1999; Liu et al., 1999). The Central Government can provide funds and policy support to speed up the development on the basis of careful planning for rational utilization of local grassland resources. It is the responsibility of the local governments to allocate land-use rights among farm households as a measure to encourage them to establish artificial pastures on mountain slopes and on other types of wasteland.

Southeast Evergreen Broadleaf Forest-shrubland Zone Of all the zones in this study this has the largest population, the most developed economy and the best climatic conditions (Hou et al., 1991) (Tables 31 and 32). Natural grasslands are secondary after tropical and sub-tropical forest is cleared (Yu et al., 1996). Their annual hay yield is 2,000~3,000 kg/ha., but quality is usually poor. Productivity could be increased by 5~8 times if improvement measures are applied (Yang et al., 1997).

Traditionally green manure is grown on local farms, so it is easy to establish a new rotation scheme between paddy rice and commercial fodder production in the zone to realize better economic, ecological and social benefits. According to a study by Yang Z.Y. et al. (1997 ab) in Guangdong Province, rotation of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and rice increased the content of organic matter, total N, available N, biomass of micro-organisms and enzyme activity in the soil. These, in turn, increased the yield of early rice and late rice by 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively; furthermore, the annual forage production was worth RMB 15,000. The current area used for forage can be expanded in existing farming systems with available techniques. The processing industry needs to be developed for producing high-quality animal products with high added value.

The economic zone of the grassland agro-ecosystem is a kind of integrating system between Grassland Industry, Crop Production and Forestry. It is a multi-component complex of ecosystems in a large geographical area, involving various economic and social activities. The theory of system joining can be used to guide in planning and implementing development programmes in these zones for achieving sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits (Ren and Wan, 1994).

System discordance occurs when exchanges between system components or sub-systems are hindered. It usually takes the following forms (Ren and Zhu, 1995):

  1. temporal discordance such as seasonal discordance between forage growth and livestock requirements;
  2. spatial discordance between fodder supply and demand taking place in different regions;
  3. interspecies discordance such as the discordance between forage species and the needs of different species of livestock.

Experience has proved that realization of system pairing between different zones or between sub-systems in the same zone is the key to solving the problems (Ren and Zhu, 1998). If pairing is successful, the productivity of the systems as a whole can be greatly increased and the results are more likely to be sustainable (Ren and Wan, 1994).

China’s population is 1,286,000,000 now and will be 1,385,000,000 by 2010. According to the government plan for the livestock sector, the annual output of meat, eggs and milk should be increased by 19.59 percent, 22.22 percent and 100 percent, respectively, by 2010 in comparison to 2000. Achieving these goals means that the productivity of the grassland industry must be 24.8 animal product units per hectare in 2010, therefore, it also means that measures must be taken to improve existing natural grasslands and establish artificial pastures on a large scale. In addition to pairing between different systems, pairing should be realized between different production levels, so that free flows of material inputs and information can be maintained between the levels.


7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL There are 23 organizations related to grassland and grass research in China, of which six national institutes are affiliated to the China Agricultural Academy and China Academy. f 36 agricultural universities, 16 can provide four-year bachelor education on grassland science. Gansu Agricultural University, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Xinjiang Agricultural University, China Agricultural University and China Agricultural Academy are authorized to provide a Ph.D. programme. The top-level technical extension organization in charge of grassland management and fodder production is the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Station of China’s Agriculture Ministry. Accordingly, each province has a Grassland Station or Forage Grass and Forage Crop Extension Station. Each county has an Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Station at county level or a Grassland Station where the grassland area is large.
  1. Grassland Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  2. Address: Wulanchabu Donglu, Hohhehot 010010, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

    Contact: Dr. Xu Zhu, Forage Germplasm

    Email: lixiaof@cav.net.cn

    Tel: 0086 471 4926909

    Fax: 0086 471 4961330

  3. Grassland Division, Beijing Animal Husbandry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  4. Address: Yuanmingyaunxi Road No. 2, Beijing 100094

    Contact: Dr. Li Xianglin, Head

    Email: hannhong@mail.caas.net.cn

    Tel.: 0086 10 62815750

    Fax: 0086 10 68979104

  5. Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute
  6. Address: P.O. Box 61, Lanzhou 730020, Gansu Province

    Contact: Prof. Zhang Zihe, Director, email: ggeri@public.lz.gs.cn

    Dr. Nan Zhibiao, Vicedirector, email: nanzb@public.lz.gs.cn

    Prof. Ren Jizhou, Academician, email: renjz@unet.net.cn

    Tel.: 0086 931 8663778

    Fax: 0086 931 8663778

  7. Sichuan Grassland Institute
  8. Address: Xipu, Chengdu 624000, Sichuan Province

    Contact: Prof. Ze Bai, Director

    Email: zebai@mail.cninfo.net

    Tel.: 0086 28 7842341

    Fax: 0086 28 7851305

  9. Grassland Resource Division, Geography and Natural Resource Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  10. Address: Building 917, Anwaidatun Village, Beijing 100101

    Contact: Prof. Su Daxue, Grassland Resource

    Prof. Huang Wenxiu, Grassland Livestock Ecology

    Email: duzc@2911.net

    Tel.: 0086 10 64889456

    Fax: 0086 10 64889456

  11. Qinghai Grassland Institute
  12. Address: Xining 810003, Qinghai Province

    Contact: Dr. Zhou Qingping, Director, Grassland Management

    Email: duzc@2911.net

    Tel.: 0086 971 5318386

    Fax: 0086 971 5318044

  13. Xinjiang Grassland Institute
  14. Address: Kelamayidong Road 21, Urumchi 830000, Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region

    Contact: Prof. Cui Hengxin

    Email: cuihx@mail.wl.xj.cn

    Tel.: 0086 991 4834864

    Fax: 0086 991 4846011

  15. Northwest Plateau Biology Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  16. Address: Xiguandajie 59, Xining 810001, Qinghai Province

    Contact: Dr. Zhao Xinquan

    Email: wang@ms.nwipb.ac.cn

    Tel.: 0086 971 6133353

    Fax: 0086 971 6133353

  17. Grassland Science College of Gansu Agricultural University
  18. Address: Yingmencun 1, Lanzhou 730070, Gansu Province

    Contact: Dr. Long Ruijun, Director, email: lrj@public.lz.gs.cn

    Dr. Zhang Degang, Vice Director, email: zdegang@sina.com

    Tel.: 0086 931 7631227

    Fax: 0086 991 7632044

  19. Grassland Science Department of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University
  20. Address: Zhaowuda Road, Huhhehot 010018, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

    Contact: Dr. Li Qingfen, Director, email: lqf@public.hh.nm.cn

    Dr. Han Guodong, email: nmhgd@263.net

    Prof. Yi Jin, Forage Physiology, email: yijin@public.hh.nm.cn

    Prof. Yun Jinfeng, Forage Breeding

    Tel.: 0086 471 4301371

    Fax: 0086 471 4954460

  21. Grassland Science Department of Xinjiang Agricultural University
  22. Address: Nanchang Road, Urumchi 830052, Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region

    Contact: Prof. Zhu Jingzhong, Director, e-mail

    Dr. An Shazhong, email: asz@xjau.edu.cn

    Dr. Meng Lin, email: menglinwang@yeah.net

    Tel.: 0086 991 4523001 ext. 2612

    Fax: 0086 991 4552178

  23. Grassland Science Department of Qinghai University
  24. Address: Ningzhang Road, Xining, Qinghai Province

    Contact: Dr. Zhu Zhihong, Director

    Tel.: 0086 471 4301371

    Fax: 0086 471 4954460

  25. Grassland Research Institute of China Agricultural University
  26. Address: Yuanmingyuanxilu 2, Beijing 100094

    Contact: Dr. Han Jianguo, Director, Forage Seeds

    Email: grasslab@public3.bta.net.cn

    Tel.: 0086 10 62891264

    Fax: 0086 10 62892799

  27. Grassland Science Department of Sichuan Agricultural University
  28. Address: Xinkang Road 36, Yaan City, Sichuan Province

    Contact: Dr. Zhang Xinquan, Director, Forage Breeding

    Email: zhangxq@siau.edu.cn

    Tel.: 0086 835 2242326

    Fax: 0086 835 2242851

  29. Grassland Science Department of Nanjing Agricultural University
  30. Address: Weigang, Nanjing 210095, Jiangsu Province

    Contact: Dr. Sheng Yixin, Director, Forage

    Email: astdean@mail.njau.edu.cn

    Tel.: 0086 25 4395314

    Fax: 0086 25 4395314

  31. Grassland Research Institute of Northeast Normal University
  32. Address: Renmindajie, Changchun 130024, Jilin Province

    Contact: Dr. Zhou Daowei, email: zhoudaowei@nenu.edu.cn

    Prof. Zhu Jingchen, email: gjixun@nenu.edu.cn

    Tel.: 0086 431 5662860

    Fax: 0086 431 5684009

  33. Tropical Pasture Research Center of Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences
  34. Address: Danzhou 571737, Hainan Province

    Contact: Prof. Yi Kexian, Vice Director

    Email: yikexian@21cn.com

    Tel.: 0086 890 3300645

    Fax: 0086 890 3300440

  35. Grassland Ecosystem Research Station of Botany Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  36. Address: Xiwaidajie 141, Beijing 100044

    Contact: Prof. Chen Zuozhong

    Tel.: 0086 10 62599055

  37. China Grassland Society
  38. Address: Yuanmingyuanxilu 2, Beijing 100094

    Contact: Prof. Hong Fuzeng, Chairman

    Email: zgcy@bj163.com

    Tel.: 0086 10 62891666

    Fax: 0086 10 62892799

  39. Grassland Research Institute of Ningxia Agricultural College
  40. Address: Wangtaipu, Yunning 750105, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

    Contact: Prof. Wangning, Grassland Management

    Email: nywangning@sina.com OR yzh.xie@263.net

    Tel.: 0086 951 8409373

    Fax: 0086 951 8400175

  41. Inner Mongolia Academy of Animal Science
  42. Address: West Suburbs, Huhhot 010030, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

    Contact: Prof. Lu Dexun, Sheep Nutrition

    Email: nmxly@jemail.nm.cninfo.net

    Tel.: 0086 471 3963783

    Fax: 0086 471 6965224

8. REFERENCES

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Division of Agriculture Ministry of China (1994). Grassland Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Integrated Survey Committee of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Data on the Grassland Resources of China. Beijing: China Agricultural Science and Technology Press, 1994. (Chinese).

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Division of Ministry of Agriculture (1996). National Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine Station, People's Republic of China, Rangeland Resources of China. Beijing: China Science and Technology Press, 1996. (Chinese).

Cai, Yunlong (2000). Principles of Natural Resources Learnt from China, Beijing Science Press (Chinese)

Chen Baoshu, (2001). Cultivation of Forage Grasses and Forage Crops. Beijing: China Agricultural Science and Technology Press, 2001. (Chinese).

Chen Shan, (1994). Grassland Forage Plants Resources of China. Shenyang: Liaoning Nationality Press, 1994. (Chinese).

China Agricultural Yearbook Editorial Committee (2000). China Agricultural Yearbook 2000. Beijing: China Agricultural Press, 2000. (Chinese).

China Resource Information Editorial Committee (2000). Resource Information of China. Beijing: China Environment Science Press, 2000. (Chinese).

Editorial Board of Cattle Breeds of China (1998). Cattle Breeds of China. Shanghai: Shanghai Science and Technology Press, 1988. (Chinese).

Editorial Board of Sheep Breeds of China (1989). Sheep Breeds of China. Shanghai: Shanghai Science and Technology Press, 1989. (Chinese).

Editorial Committee of Environmental Protection in China (2000). Environmental Protection in China. Beijing: China Environment Science Press, 2000. (Chinese and English).

Geng Huazhu (1995). Alfalfa of China. Beijing: China Agricultural Press, 1995.

Hong Fuzeng (1989). Regional Division of Cultivated Perennial Forage Grasses of China. China Agricultural Science and Technology Press, 1989. (Chinese).

Hou, G.L., Li, J.Y. and Zhang, Y.G. (1991). Climatic Resources of Chinese Agriculture. Beijing; Chinese People University Press, 57-168 (Chinese).

Hu, Zizhi, (1997). Panorama on Grassland Classification. Beijing: China Agricultural Press, 1997. (Chinese).

Hu, Zizhi (2000). Pratacultural Development and Environment of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Beijing: China Tibetanology Press, 2000. (Chinese).

Hu, Zizhi, (1979). Probe to Evaluating Grassland Productivity by Using Animal Products, Abstracts of Animal Husbundry, 1979, No. 3, 1-8 (Chinese).

Jiang, W.L., Mu, X.D., Cheng, Q.G. (1996).Optimum Model of Grassland Husbandry in Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau: 1. Optimisation of Grazing System with Shantong Fine Tail Sheep on Sown Pasture, Acta Prataculture Sinica, 1996, No. 1, 67~74 (Chinese).

Li, D.Q., Sun, C.Y., Zhang, X.S. (1998). Modelling the net primary productivity of the natural protential vegetation in China. Acta Botanica Sinica. 560-566.(Chinese).

Liu, G.D., Zeng, X.B., Cai Rong, (1999). Vegetative Agriculture and Sustainable Development of Prataculture in the South of China, Acta Prataculture Sinica, 1999, No. 2, 1~7 (Chinese).

Liu, Zixue (2001). The Great Role of Grassland Industry Endowed by History, China Green Times, Sept. 11, 2001.(Chinese).

Ma Yushou, Lang Baining, Wang Qiji (1999). Review and Prospect of the Study on "Black Soil Type" Deteriorated Grassland, Pratacutural Science, 1999, No. 2, 2~9. (Chinese).

Ma, Yushou, Li, Qinyun. (1999). Study on the Control of Weeds and Poisonous Plant on "Black Soil Type" Deteriorated Alpine Meadow, Pratacutural Science, 1999, No. 3, 46~50. (Chinese).

Miller, D. J. and Craig, S.R. (1996). Rangelands and Pastoral Development in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, Kathmandu, Nepal: International Centre for Integrated Moutain development, 1996 (English)

Ministry of Agriculture (1998). China Rural Household Statistics, 1998. (Chinese).

Nan, Zhibiao. (2000). Establishing Sustainable Management System for Diseases of Pasture Crops in China, Acta Prataculture Sinica, 2000, No. 2, 1~9. (Chinese).

National Biodiversity Situation Research Report Editorial Group (1998). Report on National Biodiversity Situation Research. Beijing: China Environment Science Press, 1998. (Chinese).

National Bureau of Statistics (2000a). People's Republic of China. China Statistics Yearbook 2000. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2000. (Chinese and English).

National Bureau of Statistics (2000). People's Republic of China. China Rural Household Statistics Yearbook 2000. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2000. (Chinese).

National Examination and Approval Committee of Forage Grass Cultivars. (1992). Registered Grass Cultivars of China. Beijing: Beijing Agricultural University Press, 1992. (Chinese).

Ren Jizhou (1985). Grassland Survey and Planning. Beijing: Agricultural Press, 1985. (Chinese).

Ren, Jizhou, Wan C.G. (1994). System Coupling and Desert-oasis Agro-ecosystem. Acta Prataculture Sinica. 3(3): 1-8.(Chinese).

Ren, Jizhou, Hu, Z.Z., Zhang, Z.H. (1999). A Preliminary Discussion on Grassland Ecological - Ecological Region in China, Acta Prataculture Sinica. 8: 12-22. Suppl. (Chinese).

Ren, Jizhou and Zhu, X.Y. (1995). The Basic Pattern and Its System Discordance of Grassland in Hexi Corridor of China. Acta Prataculture Sinica. 4(1): 69-79. (Chinese).

Ren, Jizhou and Zhu X.Y. (1998). Biological Improvement and Optimized Productive Model of Salinized Grassland in Hexi Corridor. Beijing: Science Press. 147-181. (Chinese).

Ren, M.E. and Bao, H.S. (1992). Natural Division and Its Renovation and Exploitation in China. Beijing: Science Press. 53-153. (Chinese).

Research Group of Sustainable Agricultural Development in Karst Regions of China, Chinese Academy of Engineering. (1999). Strategy and tactics for solution of sustainable agricultural development problem in karst regions of China. Acta Prataculturae Sinica. 8 (Suppl.): 32-42. (Chinese).

Su, Jiakai (2001). Review on Forage Grass Breeding, Journal of Grassland and Turf, No. 3, 2001, p1-6.

Sun, He (1994). Agricultural Natural Resources and Regional Development of China. Nanjing: Jiangsu Science and Technology Press, 1994. (Chinese).

Wu, Zhengyi (1980). Vegetation of China. Beijing: Science Press, 1980 (Chinese).

Yang, Z.Y., Xin, G.R., Yue, C.Y., Chen, S.Y., Liang, Z.Z., Lu, Z.H., Zhang, Y.Y. (1997a). A case study on benefits of Italian ryegrass-rice rotation system. Pratacultural Science. 14(6): 35-39.

Yang, Z.Y., Yue, C.Y., Xin, G.R., Jian, S.G., Yang, Z.R. (1997b). Effects of winter cropping Lolium multiflorum in rice field on growth of succeeding rice and a preliminary approach to its mechanism. Pratacultural Science. 14(4): 20-24(Chinese).

Zhang, R.C. (1989). Yak of China, Lanzhou: Gansu Scientific Press, 1989 (Chinese).

Zhou, G.S., Zhang, X.S. (1996). Study on Npp of natural vegetation in China under global climate change. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica. 11-19. (Chinese).

Websites

Details of high resolution maps of Grasslands in China

Details of Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China (book)

Horqin Grasslands Detecting Changes 1975 to 1990 Using Remote Sensing

China - Changes in the Length of Growing Period 1958-1988

China - Conversion of Grasslands to Cultivated Land 1988 - 1995 Atlas of Grassland Resources of China


9. CONTACTS

Prof. Hu Zizhi
Honorary Director
College of Grassland Science
Gansu Agricultural University
Lanzhou 730070, P. R. China
Tel: 86 931 7631213 (O)
Fax: 86 931 7632044
E-mail:huzizhi@sina.com
author2.JPG (3816 bytes)
Dr. Zhang Degang
Deputy Director
College of Grassland Science
Gansu Agricultural University
Lanzhou 730070, P. R. China
Tel: 86 931 7631213 (O)
Fax: 86 931 7632044
E-mail: zdegang@sina.com
author1.JPG (2995 bytes)

The pasture/forage resource profile for China was prepared in 2001 by Prof. Hu Zizhi and Dr. Zhang Degang in Lanzhou, P. R. China, who will undertake periodic updating.

[The profile was edited by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in April/May 2002 and some livestock data updated in October 2006 by S.G. Reynolds]

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