Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Aohan Dryland Farming System




Site location: Aohan County, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, P.R. China

Area of GIAHS: 8294 km2

Population working for this system: -

Topological Characteristics: dry lands

Climatic Classification: dry climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Mongolian (5.34%), Manchu (1.11%), Hui (0.29%), Han (93.21%)

Primary Income Sources: agriculture


Located in Northern China and known as the ‘interface between China’s ancient farming and grassland management’, the Aohan Banner system is based on dryland farming. Included among the ‘Global Top 500’ in ecological development by the United Nations in 2002, the Aohan Banner is an important crop production area that combines farming, forestry and animal husbandry to form its agricultural structure.

This dynamic structure accounts for the wide variety of crop types that can be found in the region, some types dating back to over 8000 years ago. Foxtail millet and broomcorn millet are two of the most common crops found in the district. Foxtail millet is not only important to dryland farming, but has features that contribute to economic development of the system as a whole. These crops play a significant role, as they are the main crops for disaster relief in the dry farming area of Northern China.