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Incorporating measures of grassland productivity into efficiency estimates for livestock grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China

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  • Huang, Wei
  • Bruemmer, Bernhard
  • Huntsinger, Lynn

Abstract

Incorporating an ecological variable for the productive capacity of the grassland into the production function is a new step toward conducting technical efficiency analysis for livestock grazing. This variable is generated using remotely sensed net primary productivity (NPP) data and available grassland area, and entitled as grassland total NPP capacity. With the one-step approach of using a multi-output, multi-input stochastic input-oriented distance function based on field survey data combined with NPP data, we estimated the technical efficiency of livestock grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau using two measurements related to ecological performance, an environmental performance indicator and environmental efficiency. The average technical efficiency is estimated to be 0.837 when considering grassland total NPP capacity, implying that livestock grazing inputs can be decreased by 16.3% without any reduction in outputs. The average environmental performance indicator is estimated to be 0.013, representing the effects in association with NPP per unit grassland. Environmental efficiency is about 0.123, meaning there might be overuse of grassland total NPP capacity in livestock grazing, in terms of overuse of grassland size or overuse of NPP per unit grassland. Understanding relationship between technical efficiency and ecological performance would be helpful for balancing local economic development and environmental protection.

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  • Huang, Wei & Bruemmer, Bernhard & Huntsinger, Lynn, 2016. "Incorporating measures of grassland productivity into efficiency estimates for livestock grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 1-11.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:122:y:2016:i:c:p:1-11
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.11.025
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