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Balancing Rural Household Livelihood and Regional Ecological Footprint in Water Source Areas of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project

Author

Listed:
  • Chen Wang

    () (School of Public Administration, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China)

  • Guoqing Shi

    () (School of Public Administration, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China)

  • Yongping Wei

    () (School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4067, Australia)

  • Andrew William Western

    () (School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia)

  • Hang Zheng

    () (School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4067, Australia)

  • Yan Zhao

    () (School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4067, Australia)

Abstract

There is a knowledge gap and practical demand to understand the co-evolutionary relationship between rural household livelihood and regional ecological footprints for developing sustainable livelihoods in ecological conservation regions. This paper tracks the change trajectories of rural household livelihoods and regional ecological footprints in four water source areas of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project where various ecological and environmental protection projects and measures are being proposed to protect water quality. As a result, some concerns regarding rural livelihood have arisen. The sustainable livelihood approach developed by DFID (Department for International Development in UK) was used to measure the natural, physical, financial, human, and social capitals of rural livelihoods, while the ecological footprint accounting approach was used to calculate the amount of bio-productive spaces that produce the yearly resource flows for human consumption. The study period is 2000–2014 and data was obtained from the Statistical Yearbooks. The results show that the change trend of natural capitals of rural households, which have increased by 72.5% (SY), 98.8% (NY), 69.3% (TA), and 120.3% (JN) within 15 years, determine the overall change track of rural livelihoods and that rural household livelihood grows with the expansion of regional ecological footprints. Sensitivity of regional eco-footprints to rural livelihood varies from 5.8 to 0.5 in case areas. It is recommended that in the “post South-to-North Water Diversion era”, four policy instruments—population transfer and relocation, industrial restructuring and updating, rural infrastructure and community reconstruction, and cross-ecological compensation—should be adopted to improve sustainable livelihoods in these four water source areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen Wang & Guoqing Shi & Yongping Wei & Andrew William Western & Hang Zheng & Yan Zhao, 2017. "Balancing Rural Household Livelihood and Regional Ecological Footprint in Water Source Areas of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-20, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1393-:d:107324
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chuxiong Deng & Zhen Liu & Rongrong Li & Ke Li, 2018. "Sustainability Evaluation Based on a Three-Dimensional Ecological Footprint Model: A Case Study in Hunan, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-22, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    livelihood; capitals; rural household; ecological footprint; water source area;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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