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Do roads lead to grassland degradation or restoration? A case study in Inner Mongolia, China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 August 2011

Xiangzheng Deng
Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 11A Datun Road, Chaoyang, Beijing, 100101, China. Email:
Jikun Huang
Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resource Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. Email:
Qiuqiong Huang
Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, USA. Email:
Scott Rozelle
Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University, USA. Email:
John Gibson
Department of Economics, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Email:


We use satellite remote sensing data of grassland cover in Inner Mongolia, China to test whether the existence of and the size of roads in 1995 is associated with the nature of the grassland in 2000 and/or if it affects the rate of change of the grassland between 1995 and 2000. The regression results show that the impact of roads on grassland cover depends on the nature of the resource. When the grassland is composed of relatively high quality grassland, roads lead to degradation, whereas when grassland resources are sparse, access to a road results in the restoration of the resource.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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