Effect of snow disasters on livestock farming in some rangeland regions of China and mitigation strategies - a review

Shang,Z. H.
Gibb,M. J.
Long,R. J.
CSIRO Publishing
Publication Year: 
Severe snowfall events, termed snow disasters, lead to losses of livestock, preventing sustainable development of livestock systems, in the rangelands of northern China. In order to reduce losses under snow disasters, a review of the factors contributing to these losses was used to indicate the most appropriate strategy. It is proposed that governments and herders should implement a holistic strategy using a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure sustainable development in these rangelands. The possibility of seeing snow disasters as a natural restraint on livestock numbers and allowing losses to take place during these events is not considered as acceptable as part of a holistic strategy. The aim of the strategy is to improve animal nutrition, health and disease control rather than simply mounting rescue missions to save threatened livestock. It is suggested that central and local governments should encourage permanent solutions through a combination of education, the provision of materials for animal housing and the creation of reserve banks sufficient to ensure adequate feeding and survival of livestock through the winter, whether threatened by snow disasters or not. The economic return from the marketing of animal products should be enhanced through a combination of government and herder initiatives to promote a higher turnover rate of livestock and to encourage the sale of high-quality products. Regeneration of degraded grassland by herders should be encouraged by enhancing vegetation cover and forage plant height, thereby reducing the effect of snow cover on forage accessibility. Since current stocking rates on many rangelands are too high, their reduction should be an absolute priority in order to prevent irreversible degradation of rangelands. Only by improving herders' confidence in their economic survival, through the adoption of such changes, will they be persuaded to reduce grazing livestock numbers, thereby helping to ensure, not only the short-term survival of livestock through snow disasters, but the long-term survival of their rangeland pastures upon which their livelihood depends.
Name of Journal: 
The Rangeland Journal
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Australian Rangeland Society

Includes full-text resources emanating from a complete set of Australian Rangelands Society Proceedings, journal articles from The Rangelands Journal (published by CSIRO Publishing for the Australian Rangelands Society), videos and other resources abou the extensive rangelands of Australia.