Land use in the Greater Mekong Subregion - A Challenge for Society, Economy and Biodiversity

Elaboration, 2010

66 Pages


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„Techniques should be developed or improved that integrate different types of information […] into a package that is easy to understand, visually attractive, and that allows modelling of different development options.” ( Cao et al. 2003)[1] )

Landuse in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is undergoing serious alteration. The region has increasingly become part of the global economy due to the impacts of globalization and remarkable improvements in infrastructure. This results in far-reaching and often unpredictable impacts on man and his environment. Specifically, the socio-economic situation of rural people as well as the exceptional biological diversity is affected. Within the GMS, Xishuangbanna is famous for its cultural and environmental diversity and therefore well suited for a case study on land-use changes and its consequences.

The goal of development should be the sustainable improvement of living conditions taking into account the preservation of environmental services and capacities. In the GMS biodiversity is not only worth to be protected because of its ecological uniqueness but also because of its potential economic value.

The sustainability of development and land-use change processes requires the understanding of the underlying driving forces as well as the consequences of specific decisions. It has been, therefore, the objective of this research co-operation to analyse social, economic, and ecological framework conditions in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve and the possible consequences of land-use changes. Based on this analysis we developed a GIS-based scenario tool for modelling development trajectories on regional scale. Such a modelling tool supports the assessment of land-use change with regard to their social, economic, hydrological and ecological implications. The overall framework can be used in decision making processes affecting land-use patterns.

Symposium Programme

Sunday, 10.10.10

Arrival of participants at Jinghong Airport, Xishuangbanna

- Pick-up service from airport and transfer to Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
- Hotel check-in and registration
- Welcome Dinner

Monday, 11.10.10

09:00 - 10:30 Opening Ceremony

09:00 – 09:45 Symposium opening by LI, QingJun, XTBG & presentation by SAUERBORN, Joachim, University of Hohenheim: “Balancing the priorities of society“

09:45 – 10:15 Dr. LI, Gang, Ass. Vice Governor of Xishuangbanna

10:15 – 10:30 Photo session

10:30 – 10:45 Tea break

10:45 – 15:30 Keynotes (30 min. + 10 min.)

- FOX, Jeff, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii:
“Land use in the GMS-perspective: opportunities and challenges”

- XU, Jianchu, Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kunming, ICRAF China:
“Globalization and sustainable land use”

12:15 – 13:30 Lunch break

Keynotes - continued

- ZUO, Ting, Department of Rural Development and Management, COHD/CIAD:
“How to safeguard livelihoods in a globalizing economy?!”

- WAKEFORD, Richard, OECD Rural Working Party:
“Rural development from the OECD perspective”

- CORLETT, Richard, Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore:
“Development with or against nature? The perspective of an ecologist”

15:30 – 15:40 Tea break

15:40 – 16:40 Panel discussion: Global Change in the GMS –Challenges for Research and Management

18:30 Dinner

Tuesday, 12.10.10

08:40 – 12:20 Session on Biodiversity and Land Use (15+5 Minutes)

- MO, Xia-Xue: “Limited impact on plant diversity and composition of traditional forest management in a tropical seasonal rainforest in SW China”

Session on Biodiversity and Land Use - continued

- LIU, Jingxin: “Land-use and plant diversity – a case study from the NRWNNR”
- ZHU, Hua: “Vegetation and flora of Xishuangbanna, Southern Yunnan”
- MENG, LIngzeng: ” Ground beetle (Carabidae) communities and species distribution in a dynamic landscape mosaic of tropical Yunnan, SW China”
- MARTIN, Konrad: “Responses of insect pollinators (hoverflies and wild bees) to land use change in tropical Yunnan, SW China”

10:20 - 10:40 Tea Break

- WARREN, Matthew: (“Soil carbon and nitrogen in the Nabanhe Mosaic”)
- GHORBANI, Abdolbaset: “Non-timber forest products in the NRWNNR – the case of medicinal and food plants”
- LI, Yong-Mei: “Soil quality evaluation of different land use types in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve”
- WOLFF, Maria: “Carbon sequestration potentials and nutrient status under different land uses in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China”
- ZHANG, Qingfan: “ Water Management in Nabanhe National Reserve”

12:40 - 13:40: Lunch break

13:40 – 17:50 Session on Socio-Economy

- LENG, Jing: “The effect of farming area on the livestock number in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve”
- RIEDEL, Simon: “Perspectives of small scale Pig Production in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve, Southern Yunnan, P. R. China”
- PFINGST, Wolfgang: “Post-harvest technologies for value added neglected plants of the Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve”
- LIANG, Chuan: “Social, cultural and institutional framework of agricultural landscape protection”
- LIU, Yan: “A village social accounting matrix for mountainous Southwest China: a case study in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan”

15:50 - 16:10 Tea Break

- TANG, Lixia:Opinion leaders: linkage between external extension system and farmers in knowledge flow”
- GRÖTZ, Patrick: “The adoption likelihood of land-use innovations in the Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve (NRWNNR), Southwest China”
- WEHNER, Stefanie: “Landscape and society: the dialectics of the rubber-line”
Session on Socio-Economy - continued
- JIN, Leshan: “Environmental awareness and ‘Willingness to Pay’ in the Nabanhe Nature Reserve”
- BÖRGER, Tobias: “Economic valuation of a land-use change scenario of rubber cultivation in Xishuangbanna”

20:00 Dinner Party

Wednesday, 13.10.10

09:00 - 12:30 Session on Land-use Change Modelling

- HERRMANN, Sylvia: “Integrated modelling approach for impact assessment”
- GIBREEL, Tarig M.: “Land-use change analysis by programming of farmer behaviour: a village-household approach to assess the impact of rubber production in southern China”
- BERKHOFF, Karin: “Modelling land use change in the NRWNNR with the CLUE-S model”

10:30 – 10:45 Tea Break

- ZHANG, Lulu: “Assessment of Scenario-driven Landscape Water Budget - Embedded in a Model Framework for Decision Support in Land-use Planning in Mountainous Southwest China”

Session on Land-use Change Modelling - continued

- COTTER, Marc: “A biodiversity evaluation tool for the tropics – modelling concept for conservation and planning”
- BERKHOFF, Karin: “Impact assessment of land-use change scenarios for the NRWNNR”

Closing Ceremony

13:00 – 14:15 Lunch break

14:14 – 14:45 Poster presentation

14:45 – 16:00 Trip through the Botanical Garden

18:00 Dinner

Thursday, 14.10.10

08:30 – 17:30 Post-Conference excursion to the Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve (optional)

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Limited impact on plant diversity and composition of traditional forest management in a tropical seasonal rainforest in SW China

Xiao-Xue MO1*, Yong-Jiang ZHANG1, J.W. Ferry Slik1, Jing-Xin LIU3, Hua ZHU1

1 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden , Chinese Academy of Sciences , Kunming, 650223, P.R. China
2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing100049 , P.R. China
3 University of Hohenheim, Institute of Plant Production and Agroecology in the Tropics and Subtropics, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

* Corresponding author:

In order to determine the impacts of different traditional forest management types on plant diversity and composition of the seasonal tropical rainforests in Xishuangbanna, China, four types of forests were selected in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve (NRWNNR): primary forest (non-timber product collection allowed), understorey planted primary forest, old secondary forests (~200 years after slash-and-burn), and young secondary forest (15-50 years after slash-and-burn). The results indicate that although human activities affected tree diversity and composition of the forests, the forest regeneration potential under the different management systems was good. Even the young secondary forest, showing the lowest Fisher’s alpha diversity at plot level, had similar diversity levels to primary forest when all plots were combined, indicating high betadiversity. Number of red list tree species, timber species, and useful plant species (edible, medical and fiber plants for livelihoods of local people or commercial use) in young secondary forests was as high as those of less disturbed primary forests, and higher than old secondary forests. Additionally, there were a number of vulnerable and endangered species that were more common in the secondary than primary forests, suggesting that these secondary forests complement rather than decrease diversity. However, although having a nearly undisturbed overstorey, understorey plantation in primary forest impaired regeneration of the climax species through natural succession, which could affect these forests negatively in the long term. Overall, traditionally managed forests increased, rather than decreased landscape level tree diversity in our study area, although this result depends strongly on the small scale of traditional forest management and its close proximity to undisturbed forest which serves as a species source during secondary forest regeneration. Unfortunately, traditional forest use is now under serious threat by expanding large-scale rubber plantations.

Keywords: Tree diversity, traditional forest management, slash-and-burn, understorey cropping, biodiversity, Xishuangbanna.

Land use and plant diversity - a case study from the NRWNNR

Jingxin LIU1*, Gerhard LANGENBERGER1, Joachim SAUERBORN1

1 University of Hohenheim, Institute of Plant Production and Agroecology in the Tropics and Subtropics, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

* Corresponding author:

Economically-centred land-use changes provoked numerous worries about biodiversity conservation. So far, the current land-use changes are not documented properly although the importance of modified landscapes in biodiversity conservation has been acknowledged. Based on satellite image analysis and ground truthing we identified the major land use types in the Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve (NRWNNR), located in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, SW China. We identified: forest, rubber plantations, fallow, bamboo forest, rice fields, tea plantations, maize fields and hemp plantations. Due to plant physiological requirements, so far rubber plantations can only be found below the altitude of 1,000 m a.s.l. They are mostly the result of the conversion of forest and bamboo forest. Tea plantations are usually planted above 1,000 m a.s.l. The recent expansion of tea plantations resulted in a decrease of fallow and corn fields. Since five years hemp plantations are promoted by the government in upland villages above 1,000 m a.s.l. This also contributed to the decrease of fallow and corn fields. We used differently sized square plots to inventory the plant diversity for different land use types. We found 1,171 species belonging to 157 families and 647 genera. Of the 1,171 species, 1,121 are native and 47 are exotic, 41 are ‘national protected species’, 112 are included in the Chinese Red List, and 10 are listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Medicinally usable are 754 species, and 247 species can serve as food. We found 741 species only occurring in one land use type, and 100 common species occurring in more than three land use types. We argue that conservation efforts, which are usually strongly focused on natural or near natural habitats, should also consider anthropogenically created habitats as agricultural lands and the resulting matrix since there are also many useful and unique plant species worthy to be protected.

Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, plant inventory, agricultural land, CITES, protective value, red list, Yunnan.

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Vegetation and flora of Xishuangbanna, Southern Yunnan

Hua ZHU1*

1 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 88 Xuefu Road, Kunming 650223, P.R. China

*Corresponding author:

Xishuangbanna of Southern Yunnan is biogeographically located at a transitional zone from tropical Southeast Asia to subtropical East Asia. The primary vegetation in Xishuangbanna is organized into four vegetation types: tropical rain forest, tropical seasonal moist forest, tropical montane evergreen broad-leaved forest and tropical monsoon forest. The tropical rain forest in Xishuangbanna has similar forest profile and physiognomic characteristics to those of equatorial lowland rain forests, and has the same floristic composition of families and genera as some lowland rain forests in Southeast Asia. In this study, the flora of the region was recorded to consist of more than 3,500 native seed plant species, belonging to 1,180 genera in 182 families. Tropical floristic elements at the generic level form a major contribution (78.3%) to the total flora of Xishuangbanna, of which the dominant geographical elements are those of tropical Asian distribution, suggesting a strong affinity to tropical Asian flora.


[1] Cao, M., Woods, K., Hu, H. & Li, L. 2003. Biodiversity management and sustainable development. Lancang-Mekong River in the new millennium. China Forestry Publishing House.

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Land use in the Greater Mekong Subregion - A Challenge for Society, Economy and Biodiversity
University of Hohenheim
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Land, Greater, Mekong, Subregion, Challenge, Society, Economy, Biodiversity
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Dr. Gerhard Langenberger (Author), 2010, Land use in the Greater Mekong Subregion - A Challenge for Society, Economy and Biodiversity, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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