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Eco-conservation bears fruit in Inner Mongolia

By Yang Yao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-05-08 13:13

The practice of eco-conservation in Alxa league in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, carried out by Chinese entrepreneurs, has benefited both the local government and residents, a scholar said on Monday.

Xiao Jin, a senior researcher with Hong Kong Chinese University, since 2006 has been keeping a close eye on NGO "Society-Entrepreneur-Ecology," organized by a group of entrepreneurs in 2004 to focus on ecological protection of the Alxa Desert in Inner Mongolia.

The organization carried out curbing desertification projects on 12.9 million mu (860,000 million hectares) of land owned by 1,841 households in 17 villages through village regulations.

"This is a democratic experiment that will benefit both government and the villagers," Xiao said.

Her new book, "Eco-Conservation Democratic Experiment: A Travelogue through Alxa League," recorded all details in the practice, including interviews of all stakeholders.

Wang Xueyi, a villager in the Yaoba area of Alxa, said his life has improved because of funding from the organization.

"What benefits us most is that we can now cooperate with the ecosystem and still obtain life necessities," he said.

The organization has been trying to teach villagers the last nine years, trying to find a balance between environmental protection and poverty reduction; for example, replacing their original crops with water-saving ones.

Feng Lun, chairman of China Center and Vantone Holdings Co Ltd and the current executive president of the organization, said they help villagers establish a regulation by themselves and through the regulations, the villagers can take initiatives combating land degradation and desertification, while not losing the chance of economic development.

Zhang Xiangshu, a professor with Renmin University, said that philanthropic capital is playing a larger role in solving social problems now.

"Unlike the projects carried out by government, the entrepreneurs are more result-oriented, which makes the project more effective," he said. "It is a worthy try."

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