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Reforesting rural lands in China pays big dividends, Stanford researchers say
Date:5/11/2011

gram reported doing better financially than those who did not, but some farm workers had trouble finding new work, according to the study. Households that profited most did so by sending a husband-and-wife team into the city to earn money as unskilled laborers. The wages they earned in the city combined with the government subsidy easily topped what they had earned as farmers.

But not all families were able to send both parents to the city, because they had no one to care for their child while they were away.

"In many cases, it came down to whether or not the grandparents lived with the family and were available to look after the couple's one, maybe two, children," said study co-author Marc Feldman, professor of biology and director of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies at Stanford.

Fine-tuning

The researchers' evaluation of the sloping land conversion program has provided feedback to the Chinese government that will be used to fine-tune the system for calculating subsidy payments in the future, said Daily. For example, some families may require bigger subsidies or other assistance, like special permission to enroll their children in city schools where they work.

"It's highly unusual for any government to check the effectiveness of a program like this so rigorously," said Daily. "We're fortunate to have an opportunity to evaluate an operation of this magnitude and learn lessons for other parts of the world."

Last October, Daily witnessed the scope of the flooding problem firsthand. She and her research team were assessing forest habitat on the tropical island province of Hainan when torrential floods swept through the region. The roads were already disappearing under a wash of mud as the researchers made their way to the airport to escape the rising waters. "The rivers burst their banks, and mud was flowing in wide sheets through rubber plantations and across cropland and roads and
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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