Jiang, G., X. Han and J. Wu
Inner Mongolia covers an area of 1.1 million km2 and has a population of 20.3 million. Recent surveys have shown that nearly 90% of the grasslands now are degraded to varying degrees, which is more than twice as much as was estimated 10 years ago (3). On average, current grassland primary productivity is only about 50% of that of the undegraded steppe. The land degradation in this region is generally believed to be a major reason for the increasing frequency of severe sandstorms and dust storms in northern China (particularly in Beijing and adjacent regions) in recent decades (4, 5). Because the environmental and economic future of the Inner Mongolia grassland is at stake, scientifically sound ecosystem management strategies are urgently needed for the sustainability of this region.