With a budget of RMB 337 billion (over US$ 40 billion), the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP) is one of China's most ambitious environmental initiatives, and is one of the world's largest land-conservation programs. Pending successful completion, it will have significant implications for China's forests and remaining natural ecosystems, representing an almost 10 % increase in current national forest area. However, we provide evidence that it is in danger of failing to reach its goals due to flaws in design and implementation. Four years into the program, this paper uses a 2003 data set of 358 households to examine SLCP implementation and to suggest improvements. Of central concern has been overly quick expansion over the past few years, which has served to exacerbate problems already revealed, but not adequately addressed, during the pilot phase of the program.
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Vol. 6 • No. 4