Evaluation and optimization of the Grain for Green project based on the
effect of soil conservation: A case study of Yan’an, China
Quantitative evaluation of soil conservation effects (SCE) of ecological
policies at the macro level is not only a summary of past ecological
recovery experience but also an effective way to explore the
optimization of future ecological policies. As a famous ecological
policy, “Grain for Green” (GFG) carried out in the Loess Plateau of
China has significantly reduced soil erosion in this region. However, it
is unclear whether the implementation of this policy has achieved the
optimal SCE, which is an important issue in the GFG evaluation. The
concept of soil conservation potential (SCP) was proposed in this study.
Taking Yan’an, China as an example, the influence of GFG on soil erosion
control was evaluated by comparing the total amount of soil erosion
reduction and the SCP under certain the GFG intensity. On this basis,
the future measures of GFG optimization were proposed. The result shows
that the implementation of GFG in the past does not take into account
the local SCP, and there is a significant spatial mismatch between the
GFG implementation intensity and the SCP, resulting in the waste of
resources and low policy efficiency. If this problem was fully
considered in ecological restoration planning, a “win-win” result of
improving governance effect and reducing input cost could be achieved.
Finally, the suggestion of establishing the GFG dynamic input mechanism
was put forward for the formulation and optimization of relevant
ecological policies in the future.