, Volume 39, Issue 5–6, pp 439–442 | Cite as

Remembering the Ultimate Goal of Environmental Protection: Including Protection of Impoverished Citizens in China’s Environmental Policy

  • Shixiong Cao
  • Li Chen
  • Qingke Zhu


The life of impoverished people can be damaged by adverse environmental conditions, but these people can also be harmed by environmental conservation programs, particularly when the guiding policy ignores their needs. To improve the social and economic effectiveness of environmental protection, governments must understand that the ultimate goal of environmental protection is to improve human livelihoods, not just restore vegetation. The elimination of poverty by the development of sustainable, long-term enterprises is a precondition for successful ecological restoration.


Cost-effectiveness of environmental protection Elimination of poverty Payment for ecosystem services Green enterprises Livelihoods 



This study was supported by the Science and Technology Project of Forestry of China (2006BAD03A0302). We thank Geoffrey Hart in Canada for his help in writing this article. We are also grateful for the comments and criticisms of an anonymous reviewer.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Soil and Water ConservationBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Water and Soil Conservation Institute of Yan’an CityYan’anChina

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