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The link between smallholder bamboo shoot management, income, and livelihoods
A case study in southern China
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the links between smallholder bambooshoot management practices, productivity, and livelihoods in a mountainous andimpoverished county in southern China. The analysis was based on primarysocioeconomic data from 240 households combined with farmer management surveysand biophysical plantation data. Management practices were determined to be grosslyinadequate, with chronic overharvesting and an uncontrolled pest problem leading topoor yields. Given that bamboo shoots provided the main cash income source, this hada major impact on household income and livelihoods. Changes to culm managementand pest control practices are recommended which could significantly increase shootproductivity and income, while improving bamboo’s contribution to rural livelihoodsand its role in targeted poverty alleviation. Improving smallholder bamboomanagement practices is, however, constrained by a general lack of relevant researchand management guidelines based on scientifically proven techniques to optimizeproductivity.