International Crane Foundation

Integrating Conservation

Cao Hai Project

Eurasia: China Program > Rural Development > Integrating Conservation with Rural Development at Cao Hai Nature Reserve

For over a 15 years ICF has worked with the Chinese Government to integrate community development and wildlife conservation at Cao Hai Nature Reserve in Guizhou Province. The project, which focuses on the participation of local villagers in the design and development of activities, has become a model for nature reserve management in China.

In 1993 ICF and the Trickle Up Program (TUP), a poverty alleviation organization headquartered in New York, implemented a program to offer $100 grants to groups of three to five local villagers, to use to start or expand small businesses that are compatible with the conservation goals of the reserve. Over 550 small businesses were started by villagers within or near the reserve, including small vending businesses, raising livestock or poultry, stove-making using used oil barrels, bicycle repair, or paddle boat rides for tourists to view the area’s waterfowl.

Two years after TUP was initiated at Cao Hai, a Community Trust Fund (CTF) program was started in the villages. The program builds upon similar guidelines as the TUP, but at a larger scale. Each CTF group usually consists of 10-15 families, who receive funds from the nature reserve to be managed as a shared resource; participating families take turns borrowing money from their trust fund to support business activities or other expenses such as school tuition for their children.

ICF is currently working to support a newly created NGO, the Cao Hai Nature Conservation and Community Development Association, to increase local community capacity and enhance community participation in decision making in Cao Hai conservation and resource management.

Location: Cao Hai Nature Reserve, Guizhou Province
Partners: Cao Hai Nature Reserve, Guizhou Forestry Department, Guizhou Environmental Protection Bureau, Trickle Up Program (New York)
Focus: Community-based Conservation, Poverty Alleviation
Funding: The Ford Foundation, Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Sam Evans, and the Rock Family
Year Initiated: 1993

Integrating Conservation
Over 500 small businesses, such as this woman’s potato vending business, were started by villagers in the Cao Hai Nature Reserve through the support of ICF and the Trickle Up Program.


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