Sustainable livelihoods and rural sustainability in China : Ecologically secure, economically efficient or socially equitable?

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Journal / PublicationResources, Conservation and Recycling
Online published13 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


Sustainable production and consumption in the rural regions remains a barely tried yet important issue for contributing to rural sustainability these days. In particular, the sustainable livelihood of rural farmers has not been fully investigated for those in rural areas with high agricultural pollution emissions and a poor ecological quality of agricultural production in China. Also affected are farmers with a low living standard and output, or suffer from social inequity. The sustainable livelihood security (SLS) index therefore provides a useful means of identifying the existence of the conditions necessary for sustainable livelihood or sustainable development. Using the fuzzy comprehensive method, this paper aims to assess the level of sustainable livelihood security of China's provincial farmers and its three components of ecological security, economic efficiency and social equity. A SLS index is established and the entropy weight method used to determine the weight of the indices and analyze spatial distribution. The results indicate that the sustainable livelihood security index and its components vary between provincial regions, with the western provinces being most adversely affected, sustainable livelihood, economic efficiency and social equity being the least secure (or relatively insecure) in the western provinces while economic efficiency is most secure (or relatively secure) in the eastern and middle provinces, and social equity most secure in the eastern provinces. Concluding remarks suggest policies designed to improve the sustainable livelihood security of farmers according to local regional circumstances.

Research Area(s)

  • Ecological security, Economic efficiency, Fuzzy comprehensive method, Rural sustainability, Social equity, Sustainable livelihood security