Groundwork in the margins symbiotic governance in a Chinese dust-shed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter concerns itself with the doubling of a resource frontier into the headwaters of a meteorological catastrophe, and experiments in social and landscape governance that have aimed to hold the earth to the ground. For a local government charged with the task of sand control, suosuo is a key species. Forestry officials value the plant’s quick-growing roots as an effective ‘biological method’ of dune stabilization, an ersatz sand-binding and wind-breaking infrastructure on and below the shifting surface of dunes. In the wake of major storms in the early 2000s, a new meteorological villain burst onto the scene in Beijing. In accounting for dust storms, state officials blamed ‘irrational land use practices’, most notably ‘overgrazing’ in upwind regions. The status of Alxa as a meteorological frontier and the attempt to generate a resource boom as a state strategy of anti-desertification engineering characterize this frontier in a number of unexpected ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrontier Assemblages
Subtitle of host publicationThe Emergent Politics of Resource Frontiers in Asia
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781119412090
ISBN (Print)9781119412069
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Dunes
  • Dust storms
  • Landscape governance
  • Meteorological catastrophe
  • Resource frontier
  • Suosuo plant


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