Agriculture's environmental footprint is expanding and one of its most critical impacts in China is the over-exploitation of surface water and groundwater from aquifers. This study investigated an approach for estimating the physical dimensions of the environmental externalities from a maize cropping system in oasis farming of the arid north-west of China, and the monetary valuation of these environmental externalities based on integrated process-based biophysical and economic models. The simulation results show that current farming practices cause 7854 Yuan/ha of groundwater recharge cost, 7696 Yuan/ha of water treatment cost, and 91 Yuan/ha of N2O mitigation cost. These costs lead to a social benefit–cost ratio of only 0.55, although the farmers' benefit–cost ratio was 1.85. A combination of adoption of recommended best management practices by farmers, and an increase in the water price to 1.1 Yuan/m3 could maintain both the social and farmers' benefit–cost ratios above 1, but the costs of recharging groundwater were large in all cases.
Wei YongPing; White, R.; Hu KeLin; Willett, I. Valuing the environmental externalities of oasis farming in Left Banner, Alxa, China. Ecological Economics (2010) 69 (11) 2151-2157. [DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.05.019]