aIn the Tibetan plateau region, unique socio-cultural considerations include, for example, pastoral livelihoods that have been adapted to high altitude grasslands, sparse population density, and a harsh, unpredictable environment. Social and cultural identities can and do develop through such environmental situations, as described well by (Ekvall 1968; 1974) and (Goldstein and Beall 1990; 1991). Other social development research has shown how cultural continuity (i.e., the maintenance or development of cultural identity), or the lack thereof, also can affect the outcome of development policies, programs or interventions (Chandler and Lalonde 1998; 2008; Foggin 2011a; Foggin and Foggin 2008; Lalonde 2003).
b'Political ecology' is the study of relationships between socio-political and economic factors with environmental issues such as land degradation, conservation policy, conflict over natural resources, etc. The classic Fate of the Forest (Hecht and Cockburn 1990) is an excellent example of political ecology in the socio-cultural and ecological context of South American rainforests, rife with competing interests, power plays, and the marginalization of local/indigenous communities. Also see (Spooner (1973)) for a treatise on the cultural ecology of nomads/pastoralists (Breivik (2007); Ho (1998)) and (Yeh (2000)). provide some examples of political ecology studies in western China.
cParticipatory Action Research should not be confused with Participatory Rural Appraisal, a fact-finding and assessment technique often used in international development.
dAlso see (Huber 2003; 2005) and (Norbu and Simmons (1997)) for a lengthier discussion about hunting practices as well as cultural values and perceptions regarding hunting in the Tibetan region.
eSee (Eriksson et al. (2009); Morton (2008); Polycarpou (2010); Xu et al. (2009)) for more details. Also see 'Rivers of Ice/Glacier Research Imaging Project,' hosted on the Asia Society website (http://sites.asiasociety.org/riversofice/about).
fIn subsequent years, several other non-profit organizations have been established in Yushu as well, including for example the Snowland Services Group, Friends of the Wild Yak, Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association, and Kunpen Vocational Training Centre.
gIn order to determine how best to assist local herding communities to improve their quality of life, a needs assessment was carried out at the beginning of the project, followed by a prioritization of several potential development interventions. This prioritization was undertaken with local colleagues and other stakeholders, both individuals and organizations. Over a period of two years, both authors also listened attentively to the community and discussed their beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. At one point, they were in almost daily discussion with one key local informant (Zhaduo) for three consecutive months - seeking to verify or counter, as necessary, any preconceived notion or perception that they had. They also carried out a formal questionnaire survey in two remote communities, focused on people's health status (Foggin et al. 2006). Over the years, project direction also was further refined based on outcomes of focus group discussions targeting rural health care and natural resource management practices, as well as informal meetings and numerous discussions with local colleagues and friends.
hMore extensive background about these community development activities can be found in (Foggin (2005a)) and (Foggin et al. (2009)).
iUnfortunately, since the first draft of this article was written, educational policy in rural Qinghai Province has changed significantly, with a centralization of education focused on expanding county (and township) schools, but the closing of village schools. The lesson learned, however, remains the same: a sense of local ownership is important for long-term development success, whereas projects seen as externally driven often fail.
jThis section is adapted from (Foggin et al. (2009)), which describes in more detail the authors' experience in health-related development work in the project area.
kSeveral current examples of human-wildlife conflict in the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau region are provided by (Distefano (2005); Foggin and Rabden (2010); Lu et al. (2010); Mishra et al. (2003); Tsering (2008); Worthy and Foggin (2008)), and (Xu et al. (2008a)).