Meizhen Liu, Bingxue Wang as well as Colin Osborne published a paper in January 2013 titled Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency in the PLoS One scientific journal. The group performed an experiment and wrote a paper on the credibility of replacing Grazing sheep in north china with free range chickens. The areas of northern china have been severely overgrazed by sheep and while efforts have been made to restore the degraded grazing land little has been accomplished.
The groups experiment tested whether raising the chickens on the overgrazed areas is a suitable replacement for sheep both economically and whether or not the raising of chickens will help regrow foliage on the overgrazed lands. The findings showed that the grass lands where the chickens grazed showed much greater signs of recovery and plant growth than areas where the sheep grazed, and also yielded a better income for the owners of the pastures than those that raise sheep.
In my opinion all of North China should start implementing free range chickens in their pastures. Not only are the chickens helpful in the recovery of the grass lands but they actually are more economically efficient than raising sheep in the same pasture (Meizhen). On top of this, if the raising of free range chickens started to become popular it may help support Chinas ever growing population and curb the need for factory farming which comes with many negatives.
Liu, Meizhen. “Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency.” PLoS One (2013): n. pag. Print.