CHINA / Official Publication

White Paper on Environmental Protection
Updated: 2006-06-05 10:27

-- The construction of nature reserves, protected eco-areas, and places of historical interest and scenic beauty. The Chinese government deems the establishment of nature reserves as an important step to protect the eco-environment. By the end of 2005, there were 2,349 nature reserves of various kinds and levels in China, covering 1.5 million sq km and taking up about 15 percent of the country's land territory; a national nature reserves network with relatively complete types and a relatively rational layout had been initially formed, effectively protecting 85 percent of the land ecosystem types, 85 percent of wildlife species, and 65 percent of the natural plant community in China. Also, the State has started eco-area construction in the areas of river headwaters, and areas important for preserving water sources, river flood storage and buffering, sand fixing with windbreaks, and other ecologically important areas. National-level experimental eco-areas were set up in 18 typical regions, including the areas of the Dongjiang River headwaters, Dongting Lake and the Qinling Mountains. The construction of local eco-areas was also carried out in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Gansu and Qinghai. So far, 677 places of historical interest and scenic beauty have been approved by the Chinese government, among which 187 are national-level ones. A group of nature reserves and national-level key places of historical interest and scenic beauty have been inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List, International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network, or List of Wetlands of International Importance. They include Mount Taishan, Mount Huangshan, Mount Emei and the Leshan Giant Buddha, Mount Wuyi, Mount Lushan, Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic Area, Huanglong Scenic Area, Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Dam, and the Three Parallel Rivers. There are more than 1,900 forest parks of various kinds in China, with 627 national-level ones. China has 85 national geological parks, eight of them having been included in the first group of the World Network of Geoparks: Mount Huangshan in Anhui Province, Mount Lushan in Jiangxi Province, Mount Yuntai in Henan Province, the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, Mount Danxia in Guangdong Province, Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province, the Five Volcanic Chain Lakes in Heilongjiang Province and Mount Songshan in Henan Province.

-- Conservation of biodiversity. China is a country rich in biodiversity. The State has formulated the China Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation, followed by China's Biodiversity: A Country Study and the Plan for the Protection and Utilization of the Resources of Biological Species. At present, there are 250 bases for saving and breeding wildlife, over 400 centers for conserving and cultivating wild plant species or preserving wild plant genes in China, which have artificially produced stable species groups for over 200 kinds of endangered rare animals and about 1,000 types of wild plants. Meanwhile, investigation and collection of key wild plants on the verge of extinction and under state protection have been carried out, and 67 zones have been set up to protect the original habitats of wild agricultural plants. A nationwide investigation has also been carried out on species from abroad, and action has been taken to root out the most harmful and noxious of such species in 100 counties in ten provinces, enhancing the public awareness and people's capacity to guard against the intrusion of foreign species. Among the 189 types of wild plants covered in a national investigation of wild plant resources, 71 percent are up to the standard for stable survival, and 55.7 percent of the 252 kinds of wild animals covered by a national investigation have been shown to be increasing steadily. The numbers of rare and endangered wild animal species, such as the Chinese alligator and red ibis, have increased by wide margins. The number of wild giant pandas has now reached 1,596, and domesticated ones, 183. Some wildlife species have been found in wider areas, and new records, breeding grounds or winter homes of black-beaked gulls and black-faced spoonbills have been constantly discovered. Arborvitae, which was declared by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources to be an extremely endangered species after having disappeared in China for over 100 years, has been found in China again.

-- Wetland protection. The Chinese government has promulgated the National Plan for Wetland Protection Action; formulated and implemented the National Program for Wetland Protection Engineering (2002-2030) and the National Implementation Program for Wetland Protection Engineering (2005-2010). So far, China has 473 wetland nature reserves, totaling 43.46 million ha. Almost 45 percent of the natural wetlands included in the country's wetland nature reserves have been protected effectively; and 30 wetlands, including the marshlands of Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake and Zhalong, have been put on the List of Wetlands of International Importance, totaling 3.46 million ha. With the stable expansion of the acreage of some key wetlands, and the recovery and improvement of their ecological functions, the trend toward rapid decrease in the overall area of wetlands has been effectively checked. The protection of urban wetland resources has drawn more attention and been strengthened; and the government has approved the establishment of ten urban wetland parks.

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