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Reserves prospering, protecting nature
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-22 22:57

Forestry authorities have built 763 nature reserves across the country in the past three years, a remarkable leap forward for China's environmental protection efforts.

That encompasses four-fifths of the total number of reserves built in the country since 2000.

Currently there are 1,672 nature reserves under the management of forestry authorities at all levels, accounting for 84 per cent of the total number of reserves in the country. The country began building reserves in 1956.

In China, nature reserves are managed by different government bodies, such as forestry, agricultural, oceanic, and environment authorities.

Meanwhile, the Beijing Forestry University yesterday established a nature reserve school, the first of its kind in China.

It is expected that the school will help ease the thirst for professionals in this field in China.

According to Vice-Director of the State Forestry Administration Zhao Xuemin, the nature reserves harbour 85 per cent of wild animal species, 65 per cent of high-level botanic species, and 20 per cent of the natural forests in China.

At a national conference on the creation and management of nature reserves held by the administration in Beijing yesterday, Zhao said efforts will be made to establish additional nature reserves, especially in wetland areas.

He said nearly 60 per cent of the country's natural wetlands are still not under effective protection.

Forestry authorities will try to build another 128 nature reserves by 2010, Zhao said. By 2050, they will shoot to have the number reach 2,500.

But Xie Yan, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said authorities should pay more attention to reasonable management of nature reserves, rather than singly seeking a large number.

The management system of China's nature reserves, or protected areas, is not yet good enough, she said.

A crucial problem is the contradiction between nature conservation and local economic development.

The country should set up a complete management system for protected areas, which includes both strict protection measures and reasonable uses of resources in some of the areas, Xie said.

"Different kinds of protected areas should be managed accordingly," she said.

Xie's suggestion was echoed by Zhao, who said at yesterday's conference that resources in nature reserves should be "made use of scientifically and reasonably" so local economies develop.

There should also be a complete legal system concerning nature reserves, which include a framework law on protected areas and a series of codes to govern them, such as laws to guide management of forest parks, Xie said.


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