Chishui Watershed protection: Demonstration of Yangtze wetland conservation

Updated: 2013-07-23 10:46

By Li Jun and Li Yang(

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The idea of wetlands protection being a significant contributor to productivity was a major topic at the Yangtze Wetland Conservation Network's annual meeting, in the city of Guiyang, Guizhou province, on Thursday, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences reporting that China's wetlands could generate 185,000 yuan ($30,100) per hectare annually, or 20 percent of the GDP.

Li Lin, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) China project director, explained, "The Chishui Watershed protection, in Guizhou, is in fact a part of the Yangtze wetland conservation project, because Guizhou is an important part of the river basin."

Li went on to say that capital and investment are not the best way to protect the Chishui Watershed and that reducing the number of large industrial projects is the best way to environmental protection.

The WWF has contributed a lot to the Chishui project, starting with the Chishui Watershed project back in 2006, to protect biodiversity, and the Equitable Payment for Watershed Services (EPWS) project in 2010, which calls for watershed ecosystem users to pay for what they get and help bear the cost of caring for the ecology and environment.

The WWF thinks it has a winning situation with the EPWS, with nine Chishui enterprises taking part, including the Guizhou Junfeng Liquor Co and Guizhou Guobao Winery.

Guizhou's government says it considers ecological efforts and wetland protection very important. Long Chaoyun, the deputy director of the provincial people's congress explained that Guizhou has 18,000 square kilometers of wetlands, accounting for 2.8 percent of China's total, adding that, to make the Chishui Watershed a role model in nature protection, the Guizhou government needs to improve education on wetland protection and its legal framework.

The WWF's Li concluded that Guizhou needs to cherish its ecological treasures and that development shall not be driven by economic demands alone.