Hainan sows seed of better biodiversity protection

By Hou Liqiang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-05 08:34
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A view of Jiangfengling Tianchi Lake in the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park, Hainan province. PU XIAOXU/XINHUA

China's most southerly province is one of the front-runners in the nation's new nature parks system. Hou Liqiang reports.

Editor's note: In the coming weeks, China Daily will be publishing special reports focusing on the ongoing development of the country's national parks system, looking at areas coming under stronger protection and the species benefiting from the new facilities.

Transportation used to be a big headache for residents of Gaofeng, a remote village in the densely vegetated rainforest of Hainan, China's most southerly province.

"In 2020, a seriously ill villager waited more than two hours till the ambulance his family had called finally arrived," recalled former resident Fu Guohua.

The mountain-encompassed settlement is about 62 kilometers from the urban area of Baisha Li autonomous county, which can only be reached via steep, rugged roads.

Along with the 497 other residents of the village, Fu, 57, has said farewell to the transportation headache as construction continues of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park, whose core protection area surrounds the village.

In a move to reduce human activity and improve conservation efforts in the park, the residents have been moved to a new village — also called Gaofeng — about 3 km from Baisha, the county seat.

Previously, the area covered by the park fell under the jurisdiction of 19 independent protected zones. Despite their role in protecting separate areas, the low-lying areas between them that boast more species than any other part of the tropical forest were unprotected.

Following a long period of human activity, a large swath of tropical and monsoon forest in these areas vanished, fragmenting the ecosystem and separating habitats.

Since the residents were relocated from the core areas and human activity was greatly restricted, the tropical rainforests have been put on a self-healing track, helped by several remedial measures.

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