Hainan sows seed of better biodiversity protection

By Hou Liqiang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-05 08:34
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A dragonfly (coeliccia cyanomelas) lands on a leaf in the park. YANG GUANYU/XINHUA

Win-win situation

Fu said the community's relocation is a win-win for both the residents and the rainforest.

In addition to poor access to medical services, the lack of transportation in the old village caused great difficulties for school students, he said. Once they reached the third grade, the children had to either travel 40 km to the nearest township or the county city, as the primary school could only teach those in the first and second grades. He said it was hard to make money in such an isolated area, and the only source of income was the cultivation of rice and rubber trees. The poor economic conditions also made women from outside reluctant to marry local men.

However, he said all those problems have been addressed since the relocation as every family was given a free two-story, four-bedroom house and each villager was allocated 0.7 hectares of rubber trees.

As the villagers embraced their new lives, their original homes were demolished and the area returned to tropical rainforest. "I was happy to move. It's not only good for future generations, but will also help protect the rainforest," Fu said.

Such forests only cover about 6 percent of the Earth's land surface, but they are of great importance to the conservation of biodiversity as they are home to 80 percent of the planet's known species. China hosts just 0.2 percent of the world's tropical rainforests, with those in Hainan being the most concentrated and best-preserved. They account for one-third of all rainforests in China.

In light of that, it was little wonder that when China announced the establishment of its first five national parks last year, in a move designed to bolster the conservation of biodiversity, one of the facilities was the tropical rainforest park in Hainan.

In October last year, when he addressed the Leaders' Summit of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, President Xi Jinping announced that China had officially designated its first group of five national parks — including the Three-River-Source National Park, the Giant Panda National Park, the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park and the Wuyishan National Park.

With a total protected area of 230,000 sq km, the parks are home to nearly 30 percent of the key terrestrial wildlife species found in China, he said.

"To strengthen biodiversity protection, China is moving faster to establish a system of protected areas, with national parks as the mainstay," Xi said. "Over time, areas of the greatest importance to the natural ecosystem, with the most spectacular natural landscapes, the most valuable natural heritage and the greatest biodiversity reserves will be included in the national park system."

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