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Yunnan protects its wild side

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-12-24 09:39
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Ethnic Yi singers Li Huaixiu (right) and Li Huaifu from Yunnan province perform at a side event of COP 15 on Dec 16 in Montreal, Canada. ZOU ZHENG/XINHUA

Elephants, peafowl and elusive maples given the chance to thrive in China's most biodiverse province

According to the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook report, biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented and intensifying rate. As the most biodiverse province in China, southwestern Yunnan is sharing its conservation strategy on the international stage.

Seventeen years after the province first introduced the concept of Species with Extremely Small Populations (SESP), Yunnan showcased its achievements in conservation on Dec 16 at a side event of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada.

"We will forever lose the opportunity for future development brought by some species if they go extinct," says Yang Hua, an official with the provincial forestry and grassland administration.

SESP was put forward by the province in 2005, as a concept to denote species that were found to be restricted in their geographic distribution and which showed weak population growth.

Ever since then, the province's conservation efforts have helped the population of Asian elephants reach around 360, and that of black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys is now 3,800.

Sun Weibang, director of the Kunming Botanical Garden, under the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that, during a decade of continuous development, Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations (PSESP), a term derived from SESP, was applied as a conceptual model to conserve native plants in countries such as Italy, Russia, Mexico, and Iraq.

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