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Wuxi tries ecological compensation mechanism

Updated: 2015-01-22

Wuxi, located in Jiangsu province, has started a trial implementation of an ecological compensation mechanism which became effective from the end of 2014.

A total of 12 zones, including traditional farmlands, a natural conservation area, drinking water source protection area and ecological forest, have been determined as important ecological protected areas. In addition, compared with other cities- such as Nanjing and Suzhou- the ecological compensation range of Wuxi is wider, because of its germplasm resources and the protected area of Yangshan, where the famous juicy peaches hail from, as well as other municipal vegetables. All are included in the range of compensation.

The compensation range and the base-line of compensation is not static, but dynamic, according to one official. Every three years, the range and standard will be adjusted. Generally speaking, the range will become wider but the standard will become stricter thrice-yearly.

The paddy field will be compensated with 400 yuan ($64) per mu (667 square meters), per year. Each mu of the total of 21,000 mu peach forests, will get 300 yuan per year; and each mu of the total of 40,000 mu vegetable base will be compensated with 200 yuan. During the compensation period, these lands can not be used to grow any other crops.

Each mu of the ecological forests above the county level can be compensated with 100 yuan per year. And each mu of the ecological forests above the provincial level can be compensated with 150 yuan per year.

Due to the rich water resources in Wuxi, the government focuses heavily on the protection of water resources. The water resources' ecological compensation is applied step by step and year by year. The government will postpone, reduce, stop or withdraw the compensation once a village with compensated water resources violates the law.

The wetland in Wuxi covers 108,000 hectares, accounting for 22.5 percent of the total area of Wuxi. The city now has three national wetland parks, including Lianghong National Wetland Park, Lihu National Wetland Park and Changguangxi Wetland Park. The protection rate of wetlands in the area has risen from 34.5 percent to 44 percent. Each protected area of county-level, municipal-level and provincial level wetland can get a minimum compensation of 500,000 yuan, 800, 000 yuan and one million yuan per year respectively. The compensation is mainly used to facilitate the protection of the wetland, as well as its promotion.

Adhering to the principle of "Those who cause pollution have to curb the pollution; Those who protect the environment will benefit from it", the government will give some economic compensation to the zones which suffer from a developmental lag due to the cost in environmental protection. Beneficiaries from the development and utilization of the environment will undertake some duties of ecological compensation.

The former Wuxi New District, now known as Wuxi Xinwu district or Wuxi National Hi-tech district, was founded in 1992 and underwent administrative changes in 1995, 2002 and 2005.

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