Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, announced the figure at a celebration ofthe 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday.
Swans and tens of thousands of rare migrant birds spend the winter in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve inYongxiu county, Jiangxi province. China has established 286 national nature reserves in the past 20years. Duan Changzheng / for China Daily
The figure has grown from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 14.9 percent today. The number of national-level nature reserves has increased from 77 to 363, marking the achievements the Chinesegovernment has made to promote biodiversity since the country signed the United NationsConvention on Biological Diversity 20 years ago.
“Setting up nature reserves is seen as the core measure in biodiversity conservation to preventthe current loss of species and habitats,” said Zhang Shigang, country coordinator of theUnited Nations Environment Program China.
That’s why the theme of the 2013 International Day for Biodiversity in China is “biodiversity andnature reserves”, while the international theme is “water and biodiversity”.
“The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment indicates that in the past 50 years, 60percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded. Loss of biodiversity reduces our food,medicine, clean air and water. The ecosystem that human beings rely on is fragile,” said ZhangXinsheng, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Council.
“China has very rich biodiversity of its own,” he said. “The 2012 IUCN Red List cites over 5,000plant and animal species living in China, and of those nearly 1,000 species are under threat.”
Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the United Nations Development Program China,said the natural capital of biodiversity has been greatly overused during the country’s pursuit ofeconomic development, and if China’s development is to be sustainable in the long term, itmust conserve biodiversity as its ecological base.
“The challenge both in China and globally is in harmonizing economic growth with thepreservation of the integrity of natural capital. More particularly in China, the challenge is toreconcile the conservation of this country’s rich ecosystems with the demands of development,which has already lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty,” Haverman said.
He said the UNDP appreciates and supports the significant efforts for biodiversity conservationundertaken in recent years by the Chinese government.
The government has given conservation of biodiversity high priority, according to Vice-MinisterLi.
The China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2030,released in September 2010, set guidelines for the country’s efforts to protect biodiversity overthe next 20 years.
- Elusive pandas caught on camera in China habitat (science.nbcnews.com)
- Photos offer rare glimpse into panda habitat (wwf.panda.org)
- Heartbreaking – we must all act, now! (alvecotewood.wordpress.com)
- Strike a pose: World’s rarest animals are caught on hidden camera exploring their habitats (dailymail.co.uk)
- Developers can build on nature reserves – if they ‘offset’ the damage elsewhere, says Government review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Cities are a ray of hope on biodiversity front (thehindu.com)