Ramsar site management plans -- Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve, Hainan, China

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Management Plan

of

Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve, Hainan, China


Wetlands International-China Program

Hainan Provincial Forestry Bureau

Hainan Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve

Supported through the

Small Grants Fund of the Ramsar Convention Bureau


chinaplan.jpg (35535 bytes)EDITORIAL BOARD

Chief of Editorial Board: Chen Kelin

Vice-Chief of Editorial Board: Wu Huasheng

Editors: Chen Kelin, Chen Guizhu, Huang Zhongqi, John Howes, Li Zuowei, Mo Yanni, Wu Huasheng, Wu Tingjie, Yan Chenggao, Yun Daxing, Zheng Xinren


Contents of File 1

Preface

Executive Summary

Chapter 1. General Information


Chapter 2 Evaluation and Goals

2.1 Evaluation indicators

2.1.1  Size and position in the ecological unit.

The Dongzhaigang Estuary has a total area of 5,400 ha. The land area of the Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve covers approximately 3,337.6 hectares, and at low water, the open water area is 2,062.4 hectares. The Reserve consists principally of one ecological unit - tropical, inter-tidal mangrove forest with associated mud- and sand-flats and shallow water sub-zones. Of these sub-zones, 2,006 hectares are forested with mangrove and 1,331.6 hectares are inter-tidal mud- and sand-flats. The surrounding water catchment area is largely outside the protected area.

2.1.2 Biological diversity

Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve is one of the highest biodiversity mangrove wetlands in China. This is largely due to its climatic characteristics (tropical and sub-tropical) and the southern extremity of Hainan Island. This richness is also somewhat artificial as species occurring in other parts of Hainan and from overseas have been planted and are growing successfully. 17 species of true mangroves (trees and shrubs) grow naturally within the Reserve. An additional eight species have been introduced from Qinglan Gang further to the south and one from Bangladesh (see Annex I: flora). In addition, 40 species of semi-mangroves and mangrove-associated plants have also been recorded.

The most important biodiversity features of Dongzhaigang are the numbers of threatened birds species it supports, particularly during the non-breeding, wintering and passage migration periods. A total of 159 species of bird have been recorded, including three species classified by Collar, et. al., (1994) as "globally threatened" - Saunders' gull, Larus saundersi, black-faced spoonbill, Platalea minor, and Chinese egret, Egretta eulophotes. Although numbers of each of these species are believed to be low.

The area is known to support a large number species of fish and marine invertebrates, but this aspect of its biodiversity has not been surveyed in detail.

2.1.3 Naturalness

Virtually no wetland in Asia can be classified as "natural". Centuries of influence by man have modified most habitats and ecosystems and Dongzhaigang is no different. Although the natural ecosystem in the area is mixed mangrove forest associated with inter-tidal flats, this has been modified by the following anthropomorphic and historical factors:

  • Harvesting of mangroves for wood, fuel, tannin and other non-timber products.

  • Reclamation of mangroves and inter-tidal areas for agriculture, aquaculture and housing.

  • Introduction of exotic or alien species of mangrove tree.

  • Development of plantation mangrove forests.

  • Intensive fishing and shell-fish collection in and around the estuary.

  • Pollution from domestic, agricultural and industrial sources in the catchment.

This has resulted in a severely modified habitat in the buffer zones of the N.N.R. where the mangrove trees are of a smaller size, where regeneration is sparse and consists of scrubby species and where reclaimed areas have been abandoned.

On the other hand a relatively "natural" core zone of mangrove has developed since the creation of the protected area in 1980. In this area the mangroves are close to optimal size (for the climatic conditions) and reflect the natural species composition and age structure for a forest of this type.

2.1.4 Rarity

Nearly 80% of mangrove forest in southern China has been reclaimed and destroyed in the last 40 years. Therefore the mangrove ecosystem at Dongzhaigang represents a rare wetland habitat in China. Of national importance are the populations of mangrove plant species (particularly Nypa fruticans, Lumnitzera littorea and Sonneratia alba) and the Hainan Island endemic Sonneratia hainanensis.

Of principal and global concern are the populations of the three "globally threatened" bird species supported by Dongzhaigang. Population sizes for all three species are small and may be declining. Mid-winter waterfowl counts between 1992 and 1997 show that black-faced spoonbill populations have decreased from 13 (in 1992), 6 (1995), 4 (1996) to 3 (1997 and 1999). Whilst no accurate census figures are available for Saunders' gull and Chinese egret they are known to be very rare.

2.1.5 Fragility

Mangrove and inter-tidal flat ecosystems are relatively simple, generally robust and can withstand fairly high pressures of exploitation, degradation and modification. However, it is very difficult and expensive to restore mangrove systems following drastic changes in the hydrology, soil drainage and chemistry (e.g., following drainage and formation of acid sulphate soils, or following oil spills). Natural events such as typhoons and tidal surges may also pose a significant threat to the mangrove system in Dongzhaigang. Other man-induced fragility concerns the high levels of pollutant inputs to the bay, continued reclamation of inter-tidal areas outside and adjacent to the protected area and excessive exploitation of shell-fish and other inter-tidal organisms.

2.1.6 Typicalness

Dongzhaigang is a typical example of the mangrove and inter-tidal mud- and sand-flat ecosystem of southern China. Furthermore the area is the largest contiguous area of protected mangrove forest remaining in China (perhaps with the exception of Mai Po Marshes and Deep Bay in Hong Kong SAR and adjacent Shenzhen.

2.1.7 Research

Dongzhaigang has long been a research focus for Chinese marine scientists and botanists interested in the mangrove ecosystem. Many publications have resulted from research carried out over the last 10 years, ranging from studies on soils, plant morphology and phylogeny, ecosystem functioning and management, mangrove restoration and planting, biodiversity and ecotourism potential (see Section 1.6 for details).

2.1.8 Recreation and Tourism

Ecotourism at Dongzhaigang is well established. Since 1989 there has been a local mangrove based ecotourist industry centered on boat trips through the mangroves and consumption of seafood at local hotels/restaurants.

Prior to 1997 the estimated number of visitors to the Reserve was 50,000 per year and revenue for the management authority from boat hire and organized tours was estimated at RMB 250,000 per year of which 15% contributes to the total Reserve budget. In response to this demand two hotels and restaurants and a boat jetty with ornamental pagoda were constructed adjacent to the Reserve management offices. These were financed by private companies and sponsored by the Hainan Provincial Tourism Authority. In addition to this, in 1997 a concrete elevated mangrove walkway was constructed illegally within the Reserve "tourism zone". This walkway was designed to allow paying tourists a view of the mangroves and also access to boats in the main channel. This operation was established in direct competition to that at the main jetty complex.

The impact of ecotourism and other recreational activities at Dongzhaigang has not been fully investigated. Up to 50,000 visitors per year is bound to have some adverse impacts on the mangrove environment, particularly where visitors leave the boats and follow a trail through the mangrove forest. In addition, pressures on fisheries resources to supply the demand of tourist restaurants may be unsustainable. There is no doubt that the illegally constructed mangrove walkway in the Reserve has a negative impact aesthetically. Illegal construction of such infrastructure in a National Nature Reserve also raises questions of local planning laws and land tenure in and around the protected area. Hotels and restaurants built adjacent to the mangroves may also have inadequate waste disposal systems that may impact the ecosystem.

2.1.9 Education and Public Awareness

Excellent potential for education and public awareness for schools and universities, tourists and local communities exists at Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve as the area is about 1 hour from the Provincial capital, Haikou and easily accessible by highway/major road from the city. In addition a new international airport is currently under construction (1998) about half an hour from the site.

2.2 Management goals

2.2.1 Long term management goals

The long term goals of management at Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve are:-

  • To maintain and enhance the integrity and global biodiversity importance of the mangrove and inter-tidal mud- and sand-flat ecosystem within the bay through stronger protection, better management and restoration of degraded areas.

  • To ensure that development and exploitation of wetland resources in the N.N.R. and surrounding area is conducted in a sustainable manner.

  • To enhance the potential for tourism, research and environmental awareness at the site and ensure it is developed in a responsible manner.

2.3 Factors influencing the achievement of long term management goals

2.3.1 Internal natural factors:

Maintaining the integrity and global biodiversity importance of the mangrove and inter-tidal mud- and sand-flat ecosystem relies on maintaining a balance between mangrove accretion and erosion and the corresponding extent of inter-tidal areas for feeding birds.

Current low information base on resources and their management exists. For instance, little is known of wintering habitat and migratory habitat needs of globally threatened water birds, and of cycles of mangrove accretion and erosion at Dongzhaigang.

2.3.2 Internal human-induced factors:

High levels of exploitation of the wetland resources (particularly shell-fish and inshore fisheries) within the National Nature Reserve may be unsustainable in the long term.

High visitor use and disturbance may effect wintering populations of globally threatened species.

Pollution and the associated effects of increased development of infrastructure and visitor facilities may lead to localized erosion, disturbance, litter, waste management problems.

Past management rationale has been focussed on development of mangrove tree plantations, often with alien or introduced species, and not on natural ecosystem management.

2.3.3 External natural factors:

Frequency and force of typhoons effecting the Dongzhaigang coastline can lead to severe erosion of mangroves and inter-tidal mud- and sand-flats and loss of wetland resources.

2.3.4 External human-induced factors:

Aquaculture development in areas immediately adjacent to the Reserve will effect freshwater supply to the mangroves having impacts on erosion cycles and mangrove species composition. Other aquaculture related factors include the leaching of acids from acid sulphate soils developed by drainage and bunding of former mangrove lands and aquaculture pollutant/waste disposal.

Associated tourism development adjacent to the Reserve will create waste management and disturbance impacts.

2.3.5 Factors arising from legislation or tradition:

Despite Ramsar site status and National Nature Reserve status local development plans have impinged and impacted upon the protected area. Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve is managed by the Hainan Forestry Bureau, but decision-making powers lie with the local county government.

Local communities exercise "traditional rights" over resource exploitation within the National Nature Reserve. Exploitation of inter-tidal shellfish and fish in particular is widely practiced throughout the protected area with no difference in use pressure between a "core zone" and a "utilization zone". There may also be localized hunting of birds and other wildlife in and around the Reserve. Local communities however appear to respect the no-cutting policy of mangrove wood in all zones.

Local communities are traditionally not involved in protected area decision making and planning.

2.3.6 Physical considerations:

Ease of access to the area may impose limitations on resource management and protection.

2.3.7 Available resources:

Financial resources to manage Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve are low. Since 1993 no or little central funding from S.F.A. has been available for operations. The annual staff salaries and operational budget for the N.N.R. is estimated at RMB 390,000. these costs are met through ecotourism revenues and local Forestry Bureau funds.

There are about 32 staff employed by Dongzhaigang N.N.R. Of these few are involved in protection works.

There are 2 protection "stations", a HQ administration and management office, staff housing and a large meeting room. In addition, there is some infrastructure associated with a small mangrove nursery.

2.3.8 Summary of factors influencing the achievement of the long term management goals:

  • Dynamic internal factors associated with inter-tidal ecosystems present both constraints and opportunities for long term wetland management and ecosystem restoration.

  • Ecosystem functioning, such as use of habitats by globally threatened water birds and cycles of mangrove accretion and erosion at Dongzhaigang are currently poorly understood.

  • Man-induced internal factors, principally lack of control over sustainability of resource use, disturbance to wildlife and uncontrolled development present obstacles to reaching long term goals.

  • Lack of control over external factors (e.g., natural: typhoons and man-induced: pollution, peripheral aquaculture and other developments) prevents complete control over ecosystem management by Hainan Forestry Bureau staff.

  • Local legislation and land use planning and decision making take little account of National Nature Reserve priorities and recommendation for biodiversity conservation.

  • Adequate person-power resources are available, but currently focussed on ecotourism activities, not ecosystem management. Training and capacity are currently low.

2.4 Short term operational objectives

Operational Objective 1: To maintain and enhance mangrove ecosystems and natural resources

Management Target 1.1: To strengthen protection for the mangrove ecosystem.

Management Target 1.2: To restore mangrove forest in appropriate areas.

Management Target 1.3: To expand area of mangroves through planting.

Management Target 1.4: To increase economic benefits within the reserve.

Management Target 1.5: To strengthen research on mangrove ecosystems.

Operational Objective 2: To maintain and enhance conservation of biodiversity and important species

Management Target 2.1: To conserve and increase rare or endangered species populations.

Management Target 2.2: To survey and monitor natural resources.

Management Target 2.3: To ensure wise use of biological resources in the Reserve.

Management Target 2.4: To strengthen applied research into endangered species.

Operational Objective 3: To promote awareness building and public education

Management Target 3.1: To raise public awareness on the values of mangrove and biodiversity.

Management Target 3.2: To promote environmental awareness through mangrove-based ecotourism.

Management Target 3.3: To strengthen management capacity of Reserve staff.

Operational Objective 4: To maintain and enhance protection and wise use of the mudflat resources

Operational Objective 5: To maintain water resources and control pollutants


Chapter 3 Management Scenarios

Operational Objective 1: To maintain and enhance mangrove ecosystems and natural resources

Management Target 1.1: To strengthen protection for the mangrove ecosystem:-

Activity 1: Identifying and demarcating functional zones of the Nature Reserve and identifying main functions of each zone

The Reserve is currently divided into 3 functional zones (see Table 1). These will be maintained (or adjusted accordingly) but their protection and management strengthened. The three zones are:-

1) Core area: The area around Tashi will be maintained as the core zone of the Reserve as it is the best remaining example of a mangrove ecosystem in the estuary with populations of the rarer mangrove species and less human disturbance than elsewhere. Historically the mangrove ecosystem of the core zone was well protected. The total area of the core zone is 940 ha.

All forestry-related activities such as tree felling, and other activities such as land reclamation, fishing, hunting and breeding of marine lives will be absolutely forbidden in the core zone.

2) Buffer zone: The buffer zone consists of the inter-tidal mudflats surrounding the core zone and has a total area of 122 ha. In the buffer zone some forestry-related activities and resource exploitation activities, if consistent with protection of the natural ecosystem and biodiversity, will be allowed. The buffer zone will also be used for education and research activities, to monitor biodiversity and will continue to be used as a shellfish production area and fishing area for local communities. Hunting and land reclamation will continue to be forbidden.

3) Extensive use zone: This area was formerly termed the "experimental zone" and consists of all areas within the Reserve that fall outside the core and buffer zones. The extensive use zone consists mostly of the lowest inter-tidal sand- and mudflats and scattered mangroves. The total area of this zone is 2275 ha including 1066 ha of scattered forest land and 1209 ha of mudflat, and is located mainly in Sanjiang area.

Besides on-going community based fisheries this zone will be used for field research and trials on mangrove afforestation, sustainable use of inter-tidal resources and limited ecotourism. Tree felling and other exploitation of the mangroves will be forbidden.

Table 1. Area of functional zones of Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve

Functional zone

Locality

Forested area

Mudflat

Subtotal

Core zone

Tashi

940

-

940

Buffer zone

Coastal area

-

122

122

Extensive use zone

Sanjiang

1066

1209.6

2275.6

Total

-

2006

1331.6

3337.6

Activity Budget: 50,000 RMB.

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Stations of Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve.
Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve.
People’s Government of Qiongshan County

Implementation period: 2000-2001

Activity 2: Demarcating the reserve’s boundary and setting up stakes and information signs

The boundaries of the Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve are currently inadequately demarcated leading to frequent intrusions and disputes over land tenure and rights. Clear demarcating of the Reserve boundary is an important prerequisite for implementing management activities at the Reserve and will be critical from the point of view of guaranteeing the rights of using land and resources.

Following the establishment of the protected area in 1980, the People’s Government of Qiongshan County issued a declaration stating the area and boundary of the Reserve. Whilst the area of the Reserve was accurately stated, its boundaries were not precisely defined. In 1989 the County Government established a working group to precisely demarcate the area and boundaries of the reserve. An ownership certificate was issued to the Forestry Bureau, but due to a lack of clear and permanent landmarks in the inter-tidal zone (and because no border posts were erected) it remains difficult to manage the boundaries of the Reserve. It is therefore proposed that the following actions take place:-

1) The Reserve management office will invite consultants from the State Land Administration to the site to officially demarcate and map the extent and boundaries of the protected area. This will be strictly based on the decision made by the People’s Government of Qiongshan County in 1989.

2) Based on the results of the mapping and demarcation activities, approximately 600 permanent, concrete marker posts will be erected around the reserve boundaries. In areas adjacent to residential areas there will be more marker posts erected. The size of each boundary marker will be 200 x 15 x 15 cm. In appropriate areas steel fencing will be erected.

3) Approximately 100 sign boards with information on the Reserve and its regulations will be erected at sites with high visitor use.

Budget: 350,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

People’s Government of Qiongshan County
Protection Sections of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve and Police Station

Implementation period: 2000-2001

Activity 3: Strengthening organization and capacity of management staff

Organizational structure: The planned levels of staffing and positions for the Reserve are outlined in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Organizational structure of the Reserve management.

Section/Division

Staff Positions

No. of staff

Management Division

Reserve Director

Deputy Director

1

2

Administration Section

Section Chief

Office staff

1

2

Research Section

Section Chief

Deputy Section Chief

Research staff

1

1

3

HQ Protection Section

Section Chief

Deputy Section Chief

Research staff

1

1

3

Protection stations

Tashi Station Director

Tashi protection staff

Sanjiang Station Chief

Sanjiang protection staff

1

3

1

3

Tourism Section

Section Chief

Deputy Section Chief

General staff

1

1

4

Experimental Section

Section Chief

Deputy Section Chief

General staff

1

1

3

Reserve Police Unit

Section Chief

Deputy Section Chief

Policemen

1

1

3

Total

 

40

 In order to build the capacity of the Reserve staff to administer and manage the reserve effectively a number of training and capacity building activities will be undertaken. These are described under Activity 24 below. In addition to this, future staffing appointments and promotions will be based on the following principles:

  1. The staff will be employed for different positions based on their expertise and abilities.

  2. Staff promotions will be based on regular staff examinations and reviews of staff performance.

  3. Staff must demonstrate a sufficient knowledge on nature protection at a level above that needed for the position.

  4. Newly recruited staff should have enthusiasm for nature protection, be willing to work for an extended period and be based on site.

  5. All section chiefs and scientists (researchers) must have education up to the diploma level. Preferred majors will be botany, zoology, ecology and environment sciences. A foreign language is preferred.

  6. The reserve will attempt to provide staff security and increase their knowledge through training and future strategic planning.

Budget: 3,000,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Stations of the Forestry Department of Hainan Province
Administration of Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 4: Strengthening Reserve infrastructure

To increase the effectiveness of current Reserve management and protection practices a number of infrastructure strengthening actions will be undertaken, these include:-

1) Strengthening of infrastructure of Administration of the Nature Reserve, and establishment of Reserve management stations at Tashi and Sanjiang.

2) Procurement of the following communication and patrol equipment: 6 motorcycles, 3 patrol boats, 2 cars and 10 mobile phones.

3) Erect at least one watchtower for every Reserve management station. Each watchtower will allow enhanced protection, serve as a water bird monitoring station and as a fire protection tower. In addition to the existing simple watchtower at Tashi, which requires improvement, additional watchtowers will be constructed at Tashi and Sanjiang.

Budget: 7,452,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Administration of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve
Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve and Police Station

Implementation period: 2000-2002

Activity 5: Reinforcement of Reserve management regulations

1) Revised "Regulations on Management of Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve" will be formulated in accordance with the Forest Law, the Law on Wildlife Protection, and the Regulations on Management of Nature Reserves of Wildlife Type.

2) Strengthening the Reserve Police Station as a reinforcement mechanism. The Police Station plays an important role in protecting the ecological environment and natural resources. The staff of the Police Station have to be trained and equipped with communication and transport facilities.

3) Strict adherence to the existing regulations and laws relating to protection of the ecological environment and natural resources will be ensured. Any transgressors must be dealt with by the Reserve Police Station and Protection Section in accordance with the regulations and laws outlined in 1 above.

4) Strengthening of patrol management. A daily and weekly protocol or schedule for patrolling the Reserve will be developed and implemented. Patrols may be conducted both by walking or using vehicles/boats. Patrol teams will have to report both legal and illegal activities and take prompt action.

5) Regular quarterly inspections will be made. Inspections should be coordinated with seasonal activities such as shellfish production, fishing activity, etc. Each inspection will produce a report analyzing the management problems and make proposals for related measures to be undertaken.

6) Strengthening cooperation with the local security sector, e.g. the Administration of Public Security, the Courts etc. Their support and understanding are of great importance to ensure that appropriate fines and sentences are imposed.

Budget: 50,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Forestry Department of Hainan Province
Administration of Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve Police Station
Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 6: Establishment of Joint Leading Group to oversee Reserve management

In order to enhance management options and involve local community leaders and other stakeholders a Joint Leading Group or Joint Committee for Protection of the Reserve will be established. In addition each Management station will also established a sub-committee. The Joint Leading Group and sub-committees will conduct 2-3 meetings per annum to discuss important issues and set management targets for their management.

Budget: 100,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Forestry Bureau of Qiongshan City
Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Management Target 1.2: To restore mangrove forest in appropriate areas:-

Activity 7: Restoration of the mangrove ecosystem

This activity aims to restore former mangrove areas or degraded mangrove areas through the planting of mangrove seedlings at appropriate sites (e.g. inter-tidal mudflats and scattered forest land). Actions under this activity will include:

1) Previous surveys have shown that there is about 135 ha of potential land and area for mangrove restoration in Daoxuecun village, Sanjiang farm and Sanjiang Chitu. Specific sites within this area will be identified and mapped for restoration. The annual target for planting is 27 ha over a 5 year period.

2) Mangrove species to be used for planting are: B. sexangula, B. gymnorrhiza, B. sexangula var. rhynchopetala, K. candel, S. apetala and A. marina. In the degraded forest fast growing species will be selected for supplementary planting.

3) Planting model: mixed forest planted with B. sexangula, B. gymnorrhiza, B. sexangula var. rhynchopetala, pure forest with K. candel, S. apetala, A. marina. The planting area of each species is shown in Table3.

Table 3: Planting area and seedling size by species

Species

Mixed forest of  B. sexangula, B.gymnorrhiza,B. sexangula var. rhynchopetala

K. candel

A. marina

S. apetala

Area in ha

50

20

20

45

Spacing (in metres)

1 x 1

1 x 0.5

1 x 0.5

1 x 1.5

Seedlings

Vertical hypocotyl

Vertical hypocotyl and 1-2 yr. Seedlings

1-2 yr. seedlings

1-2 yr. Seedlings

4) Establishment of 2 ha nursery with annual production capacity of 300,000 seedlings including 100,000 seedlings for commercial sale. Nursery technicians will require appropriate training.

5) Monitoring sample plot will be set up for measuring the growth of planted mangroves.

Budget: 722,500 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve
Experimental farm of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Management Target 1.3: To expand area of mangroves through planting:-

Activity 8: To prevent erosion of mangroves through planting of fast growing species and increase area of rare mangrove species

In both land ward and intertidal areas within the extensive use zone where erosion is a problem fast growing mangrove species such as S. apetala and A. marina will be planted. The rare mangrove species S. hainanensis, S. alba, S. ovata, S. paracaseolaris, N. fruticans, L. littorea and X. granatum will also be planted in these areas. The proposed area and spacing of these species are provided in Table 4.

Table 4. Planting area and seedling size by species

Species

Avicennia marina

Sonneratia apetala

Rare species

Area in ha

20

10

40

Spacing in m

1 x 0.5

1 x 1.5

-

Seedlings

1-2 yr. seedlings

1-2 yr. Seedlings

-

Budget: 245,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve
Experimental Farm of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Management Target 1.4: To increase economic benefits within the reserve:

Activity 9: Development of sustainable ecotourism based on mangrove forest resource

Mangroves provide an interesting and unique resource to promote tourism, and particularly ecotourism. They provide many environmental education opportunities as well as a supply of handicraft products and fresh produce for sea food restaurants and hotels. Dongzhaigang has the further advantage of being easily accessible, located only 30 km from Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province.

The rationale for tourist development at Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve will adhere to the principles outlined under Activity 1 relating to zonation within the Reserve. That is, the core zone will be totally protected from human disturbance and exploitation and that the main theme for tourism will be the promotion of ecological awareness and conservation of natural resources. As such, the future Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve will be an integrated ecotourism area combining research, education and tourism.

Actions under this activity will include:

1) A carrying capacity analysis will be conducted to calculate how many visitors the reserve can accommodate.

2) Identification and establishment of boating routes and nature trails though the mangroves. Preliminary proposals suggest a route from Yanfeng to Management Station to Xiutian Island to Sanjiangwan and back. The boat trail will be 40 km.

3) Construction of ecotourist facilities. These include hides and towers for nature and bird watching, tour boats, watching pavilion, pier, boat jetty and walking paths.

4) Training of tourist guides 10 person and development of information sheets for visitors.

Management of tour operations

To ensure sustainability and adherence to the principles of ecotourism the following actions will be undertaken:-

  • Development and implementation of "Regulations for Tourism within the Reserve". The Regulations must be followed by all tourist operators wishing to operate inside the Reserve. The Regulations will also provide management procedures and mandates for the responsible management units;

  • Training of managerial staff in charge of tourism management;

  • Increased patrolling to prevent negative impacts on natural resources and ecosystems within the tourist zones of the reserve;

  • Improvements in the treatment of wastewater, sewerage and garbage in and adjacent to the Reserve. The us e of fuel and oil will be restricted and boats will be required to use battery power (or manual operation).

  • An awareness building programme to promote a clean environment and proper sanitation will be implemented.

Budget: 2,570,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Tourism Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2002

Activity 10: Promotion of community development in and around protected area

Following the establishment of the Reserve the economic development of local communities has been limited, due mostly to restrictions on land development and harvesting/fisheries activities. As a result local incomes have decreased. This has led to conflicts between the Reserve management authorities and the local communities.

In order to provide local communities with incentives to conserve the area and its resources, it is important to develop additional economic benefits from the mangroves and to involve the local communities in management decisions. The following actions are planned:-

1) Enrichment planting within the mangroves will provide local communities with the benefits of an improved ecological environment leading to increased production of fish, crabs, oysters and shrimps.

2) Technical assistance will be provided to rural households to improve agricultural techniques, promote sustainability on shellfish production and aquaculture, provide judicial assistance, education and dissemination of knowledge on environmental protection and sanitation.

3) Participation of local people in services related to ecotourism will be encouraged to provide direct benefits to local communities. These activities can reduce pressures on wetlands, and also promote development of the local economy.

4) Cage culture trials for marine resources (fish, shrimps, crabs and oysters) will be conducted in the extensive use zone. Positive results of such trials will increase income of local people and significantly reduce the pressure on the core zone.

5)     Development of small-scale mangrove cash crops such as species of medicinal value and timber value, will provide economic incentives for local communities.

Budget: 1,000,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Experimental Farm of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-20004

Management Target 1.5: To strengthen research on mangrove ecosystems:-

Activity 11: Undertake applied and targeted research on mangrove ecosystems to benefit Reserve management

The proposed research fields will include:-

  • Quantification of ecological, social and economic benefits generated by mangrove in the Reserve;

  • Productivity of the mangrove wetland ecosystem;

  • Ecological monitoring of the mangrove wetland ecosystem.

Budget: 500,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Operational Objective 2: To maintain and enhance conservation of biodiversity and important species

Management Target 2.1: To conserve and increase rare or endangered species populations:-

Activity 12: Strengthening protection of rare bird species

Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve supports small populations of globally threatened bird species such as black-faced spoonbill, Saunders' gull and Chinese egret. These and other important species use the reserve during the migration and wintering periods. They do not breed at the Reserve. Annual monitoring over the last decade has recorded a slow but significant decrease in the numbers of these birds using the Reserve each winter. It is therefore a management priority to arrest this decline and provide suitable conditions for populations to increase in the future.

Actions identified under this activity include:

1) Identification of the main habitats/feeding areas of the endangered bird species;

2) Habitat management to ensure that habitat functions remain stable;

3) Creation of seasonal "exclusion zones" to prevent human incursions and disturbance into these areas at important times (November to March). Strict enforcement and punishment for those who poach endangered bird species in accordance with the regulations and laws.

4) Strengthened protection for shorebird roost sites during the high tidal periods. Because many shorebirds roost in areas adjacent to, but outside, the Reserve (in salt pans and fish ponds) it will be necessary to establish a buffer zone. The buffer zone should include important, traditional roost sites and its management must include local awareness building activities.

5) Establish a bird monitoring centre to study bird movements and behavior in response to Reserve management.

6) Join international conservation cooperation projects, such as East Asia- Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network.

Budget: 600,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 13: Increased protection of rare and endangered mangrove species

Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve supports several rare and restricted range mangrove species for China. Protection of these species will be enhanced through the following actions:-

1) Enrichment planting of these species in on-going mangrove restoration programmes (see Activities 7 and 8);

2) Strengthened protection and management of areas where these species occur;

3) Monitoring the state of growth and propagation of these species;

4) Establishment of a conservation and research centre for mangrove genetic resources and strengthening of research on ecology of mangroves in Hainan;

5) Research on genetic variation of important and endangered mangrove species to prevent species loss and habitat degradation.

Budget: 500,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Section and Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 14: Protection of endangered mammals

The endemic sub-species of common otter Lutra lutra hainana is reported at Dongzhaigang. Increased protection and research into this species will take place, including daily monitoring, enhanced patrolling activities and conservation of their habitats.

Budget: 100,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Section and Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Management Target 2.2: To survey and monitor natural resources:

Activity 15: Baseline survey of resources in the reserve

Despite considerable national and international interest in the mangrove ecosystem at Dongzhaigang there has never been a comprehensive baseline survey to establish the true important of the area for biodiversity. Most data relates to the mangrove vegetation species and communities present, there is also some data on the seasonally occurring birds. However very little is known about the inter-tidal benthic communities, the fish fauna, mammals, reptiles and the non-mangrove vegetation (particularly phytoplankton, sea grasses, algae, etc). Virtually nothing is known about the population sizes, seasonal occurrences, ecological requirements and interactions of these species and communities. As a result, management decisions have historically been based on guesswork rather than data. For future management to have a scientific and ecological basis it is essential that a strong baseline survey of these resources is carried out and is available as the basis for future ecological management decisions. Actions under this activity include:-

1) Identification of gaps in data on biodiversity and natural resources (this management plan will provide the basis for the gap analysis);

2) Design and implementation of baseline surveys of biodiversity and natural resources;

3) Training for Research Section staff in methods of biodiversity survey and monitoring;

4) Development of a Dongzhaigang Biodiversity Database as a basis for management decisions (see also Activities 16 and 17).

Budget: 582,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research and Protection Sections of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2002

Activity 16: Establishment of an ecological monitoring programme

Ecological monitoring can provide up-to-date information about the status and quality of the environment and biodiversity within the Reserve. Monitoring also helps us to understand change and can be used to design management strategies to prevent degradation of ecological systems and the species they support. Actions to be undertaken include:

1) A comprehensive ecological monitoring programme will be designed. The following environmental factors will be included:

a) Biodiversity: including species, quantity, biomass (outputs) and structure of the mangrove vegetation, birds (with an emphasis on water birds), insects, mammals, reptiles, bottom fauna and plankton.

b) Chemical-physical environment: including quality of water (DO, COD and BOD5, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, copper, lead, zinc, cadmium, mercury and petroleum, etc ), soil properties, change of tidal level and weather factors (light, temperature, rainfall and disastrous weather).

c) Ecological conditions: including changes in area of mangroves (and of different species), mudflats, water (low tidal), navigation routes, fishponds, farmland, and marginal forest and adjacent developments (houses/residential areas, highways, and commercial areas), local population.

2) Ecological monitoring will be conducted every 3 years, but each year only one of above-mentioned 3 factors will be monitored. As such there will be a continuous monitoring programme annually.

3) The following methodology for monitoring is proposed:-

a) Fixed monitoring stations: The fixed ecological monitoring stations of different types will make the data obtained comparable and sequential.

b) Fixed time monitoring: The items for measurement will be monitored in fixed time, as such the results obtained during the monitoring are comparable with that of last monitoring.

c) A combination of desk survey, field survey and laboratory analysis.

d) Remote sensing and GIS will be applied in dynamic monitoring of mangrove resources.

Budget: 800,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004 and beyond.

Activity 17: Developing a Dongzhaigang Biodiversity Database

A database of biodiversity found within the Reserve will be established and updated regularly. The database will be established as a storage and decision-making tools for future Reserve management and monitoring programmes.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2002

Management Target 2.3: To ensure wise use of biological resources in the Reserve:

Activity 18: Wise use of marine and inter-tidal resources

The reserve is intensively used for fishing and culture of shellfish by locals. It is unknown whether current levels of harvesting and culture are sustainable or not. With increasing human populations and development pressure around the Reserve it is likely that these activities will increase, and as a result become even less sustainable than at present. It is therefore essential for the Reserve management authorities to work with local communities and cooperatives to ensure that inter-tidal resources are used sustainably. The following actions are planned:

1) "Regulations on Fishing and Mari-culture within the Reserve" will be developed in collaboration with local communities and co-operatives.

2) Based on these Regulations, the Reserve management authority, in collaboration with local government, will issue licenses for fishing, inter-tidal resource harvesting and mari-culture and collect appropriate management fees.

3) An intensive survey of current fishing, harvesting and mari-culture practices will be undertaken to determine a suitable fishing quota system. The quota system will limit the number of fishing boats allowed in the Reserve, numbers of fishermen issued with licenses and the quantity of fish and shellfish landings. The system will also stipulate the time, instruments and method of fishing. Any kind of fishing methods containing explosives, electricity, poisoning and other illegal means are forbidden.

4) In coordination with the Provincial Fishery Department the Reserve management authority will strictly follow regulations related to timing, zoning and fishing quotas. Illegal fishing will be deterred and punished.

Budget: 100,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve
Reserve Police Station

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 19: Development of medicinal plant resources

To enhance opportunities for local communities and individuals, mangrove medicinal plants such as A. ilicifolius, A. marina and B. sexangula will be cultivated for research and utilization.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Experimental Farm of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2002-2003

Management Target 2.4: To strengthen applied research into endangered species:

Activity 20: Develop and implement an applied research programme for endangered species conservation

Urgent management action is required to prevent further declines and extinction of populations of rare and endangered species at Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve. To combat this possibility an applied research programme targeting rare species conservation will be developed and implemented. This will include the following actions:

1) Development of Action Plans for endangered bird species (black-faced spoonbill, Chinese egret and white spoonbill and Saunders' gull);

2) Development of Action Plans for rare mangrove plant species (S. hainanensis, S. ovata, S. paracaseolaris, L. littorea, N. fruticans, X. granatum);

3) Experiments on propagation of endangered and economically important mangrove species;

4) Experiments on culture of marine shellfish of high economic value;

5) Experiments on development and utilization of medicinal plants like A. ilicifolius, A. marina and B. sexangula.

Budget: 500,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section of the Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Operational Objective 3: To promote awareness building and public education

Management Target 3.1: To raise public awareness on the values of mangrove and biodiversity:-

Activity 21: Increase public education and outreach to local communities

Public awareness and education are important tools to harmonize interests between different stakeholders and to coordinate relationships between long-term and short-term interests. Education and awareness building should therefore be as diversified as possible. The following actions are planned:-

1) Public awareness activities focussed on mangroves, biodiversity and natural resources conservation will be conducted in conjunction with National Tree Planting Day, World Wetlands Day, World Environment Day and other such events.

2) Information boards and posters on the protection of the mangroves and resources at Dongzhaigang will be erected along the Reserve boundaries, at strategic locations used by visitors and in local communities adjoining the Reserve.

3) Community outreach programmes will focus on encouraging citizens to participate in formulation of a set of Common Obligations for Communities using Dongzhaigang. Those who strictly follow the Common Obligations, regulations and laws shall be awarded once a year. Through such schemes it is hoped that environmental protection will become a new community custom.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Activity 22: Increase environmental education to local schools and children

The following outreach activities will take place in local schools and community centres:-

1) Schools and kindergartens will be invited to organize pupils to visit the reserve and Nature Interpretation Centre.

2) Pupils will be organized to spend their vacation in summer camps, where they will learn new knowledge about nature, observe and conduct small experiments. They will also participate in competitions involving report writing , composition and nature diaries.

3) Each year lectures and small exhibitions will be organized in the middle and primary schools.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Information Centre of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Management Target 3.2: To promote environmental awareness through mangrove-based ecotourism:

Activity 23: Promotion of awareness through ecotourism

A programme of on-site public awareness will be targeted towards visitors and tourists. This will consist of the following actions:

1) Booklets and posters on nature conservation will be printed and distributed to visitors/tourists.

2) A Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) will be established. The main aim of the NIC will be to disseminate knowledge and information about nature, wetlands, birds and mangroves through posters, displays and interactive tools.

3) Eye-catching signs and exhibits will be erected in the protection zones and tourist zones of the Reserve.

Budget: 1,100,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Information Centre of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Information period: 2001-2004

Management Target 3.3: To strengthen management capacity of Reserve staff:

Activity 24: Strengthening of staff training

Staff training is currently inadequate and unfocussed. The aim of the management authority is to raise training standards amongst staff at all levels and to raise morale and ownership of the reserve and its resources. A new staff motto "The Reserve is my Home" will be adopted and used by all staff.

The Reserve management authority will organize training courses of various types. The proposed content of the training will be based on a comprehensive training needs analysis. The following contents are envisaged: administrative management, public security, law reinforcement, bird protection, mangrove protection, environmental monitoring, biodiversity monitoring, tourism management, techniques of mari-culture, breeding and propagation of rare and endangered species of mangrove. It is believed that staff after training will have more scientific knowledge and improved capacity to manage the reserve. The following types of training are proposed:-

1) Long-term training: Every year, two management and research staff will attend Sun Yat Sen University and Hainan University for 1 year. Total of 10 persons will be trained. The Course will be Nature Reserve Management, Nature Resources Monitoring, Animal (Waterbird) Ecology, Database Management, etc. After one year training, these staff will have good knowledge to deal with different management and conservation work.

2) Short-term training: These will be based on-site, twice a year the Reserve management authority will arrange a one-week training courses for 20 participants. Resource personnel will consist of both reserve managers and invited specialists. Total of 200 people will be trained over 5 years.

3) Overseas training: The Reserve management authority aim to 3 key management personnel persons abroad for a 3-month training course (to be identified).

Budget: 750,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Administration office of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Operational Objective 4: To maintain and enhance protection and wise use of the mudflat resources

Activity 25: Scientific planning and management of inter-tidal mudflat resources

It is very important to plan rationally for the conservation of priority species at Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve. Historically the Reserve management authority has focussed on mangrove planting to increase the area of mangrove forest. However this policy also certainly means that there is less inter-tidal sand- and mudflats for both local fisheries and culture and for rare bird species using these areas in winter. Conflicting management options such as these will be addressed with the following actions:

1) Important bird areas within the inter-tidal zone will be identified. These areas will be managed as exclusion zones where human disturbances will be minimized and no mangrove planting will take place.

2) There should be equal priority given to the conservation of water birds as to the protection and restoration of mangroves. Once factors affecting water bird movements and feeding ecology are better understood the reserve management authority will ensure that a rational proportion of the Reserve is maintained in the appropriate state for their needs.

Budget: 100,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Research Section and the Experimental Station of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2004

Operational Objective 5: To maintain water resources and control pollutants

Activity 26: Controlling point-source of land based pollutants in the Reserve catchment

In cooperation with the Provincial Environmental Protection Agency the sources of all land based pollutants will be identified. Once identified the EPA will prohibit further discharge of pollutants from these sources into the Reserve catchment. The reserve management authority will ensure that farming of chicken, ducks, pigs, cattle and sheep will not be allowed within the Reserve. Disposal systems for locally generated garbage and pollutants will be implemented.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Experimental Station of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2000-2001

Activity 27: Controlling potential polluting impacts of tourism

Development of tourism and ecotourism activities may impact the Reserve in several ways.

1) Tourists will need to be educated against throwing their garbage into the river or along the roadside and against defecating and urinating beside the road or amongst the trees.

2) A sufficient number of garbage bins will be placed in tour boats and along the tourist routes/walking paths.

3) Toilet facilities will be provided at the main tourist spots and a small fee for their use will be charged to ensure cleanliness.

4) During the more intensive tourist seasons (e.g., Spring Festival) the Reserve staff will clean up pollutants more frequently.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Tourism Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2001-2002

Activity 28: Controlling oil pollution caused by boats

Tourist boats will be electric and / or oar driven. Noisy and polluting oil and diesel engines will be phased out and replaced by environmentally-clean engines. Licenses for tourist boat operators will only be approved following their adoption of the regulations. Operators found flouting the regulations and / or polluting the environment will have their operating license revoked.

Budget: 200,000 RMB

Implementation responsibility:

Protection Section of the Dongzhaigang Nature Reserve

Implementation period: 2001-2002

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File 1
Prefatory
Chapter 1

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File 2
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

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File 3
Chapters 4 & 5
Appendices

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