Update on training project at Dongzhaigang Ramsar site, China

18/04/1998

[Note: This article is reprinted with permission from the forthcoming issue of Newsletter for Wetlands, issue no. 3 (1998), produced by the China Programme of Wetlands International, edited by Chen Kelin and colleagues in Beijing (fax +86 10 6237 7031, e-mail klchen@202.96.0.97). -- Web Editor.]

Update on Ramsar Funded Project for Management Planning at Dongzhaigang N.N.R, Hainan, China

By John Howes, Wetlands International-Asia Pacific

Introductionwi-logo.gif (2676 bytes)

In March 1997, staff of Wetlands International visited Dongzhaigang N.N.R. to assess the status of the mangrove resources and their management and to conduct a preliminary training needs analysis. As a result, a Ramsar Small Grant Fund application was developed in conjunction with the reserve manager (Mr Zheng Xinren) and Forestry Bureau of Hainan Division Chief (Mr Yun Daxing). In September 1997 the SGF proposal was approved by the Ramsar Convention Bureau and work on compiling management information and data commenced in early 1998. This paper provides an overview of project progress to date and reports specifically on the first management planning workshop held on site from 31 March to 4 April 1998.

Background

Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve, Hainan Province, is one of only seven Ramsar sites in China. It is situated approximately 30 km east of Haikou City in Qiongshan County, northern Hainan.

The importance of the mangrove forests and intertidal wetlands of Dongzhaigang for biodiversity were first recognised in the late 1970s. The area was designated as a Provincial Nature Reserve in 1980 and in 1986 was upgraded to a National Nature Reserve. In March 1992 the site was accorded Ramsar status. The Ramsar site covers 5,400 ha. of which 2,065 ha. is mangrove forest and the remainder intertidal sandflats and shallow open water lagoons.

Dongzhaigang is the best and perhaps largest remaining contiguous area of mature mangrove forest in China and is of primary importance for wintering and migrating waterbirds. These include the "Critically Endangered" black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor), and the "Threatened" Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes) and Saunders' gull (Larus saundersi) (Scott, 1989; IUCN, 1996). The area also provides an important resource for 4,122 families living around the Bay in the form of fisheries, shellfish collection and fuelwood supply. In addition, eco-tourism associated with the Ramsar site provides employment for local boat operators, tour guides and forestry department staff, as well as opportunities for locals to establish food outlets and hotels. The mangroves also provide a coastal protection function in an area that suffers from annual typhoons.

Project objectives

Using the Ramsar Convention Operational Objectives as a guide, this project aims to:

  • Build the capacity of the Forestry Bureau of Hainan to develop and achieve conservation and wise-use at Dongzhaigang N.N.R. through training, community outreach and local participation (Operational Objective 4.1).
  • Provide staff training in management planning and wise-use concepts (Operational Objective 4.2).
  • Assist with the development of a 5-year management plan and identification of budget requirements consistent with Ramsar’s "Guidelines on Management Planning" (Operational Objective 5.2).
  • Encourage and facilitate community participation in wise-use and protection (Operational Objective 2.7) through increased education and public awareness (Operational Objective 3.2).
  • Update the information base on Dongzhaigang in accordance with the approved Ramsar Convention standard format (Operational Objective 5.3).

Progress

During 4 days in late March and early April 1998, staff of the Forestry Bureau of Hainan, Wetlands International and the Bureau of Forestry Beijing came together as a working group to formulate a draft management plan for Dongzhaigang N.N.R. In addition representatives from the local communities and a Technical Expert from Zhongshan University, Guangdong, were invited.

During the workshop, the group used the Ramsar Guidelines on Management Planning to formulate an outline plan for the site. Five broad management objectives and a series of sub-objectives were formulated. These are outlined below. The necessary activities/management prescriptions to meet the objectives were also drafted and these will be fine-tuned over the coming months.

Management Framework

Management Objective 1: Maintain and enhance mangrove forest ecosystem.

1.1 Restore mangrove ecosystem in appropriate areas identified for restoration.
1.2 Increase area of mangrove forest through establishment of plantation forests.
1.3 Maintain and protect mangrove forests in their current state through non-destructive forestry, natural development and restoration of damaged areas.
1.4 Increase the economic benefits for local communities derived from the mangrove forest.
1.5 Promote research into mangrove forest ecosystem.

Management Objective 2: Maintain and enhance conservation of biodiversity.

2.1 Protect and increase populations of rare species of plant and animal (particularly P. minor, L. saundersi, E. eulophotes and Sonneratia hainanensis)
2.2 Maintain populations and current levels of biodiversity.
2.3 Ensure the wise (sustainable) use of all biological resources.
2.4 Maintain and update natural resource inventory for the area.
2.5 Promote research into conservation of rare species.

Management Objective 3: Promote education and raise awareness of mangrove forest ecosystem.

3.1 Increase public awareness of mangrove and biodiversity values.
3.2 Incease capacity of protected area staff to provide extension of awareness and education to the community.
3.3 Increase eco-tourist visitor numbers.
3.4 Promote awareness of protected area laws and boundaries.

Management Objective 4: Maintain and enhance intertidal ecosystems such as mud- and sandflats

4.1 Ensure the wise (sustainable) use of intertidal mudflats through community participation in formulation of wise use guidelines.
4.2 Promote awareness of waterbird conservation through establishment of human exclusion zones.

Management Objective 5: Maintain water quality and control pollutant sources.

5.1 Control land based point source pollution from pig, chicken and duck farming operations.
5.2 Control pollution from tourism.
5.3 Control oil pollution.

Before the end of 1998 a first draft of a management plan for Dongzhaigang Ramsar site will be completed by the working group. This will then be discussed and further fine-tuned at a workshop at the site in late 1998. It is hoped that the current Ramsar-funded initiative will provide other mangrove protected areas in China with a model management tool. In addition it is envisaged that mangrove managers from protected areas in Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong SAR and Fujian will be trained in management planning techniques at a final project workshop. A long-term output of the project could be the formation of a "South China mangrove management network" connecting protected area agencies, communities and other players through information exchange, technology transfer and inter-site project development.

References

  • Hainan Forestry Bureau. 1996. Report on the Dongzhaigang National Nature Reserve. Hainan Forestry Bureau, Haikou.
  • IUCN, 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
  • Scott, D.A. 1989. A Directory of Asian Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
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