News of China's wetlands, January 2002


An update on news about China's wetlands

-- reported by Li Lukang, Wetlands International (
10 January 2002 (see also

A Glance on Biodiversity of "Three River Origin Area"

Qinghai Province is a very important province in terms of environment improvement, because great rivers like Yangtze River, Yellow River, Lancanjiang River (upper reaches of Mekong River) and Heihe River have their origin in this province. Therefore environment changes in the river origin may have important impact on China as well as on Asia. With climate warming and development of economy of this region, the wetland area has been reduced significantly. A survey indicates that snow line has been raised by 50 m and glacier shrunk by 500-1000 m and wetland are reduced by 18%. The survey also indicates that 67 species have been identified as threatened or endangered. In order to improve eco-environment of this region the author puts forward his suggestions as to: (1) formulate and implement policy and regulations on management of nature reserves; (2) establish a complete network of nature reserves; (3) establish new nature reserves, including 10 national level nature reserves with an area of 822.9 km2. (Han Yongrong, Water Resources Department of Qinghai Province)

To Conserve Wetlands in Favour of Tianjin Developmant

Tianjin municipality is located in seashore of Bohai Sea with wetland area of 245,960 ha, taking 22% of total territory of Tianjin. Tianjin has many types of wetlands including riverine wetland, lake, marsh, meadow, saltern, paddy rice, etc. There is a rich biodiversity in wetlands, e.g. some 1000 species are recorded including 120 bird species. Wetlands are very important for Tianjin development. However, the area of wetland has been reduced significantly from 530,000 ha to 240,000 ha. The major threats are reclamation, climate change, pollution, dams construction and urbanization. The author puts forward the suggestions as (1) Enhance awareness building, (2) Promulgate appropriate policy/regulations, (3) Establish an effective mechanism of wetland management, (4) Strengthen enforcement of wetland related policy, (5) Ecological balance has to be an important component of urban construction, (6) Develop eco-tourism, (7) Further improve eco-environment of surrounding area of Tianjin and (8) Pay attention to international cooperation.(Xu Ning)

Beijing Rescue Centre of Raptors Established

Recently Beijing Rescue Centre of Raptors is declared open in December 14 of 2001 with assistance of IFAW. Beijing municipality being one of the important range areas of raptors is located in the migration flyway. Due to decreased habitats and applied fertilizers and chemicals in farmland a good number of raptors are injured or unable continue their further flight. In addition the raptors are suffering from illegal hunting. Every year a lot of raptors need medical aid and recovery. In order to raise public awareness on care for raptors and search for experiences of helping raptors in their migration Beijing Normal University with assistance of IFAW has built a Centre for rescuing raptors. The Centre has its court of 500 m2 including a building. The Centre has 3 functional zones: Zone of Cages, Administration Zone and Functional Zone. Based on the facilities the Centre is open for Falconiformes and Strigiformes. Under arrangement of IFAW some technical exchanges among Chinese and foreign experts are made. The emergency telephone number of the Centre is 62205666.

Rare Species of Caohai Wetland

Caohai National Nature Reserve is a plateau fresh water lake. There are many protected wildlife species. The high value of the reserve is expressed in having many rare and valuable species. In terms of ancient species Caohai had some unique species. A new species of frog has been found in Caohai. Tylototriton kweichowensis is a very rare species found here. With regard to birds the reserve has 182 species, including the species of Grade I of national protection, like Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), White stork (Ciconia ciconia) Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) etc. Caohai wetland is one of the ten best famous birdwatching sites in the world. Regarding the flora caohai has a species left from tertiary. A dozen of Rhododendron species grow well in the surrounding area. (Chen Zhende Administration of Caohai National Nature Reserve, Guizhou Province)

Instructions on Management of Hengshuihu Lake Given by Ma Fu, Vice Administrator of SFA

Recently Mr. Ma Fu, vice administrator paid a visit to Hengshuihu Lake Nature Reserve. He gave the following instructions: (1) Formulate a development plan of the reserve, which should be coincided with the principles of Ramsar Convention; (2) Strengthen pollution control of reserve wetland; (3) Make efforts to promote the reserve to national level; (4) Improve community involved co-management of wetland.

Honghu Wetland Nature Reserve Stepping up

Honghu Wetland Nature Reserve is the first wetland type nature reserve in Hubei Province. The reserve is featured by well-preserved wetland and unique ecosystem. It is also an important habitat for migrants. Recently the Administration of the reserve under leadership of government of Honghu City with synergy of related sectors including forestry, fishery, police, environment protection, has taken measures to strengthen management of the reserve. The major measures are: (1) Strengthen public awareness education. In October, for instance, distributed 2000 copies of brochures and 10 times of moveable exhibitions; (2) Educate tourists through tourism sector; (3) Involve community in management of wetland through local NGO; (4) Strengthen law enforcement. The reserve has formulated a Master Plan of Honghu Lake Nature Reserve 2001-2010. (Lu Shan, Honghu Wetland Nature Reserve of Hubei Province)

Conversazione on Management of Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve

Since 1980's the Administration of the reserve had convened annual joint meeting of 4 related counties on management of wintering birds. In view of not including root level people the administration decided to convene conversazione in each county separately. In this way village level people have chance to participate in a meeting. For example, in last August a conversazione was conducted in Yongxiu County to discuss management of core zone of the reserve - Dahu Lake. In 17 October a conversazione was conducted in Xinjian County and another conversazione was organized in Xingzi County in 24 October 2001. All related villages had their representatives attending the meeting. The results are very satisfactory.

Mr. Zhuang Yanping - A Photographer Keen on Wetland

Abstracts: Mr. Zhuang Yanping is known for all citizens in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. Since childhood Mr. Zhuang has been keen for art. In 1979 he as a military man loved art of photography. After demobilization in 1985 he become a photographer, and in 1990 he was under guidance under Mr. Jin Meilun. He was trained at the Photographic Research Centre of Chinese Academy of Arts in 1991. During the training he met famous Hong Kong photographers Mr. Chen Fuli and Ms Wang Miao and got benefits from them. Since then he has dedicated all his time and money for this art. Occasionally he visited Sanjiang Plain wetland and got very deep impression, and he realized that wetlands that play important role in flood control, climate adjustment and decomposition of pollutants now are facing threats. He decided to raise public awareness on wetlands by displaying his photographs. He pays his visit to wetland every month and he feels that wetland can purify his spirit. He said that he would never forget an old man who drawn him from swamp, and appreciated assistance provided by staff of the reserve. His photographic works have won many awards. He has a wish that a day will come when his photographs will be displayed in Beijing and an album "Scenic Sanjiang Plain" will be published. (provided by Gu Zhanjiang, Jiamusi Daily)

A Preliminary Analysis on Problems and Solutions of Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve

This reserve, located in eastern part of Chongming Island, was created in November 1998 with total area of 326 km2, in which wetland takes 145 km2. Dongtan of island is a mudflat wetland and it now become an important habitat for migrants. It has reached criteria of international importance set by Ramsar Convention on Wetland. The records show that Dongtan has 109 bird species and nearly one million birds per annum. Once the site of Dongtan had 3000-3500 Whistling swans. About 120 Hooded cranes were wintering here in the past 5 years. In 1999 the reserve become a member of the East Asian - Australasian Shorebird Site Network. It is also listed in the National Wetland Conservation Action Plan for China as a wetland of national importance published in 2001. According the master plan most of infrastructure works have been finished. Now reserve is threatened by many factors. The major threats are: (1) Uncontrolled reclamation of wetland has caused rapid loss of habitat for migrants. The population of Whistling swan has decreased from 3500 to 51, and White-naped crane has disappeared. (2) Overtaking biological resources, especially catching young eel and crab during period December - April when thousands fishing boats are gathered around Dongtan that makes bird wintering impossible. (3) Multi-sectorial management makes reserve difficult in controlling unplanned production activities. (4) Illegal hunting and fishing and over-grazing. In order to implement mater plan the administration of the reserve puts forward the following solutions: (1) Both central and local government promulgate a legally binding regulation on wetland conservation. (2) Establish efficient coordination mechanism, covering at least sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishery, oceania, environment protection and development companies. (3) Formulate a policy that supports co-management with local community. (4) Formulate and operate a mechanism of compensation of ecological balance. (5) Strengthen awareness education through means of Internet, TV, broadcasting and news media. (Tang Chengdong, Administration of Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve, Shanghai Municipality)

Water Resources and Wetland Conservation in China

Wetlands have many functions in favour of human life and production. Destruction of wetlands may bring to human a harmful impacts. The floods that took place in 1998 showed us that human must be in a harmony with wetlands. China is a country with limited water resources. The average volume of water per capita of China is only 2300 m3 that takes one fourth of the average of the world. Since 1949 when People's Republic of China was found, some 80,000 reservoir have been built, thus formed a water area of 2 million ha as an artificial wetland. However, water shortage is still in existence in China. Furthermore, pollution has become a headache problem. Ministry of Water Resources has dealt with above mentioned problems and achieved progresses, which are summarized as (1) 7 programmes for flood control have been formulated; (2) Formulation of Programme of Water Conservancy of 7 river basins is underway; (3) National Network of Monitoring of Water Environment is established; (4) Water and soil erosion control has been strengthened. By end of 1999 some 830,000 km2 of eroded land has been brought into control; (5) Asian Development Bank assisted project of a research on strategy of water industry in China is completed, and a new project of flood control and management of biodiversity of wetlands of Nenjiang River and Songhuajiang River is started. (6) A feasibility research project of water transfer in China has been initiated.

Although China is suffered from shortage of water, however the limited water resources have been used unwisely. The volume of water reused after treatment takes only 0.34% of the total water supplied. The lake of Lop Nur had 1900 km2 in 1931, but it reduced to 600 km2, and dried up in 1970's due to overusing water in upper reaches of Tarim River. Pollution remained unsolved. Water-related project ignored its negative impact on ecological environment. The author put his suggestions as (1) to perfect wetland related law and regulations and strengthen enforcement; (2) to raise public awareness on the value of wetlands through multiform means; (3) undertake research on wetland management and conservation and demonstration projects. (Tian Zhujun and Liu Ping, Ministry of Water Resources)

A Survey of Bird Market in Xi'an City

A survey team consisting of 5 members made a survey of bird market in Xi'an City during period 18 October - 8 November 2001. The bird market, situated in Cangbai Lane, was created in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 A.D.), and operates every Thursday and Sunday. The sellers are mountain farmers and retired persons. The buyers are retired persons and youth. 95% of traded birds are wild and the rest 5% are artificial bred. The results of the survey show that among trading birds were protected species like owl, goshawk etc. The quantity of traded birds was very big. For example, our survey on 4 November showed that total traded birds amounted to 1243. It is estimated that total number of traded birds in one year amounts to about 100,000. In addition one birdcage contains too many birds that often causes death of birds. The price of birds was varying with species. But we found that in most cases one bird costed only RMB?1 (US$0.12). We wonder, whether it is an ecological value of one bird? We strongly suggest that government strengthen enforcement and control illegal selling of protected bird species. Raising public awareness on importance of wildlife protection, especially ecological value of birds is equally important.

Bird Watching in Yancheng

Late autumn and winter are the best season for bird watching. Yancheng Biosphere Reserve, located in downstream of Huai River with coast of 582 km and 453,000 ha, is the biggest mudflat wetland reserve in China. The multiple types of wetland provide good conditions for birds, in particular waterbirds. The reserve is the biggest habitat for Red-crown crane. There is a watching pavilion in the reserve, constructed for bird watchers. The reserve has a large area of natural and artificial wetlands; therefore people call it a paradise of birds. It is easy to find out Red-crown crane, Common crane, White stork and Black stork in shallow water area. Everywhere in the reserve are ducks, geese and gulls. A large group of Ashy starling flies back to forest at dusk after field feeding. Its maximum number reached 90,000. In short, Yancheng Biosphere Reserve is a world of birds! (Lu Shicheng)

Brief Account of GEF Project Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China

The GEF project of Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China was signed in 12 June of 1999 and become operational in 18 July 2000. The project will remove barriers at four representative but different sites with high global biodiversity importance (Sanjiang Plain, Ruoergai Marshes, Yancheng Coast and Dongting Lakes). A national coordination component will also ensure that lessons learned from this project will be appropriately transferred to other wetlands in China. To complement the protection of biodiversity, the project will work with local communities to develop improved, sustainable livelihoods and alleviate poverty in and around the wetland areas. GEF support will be closely allied with new Government programmes that conserve biodiversity, ensure locally sustainable development and relieve future flooding events. The Project has 4 sub-projects: sub-project 1 is "Demonstrating biodiversity friendly land use planning through preparation of biodiversity overlays"; sub-project 2 is "Public awareness, environmental education and outreach in wetland areas"; sub-project 3 is "restoring and managing the Honghe NNR hydrology"; and sub-project 4 is "developing alternative livelihood schemes for local communities in and around wetlands". Wetlands international-China is responsible for implementation of sub-project 2. (WI-China)

A big Mangrove Nature Reserve will be established In Hepu, Guangxi Region of China

Guangxi Autonomous Region will establish a biggest in this region Nature Reserve with aim to reserve mangrove. The reserve is located in Hepu County with an area of 1684 ha, including 817 ha of mangrove. The reserve will cover 3 townships: Dangjiang, Xichang and Shagang. (Guangxi Daily)

A pilot wetland site of Yangtze River will be established

A pilot wetland site of Yangtze River will be established with financial assistance from WWF-China (RMB200,000 or US$24,400). The pilot project is located in Qijiayuan Township that suffered seriously from flood in 1998. About 2000 villagers were forced to leave their homestead. In 2000 WWF-China started a project in this township with an aim to demonstrate a model how to development a disaster-free agriculture that can increase vegetation cover and decrease soil and water erosion. (Hubei Daily)

A New Wetland Monitoring and Conservation Centre Established in Yinchuan

Yinchuan City, the capital of Ningxia Autonomous Region, is located in middle reaches o Yellow River. The wetland resources of this area are featured by naturalness, rich diversity and typicalness. The total area of wetlands of Yinchuan is about 33,000 ha which are still decreasing for reason of reclamation. In order to restore wetland and keep sustainable development of the resources the government of Yinchuan City decided to establish a monitoring center of wetlands with investment of RMB?86,000,000 or US$10,050,000. Within 5 years some 30,000 ha of wetland will be restored and bring into control of natural wetland. (Xinhua Net)

Koksu Wetland in Serious Situation

The Koksu wetland, situated in a joint place of Erlix River and Klan River with an area of 30,300 ha is the biggest wetland in Altay Grassland. As recorded, there are about 450 species of higher plant, 35 mammal species, 11 reptile species and 103 bird species, therefore Koksu wetland plays an important role in keeping ecological balance in Altay grassland. Unfortunately due to human interference the eco-environment of this area is worsening and many species of flora and fauna are becoming endangered. (Xinhua Net)

Importance of Wetlands of Yellow River Emphasized

The wetlands of middle reaches of Yellow River now have become an important habitat for migrating birds. The records show that every year some 7,000 Whistling swan and Whooper swan and 350 Common crane are wintering here. In addition, there in Sanmenxia wetland only 56 Great bustard and 500 Chinese egret are found. There is a trend of increased population of various birds. (Xinhua Net)

Shrinkage of Beidaihe Wetlands

In November 2001 a team consisting of National Bird Ringing Centre and Qinhuangdao Bird Ringing Station made a survey on bird habitats and found out that the area of Beidaihe wetland is shrinking. The estuary of Luanhe River is one of the three habitats for rare Saunder's gull, but unfortunately three dams are built here, and many shrimps ponds are established. Now no one of Saunder's gull can be found. Another wetland named Qilihai which used to be the habitats for dozens thousands of waterbirds, now are the shrimps production area. Beidaihe wetland is a very important staging site for migrants that migrate from Siberia to Australia and the Philippines. Some 410 bird species are recorded. Beidaihe Wetland is an ideal site for bird watching. Many ornithologists appeal local government to take measures to conserve wetlands and let birds have space for their survival. (Newspapaer Yanzhao Dushibao)

An Action against Illegal Hunting in East Dongting Lake Nature Reserve

Recently a joint decision was made by the Provincial forestry Department and Yueyang government that an Action would taken immediately to ban all illegal hunting activities within nature reserve. East Dongting Lake has a large area of shallow water and flood flat that attract numerous birds including 130,000 migrants. A ten year record indicates that the nature reserve has in its area of 190,000 ha 242 bird species, including Siberian white crane, Hooded crane, White stork and Great bustard. The action will be taken mainly in core zone and experimental zone. The joint team (forestry sector and police) will make an overall inspection to hotels and restaurants in addition to ban on illegal hunting protected birds. According to the local government decision that during wintering period of migrants all hunting activities in East Dongting Lake, Daxihu Lake and Xiaoxihu Lake are banned. (East Dongting Lake NNR)

A Primary Success in Raising Sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis)

The species of sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis) is a very endangered one (First grade of Chinese protected wildlife species). In order to increase its population the Environment Protection Bureau of Dongtai City, Jiangsu Province in cooperation with the Research Institute of Sturgeon located in Yichang City, Hubei Province, achieved a primary success in indoor raising of sturgeon. The fries were introduced from the Institute with average weight of 6 g. each and length of 6-10 cm. Now some 400 survived sturgeons have grown up to 2- 8 kg in weight and 1 m. in length. It is planned that by end of the year of 2001 all sturgeon will be released to the sea area. (Xinhua Net)

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