China names four new Ramsar Sites

China names four new Ramsar Sites

13 November 2011
The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that China has named four new Wetlands of International Importance, bringing the total designated by the Contracting Party to 41 sites covering 3,709,853 hectares. One of the new sites is a high altitude wetland on the Tibetan Plateau, and the other three are located in Heilongjiang Province in the far northeast of the country. Ramsar's Saber Masoomi has prepared brief summaries based on the Ramsar Information Sheets that accompanied the designations.

Gansu Gahai Wetlands Nature Reserve.01/09/11; Gansu; 247,431 ha; 34°16'40"N 102°26'53"E. National Nature Reserve. A high altitude wetland (average 3,450m) in the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Northwest China, part of the largest alpine peat marsh area in the world. The site supports flora and fauna of both the Loess and Tibetan Plateaus which are rarely seen elsewhere. Alpine marshes, seasonal/intermittent herb-dominated marshes, permanent herb-dominated marshes on peatlands and inorganic soils, permanent freshwater lakes, permanent rivers and streams are different types of wetlands in this site. There are 15 threatened species including birds, amphibian and mammals such as the vulnerable Black-necked Crane Grus nigriscollis and the Alpine Stream Salamander Batrachuperus tibetanus. It is a regional hotspot of species diversity, with many endemic species of the Tibetan biogeographic region, especially fish and amphibian species. The wetland has a significant function for water storage, carbon storage and flood control. As a result, flood disaster is very rare in this site. The local Tibetan herdsmen and communities practice wetland conservation and wildlife protection as part of their tradition and believe that Gahai Lake is sacred. A management Master Plan was approved in 2000. Ramsar Site no. 1975. Most recent RIS information: 2011

Heilongjiang Nanweng River National Nature Reserve. 01/09/11; Heilongjiang; 229,523 ha; 51°19'14"N 125°22'52"E. National Nature Reserve. Located in the transitional area between the temperate and cold zone, in northeastern China, the site supports a representative mixture of plants from the Siberian, Inner Mongolian, and Changbai floras. As the largest nature reserve located at the highest latitude in China for forest-marsh wetland ecosystems in the cold-temperate zone, the site holds the most concentrated marsh wetlands in the original coniferous forests of the Great Xing'an Mountains. This site consists of permanent freshwater marshes and ponds, freshwater, tree-dominated wetlands and permanent rivers and supports 442 plant species, 216 bird species and 49 mammal species, including 22 threatened species of birds, mammals and plants such as the critically endangered Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus and the vulnerable Siberian Musk Deer Moschus moscchiferus. It also supports more than 1% of the global population of 17 birds. The wetland is also an important water source for over 10 million people in the Nen River basin and ensures the recharge of 350 million m3 of water for Zhalong Nature Reserve (Ramsar Site) per year. A Master Plan (2006-2015) has been developed which is being implemented. Ramsar Site no. 1976. Most recent RIS information: 2011

Heilongjiang Qixing River National Nature Reserve. 01/09/2011; Heilongjiang; 20,000 ha; 46°44'18"N 132°13'53"E. National Nature Reserve. Located in northeastern China and representative of the inland freshwater marsh type in Northeast Asia. The site is recognized as one of the best preserved natural wetland areas in China, and it supports a diversity of wetland plants and animals, including many waterbirds that also breed there. The large-scale reed marshes are among the most important in the Sanjiang Plain (Northeastern China Region) and have remarkable abilities of water storage and flood control. The site supports 29 threatened species of which 3 are mammals and 26 are birds such as Siberian Crane, Oriental Stork, Red-crowned Crane, Scaly-sided Merganser and Baer's Pochard. The diverse wetland types at the site provide important habitats for many species, including 388 plant species, 201 birds (including 80 waterbirds), 35 mammals, 10 amphibians and reptiles, and 18 fish species. More that 1% of the population of nine waterbirds species is present at the site. It is an ideal base for scientific research, education and popularization of wetland conservation. The rich biodiversity can provide germplasm resources for the development of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture in the region. A Master Plan for management has been developed and implemented. Ramsar Site no. 1977. Most recent RIS information: 2011

Heilongjiang Zhenbaodao Wetland National Nature Reserve. 01/09/2011; Heilongjiang; 44,364 ha; 46°07'40"N 133°38'14"E. National Nature Reserve. Located in northeastern China on the border between China and Russia, the site supports a diversity of freshwater wetland types, mainly river and floodplain wetlands, as well as permanent and seasonal freshwater marshes/pools, herb marshes, shrub marshes, forest marshes, etc. The site, a typical representative wetland area in the cold temperate zone of East Asia, is part of Xingkai Lake-Bulieya Mountains in terms of tectonic setting and has significant functions in terms of water storage and flood control, thereby playing an important role in maintaining eco-security of the catchment. The site supports 13 threatened species of which 8 are birds and 5 are mammals. There are a total of 393 plant species, 171 birds, 61 fish, 16 amphibians and reptiles and 40 mammal species. According to surveys in different years the site supports more that 100,000 individuals and also supports more that 1% of the population of 12 waterbird species. The wetlands in the site are now under strict protection and are not used for agriculture, aquaculture or other production uses; however, with the beautiful landscapes of the Ussuri River and diverse wetlands, it has great potential value for ecotourism and presnetly some 10,000 people visit the site each year. A Master Plan for management has been compiled. Ramsar Site no. 1978. Most recent RIS information: 2011