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Chongqing Helps China's Biodiversity Conservation Achieve Remarkable Results

By VIVIAN YANICHONGQING|Oct 11,2021

Chongqing- The frequent appearance of the Yangtze finless porpoise, the northward migration of wild elephants in Yunnan, and the downgrading of panda from the level of “endangered” to “vulnerable”… All of these show that China’s biodiversity conservation has achieved solid results, which is widely recognized by the international community.

The world’s oldest surviving captive panda “Xinxing” celebrated its 38th birthday last August. (Photo/ Zhang Jinhui)

Shared future for all life on earth

Following on the positive trend, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) is being held in Kunming from October 11 to 15, with the theme of “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”

Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment, said that the theme emphasizes that humans and nature are united in respecting, conforming to, and protecting each other, according to Xinhua reports.

Huang continued, the meeting further demonstrates China’s confidence and determination to work with the international community to curb biodiversity loss and ensure harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

The northward migration of wild elephants in Yunnan has become an international star. (Photo/ Yunnan Provincial Forest Fire Brigade)

Ahead of the United Nations biodiversity schedule

China has successively promulgated a number of laws, regulations, and systems related to biodiversity conservation.

For example, the ecological protection red line system is established to fuel the development of a nature reserve system with national parks as the mainstay.

The ecological protection red line refers to the need to implement strict protection of space boundaries and management limits in terms of natural ecological service functions, environmental quality and safety, and natural resource utilization to maintain national and regional ecological security and sustainable economic and social development.

As of the end of 2020, the area of the initially designated ecological protection red line zones accounted for no less than 25% of China’s land area. There are now 11,800 nature reserves and 474 national nature reserves. The area of nature reserves accounts for 18% of China’s land area, achieving the 17% target set in the Aichi Target of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) ahead of schedule.

Statistics show that 90% of terrestrial ecosystem types and 85% of key wildlife populations are effectively and properly protected in nature reserves, and wild populations of rare and endangered species are gradually restored.

Yangtze River ecological barrier

The 10-year fishing ban on the Yangtze River, which took effect in 2020, is known as “the most stringent fishing ban in history.”

As the last ecological barrier in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, Chongqing plays an irreplaceable role in the ecological security of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

The Decisions of the Standing Committee of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress on Promoting and Ensuring the Ban on Fishing in the Yangtze River Basin came into effect on July 30.

“Illegal fishing in Chongqing has been effectively curbed at present,” said Yang Hong, deputy director of the Chongqing Commission of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

According to the Decisions, the delineation of areas for prohibited fishing serves as the key emphasis embodied by the total of 13 implemented decisions. These mainly include six protected areas for aquatic organisms in the Yangtze River Basin, the mainstream of the Yangtze River, the five major tributaries of the Yangtze River, and eight key sub-tributaries as further prohibitions determined by the municipal people’s government.

Statistics show that there are 754 rivers where fishing is banned in Chongqing, running a total length of 18,000 kilometers, which has effectively formed an important ecological barrier in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Chongqing is striving to play a greater role in the green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. (Photo/ Chongqing Ecological Environment Bureau)

Ecological restoration on Guangyang Island

With systematic natural restoration and ecological rehabilitation, the ecological environment of Guangyang Island in Nan’an District has been continuously improved.

Currently, Guangyang Island has become a leading place for Chongqing to play a model role in the green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Yangtze River Ecological Guangyang Island. (iChongqing file photo)

Enjoying the flowers 

Guangyang Island has been opened on a trial basis since this February, where the residents are encouraged to visit the island and enjoy the flowers.

“We came here to breathe in the fresh air,” said Yang Weihong, a resident from Dadukou District who took her mother and daughter to Guangyang Island via shuttle bus. “With beautiful scenery and free reservations, Guangyang Island is the first choice for a spring trek.”

Meanwhile, Li Shenghai’s family from Beibei District also chose to visit Guangyang Island to enjoy the flowers.

Li said that it was their first time coming to the island. His family planned to enjoy the red plum blossoms and try some natural local food before returning home.

Pontederia cordata from Guangyang Island. (Photo/ Gao Shaoxiong)

Feeding over 300 species of animals

Zhang Yonggang, a 41-year-old man, once a native of Guangyang Island, now works as an eco-security guard for Guangyang Island Green Development Co., Ltd, responsible for protecting the environment and maintaining law and order on the island.

“Now, the environment on Guangyang Island is getting better and better every day,” said Zhang. “This not only attracts lots of wildlife to inhabit the island, but it has also become a good place for city dwellers to go on excursions.”

After nearly three years of ecological restoration, more than 500 species of plants have been restored on Guangyang island, with vegetation coverage of more than 90%.

The restored Guangyang Island, where waterside and nature-friendly scenes can be seen everywhere, has attracted more than 300 species of animals, including the Chinese Merganser, which is under first-class national protection, and some national second-class protected species, such as the peregrine, short-eared owl, Eurasian spoonbill.

Eurasian spoonbill from Guangyang Island. (Photo/ Gao Shaoxiong)

At present, Guangyang Island has recorded one species of national first-class protected bird, ten species of national second-class protected birds, one species of national second-class protected fish, 44 species of fish endemic to China, and 15 species of fish endemic to the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Luzhu Creek remains a comprehensive demonstration site in Guangyang Island. (iChongqing file photo)

(Shi Jiaqi, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

 

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