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Chongqing Points the Way to Biodiversity Protection

By DENG, YANICHONGQING|May 25,2022

The International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated every year on May 22nd to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. According to the latest data from the Chongqing Forestry Bureau, Chongqing is home to 112 species of terrestrial wild animals under state priority protection, and 84 native species of terrestrial wild plants under state priority protection Chongqing Forestry Bureau manages.

Rare and endangered wildlife species 

According to the Chongqing Forestry Bureau, some of the rare and endangered wildlife populations in Chongqing have realized recovery and growth thanks to years of protection and management.

Thuja sutchuenensis, the Sichuan thuja, a plant species native to China, has appeared and borne fruit in the Xuebaoshan Nature Reserve for the first time as a wildlife population that has been returned to the wild.

In the Xuebao Mountain National Nature Reserve in Chongqing, researchers accidentally discovered small saplings of Thuja during the investigation. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Dendrobium flexicaule, belonging to a plant population under top state-level protection, was found in Chengkou County. Chinese merganser, a bird species dubbed the “giant panda” of birds, has wintered in the basin of Chongqing’s Qihe River for nine years in a row.

Chinese merganser. (Photo/Li Xin)

Inside Chongqing’s mountains and rivers, wild animals have been found that are under state priority protection.

They have also been found in Chongqing’s city proper. Not long ago, the small Indian civet, a wild animal species under top state-level protection, was captured by cameras at Yinglong Lake National Wetland Park in Chongqing’s Nan’an District. Since being put on record, it has been the first time that the species was found in Chongqing’s central urban area.

Small Indian civet. (Photo/ National Taxidermy Resource Bank)

“When we take care to protect nature, nature rewards us generously.” 

Chongqing’s wisdom on biodiversity protection

“Amid the ever-changing environment, it is quite difficult for many rare and endangered wild animals and plants to realize recovery and growth,” said the Chongqing Forestry Bureau official.

Take the Sichuan thuja as an example. As one of the world’s rare gymnosperm species, it used to be announced extinct by IUCN in the wild. Until 1999, the Chongqing investigation team for wild plants under state priority protection paid a visit to Chengkou. It took nearly half a year to find the population of wild Sichuan thuja.

In the more than 20 years that followed, Chongqing’s governments, forestry technicians, and local people have made concerted efforts to protect rare and endangered species. Dabashan National Nature Reserve and Xuebaoshan Nature Reserve were established, and forest rangers were employed to monitor major population areas to protect wild Sichuan thuja carefully.

In 2021, Sichuan thuja was listed as a wild plant under top state-level protection.

Extensive cutting is important for improving current population viability and maintaining ecological balance. “Last year, we planted 200,000 Sichuan thuja cuttings in the first batch. At last, 96% stroke root and after they were moved to the transplant area, 98% were alive.” According to the official, as planting more cuttings, the researchers will adjust the mixture ratio of the culture medium and conduct experiments to explore the ways of taking root faster and more successfully.

The protection of Sichuan thuja is the epitome of Chongqing’s wisdom in biodiversity protection.

Take multiple measures to protect biodiversity

In recent years, Chongqing has organized the investigation of wildlife resources under national priority protection, the special investigation of rare and endangered species, and the investigation and assessment of biodiversity. Meanwhile, Chongqing has also incorporated the concentrated distribution areas of rare and endangered wildlife into key protected areas such as nature reserves.

Up to now, Chongqing is home to 218 natural protected areas of different types, and at different levels, of which 58 are nature reserves, ten were built for protecting wild animals. Eight were built for protecting wild plants. With a combined area that accounts for 15.4 percent of the city’s total, they protect more than 90 percent of Chongqing’s rare and endangered wildlife and 90 percent of the typical subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forest ecosystems.

Moreover, Chongqing has organized “Breeze Action,” “Net Sword Action,” and other joint law enforcement campaigns to keep a closer eye on large restaurants and marketplaces and crackdown on illegal hunting and the trade of wild plants and animals, and other unlawful acts.

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