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Chongqing Showcases Biodiversity Conservation Achievements and New Species Discoveries

By YAN DENG|May 24,2023

Chongqing - On May 22nd, Southwest China's Chongqing showcased the city's notable achievements in biodiversity conservation in recent years at the science popularization activities of International Day for Biological Diversity.

One significant milestone was the discovery of leptolalax pelodytoides, a species previously unknown to Chongqing and the world. Additionally, four known species, namely the regent skipper, stag beetle, tirpitzia, and hemiboea flaccida, were recorded for the first time in Chongqing. The occasion also marked the release of two important publications, "A Map of Biodiversity Conservation Practices in Chongqing" and "Chongqing's Biodiversity Science Popularization Series."

Chongqing, situated between the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Yangtze Plain, plays a critical role as an ecological barrier. Its diverse landscape, coupled with abundant precipitation, favorable climate, and numerous rivers, has enabled it to be recognized as one of the 34 areas globally with a high level of biodiversity, according to the Chongqing Ecology and Environment Bureau.

In recent years, Chongqing has made significant strides in biodiversity conservation. The city established a Biodiversity Conservation Committee at the municipal level and formulated a comprehensive plan for preserving biodiversity.

The authorities have constructed biodiversity observation networks and established five comprehensive observation stations to facilitate research and monitoring. These networks and stations are designed to study specific ecosystems and monitor the diversity of birds, terrestrial tracheophytes, vertebrates, and insects. The observation networks cover key areas such as nature reserves, ecologically functional zones, and ecological red lines. Additionally, dynamic monitoring of meteorological factors has been implemented.

Simultaneously, the local government initiated research and evaluation on biodiversity in each district, with studies already completed in eight districts, including Fengjie, Dianjiang, Xiushan, Yunyang, and Wulong.

The researchers comprehensively assessed ecosystems, terrestrial vascular plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and aquatic organisms. Their efforts aimed to gain insights into the status of essential resource plants, rare and endangered species, and key protected plants and animals.

In August last year, experts from Chongqing's Institute of Ecological and Environmental Sciences discovered a new toad species. Through morphological and molecular biological identification, the toad was officially named Yunyang leptolalax pelodytoide and subsequently recorded in the prestigious international journal of animal taxonomy, Asian Herpetological Research.

Yunyang leptolalax pelodytoide. (Photo/Yunyang County)

Chongqing is home to an impressive array of biodiversity. It boasts nearly 6,000 species of wild vascular plants and over 800 species of wild terrestrial vertebrates. Several wildlife species afforded first-class protection include Francois' leaf monkey, Forest Musk Deer, Scaly-sided Merganser, large Indian civet, and small Indian civet.

In addition, over 180 species of fish, including more than 60 rare and endemic species, for example, the Chinese sturgeon, Dabry's sturgeon, Chinese sucker, and Percocypris pingi, are found in Chongqing at the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

(Yang Yuanchun, as an intern, also contributed to the report.)


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