NEWS AND TRENDS

Results of Lao Niu Strategic Research on Wetland Conservation Management (III) | There Are Obvious Gap in the Conservation of Coastal Wetland in China

DATA:2018-10-16  Views:22

         According to the second national wetland resource survey, the area included in coastal wetland conservation in the 11 coastal provinces (municipalities and autonomous regions) is 1,390,400 hectares. There are 126 protected areas already established, including 40 national nature reserves, 52 provincial nature reserves and 34 other types of protected areas. Among various nature reserves, the area of wetland reaches 1,042,400 hectares and the area of wetland in wetland parks reaches 30,300 hectares, the area of wetland in mini-reserve reaches 48,400 hectares, and the area of wetland in other types of reserves reaches 269,400 hectares. The proportion of coastal wetlands protected by law is 24%, which is significantly lower than 43.51%, the average protection rate of wetlands in China. This shows that there are obvious gaps in the conservation of coastal wetland in China.


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Current situation of coastal wetland conservation in China and the distribution of gaps in conservation

        Waterbirds are the biological groups that serve as the indicators of wetland ecosystem. The quantity and distribution of waterbirds can directly reflect the quality of the ecological environment in wetlands. Some of the coastal wetlands in China have extremely high value of conservation and have reached the standard of wetlands of international importance or the standard of the conservation area of East Asian - Australasian Flyway Network. However, they are not brought into the protection system. For example, Luannan Wetland in Hebei Province, Ganyu Tidal Flat Wetland in Jiangsu Province and Rudong Intertidal Zone in Jiangsu Province are all not brought into the protection system


       The research indicates that among the 140 survey spots that have reached the standard of wetlands of international importance or the standard of the conservation area of East Asian - Australasian Flyway Network, 69 of them (accounting for 49.3%) are still in conservation gaps. Apart from some national nature reserves and some provincial nature reserves, the other types of nature reserves established in coastal wetlands in China (including county and municipal level nature reserves, mini-reserves, wetland parks, urban wetland parks, and ocean parks) lack effective measures for the protection of waterbirds and their habitats and the effect of protection is not good.


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11 coastal waterbird habitat in urgent need of protection


Apart from the gaps in protection for waterbirds, there are also great gaps in the protection for other species and typical ecosystems: 

       Among the 22 important ecological zones for invertebrates and fishes in the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea areas, only 6 of them have established nature reserve and the rest 16 are not protected in any way; about 40% of the mangrove forests all over the country are protected, but the key areas for the distribution of mangrove forests in Wenzhou Bay, Feiyun River Estuary and Aojiang River Estuary in the south of Zhejiang Province, the northern coast of Hainan Island, and the coastal areas in Beibu Gulf of Guangxi Province are not protected; the conservation of sea grass beds is also not optimistic. Among the 35 distribution areas of sea grass beds, 59% of them are not effectively protected. In terms of geographical distribution, the ecological importance of Tianjin, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and other provinces and cities is very high. These places are economically developed, but the protection rate of coastal wetland is relatively low, facing enormous pressure from sea reclamation. The protection work still has a long way to go.





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Distribution of sea grass beds in China and their protection status

      On the basis of integrating observation data from multiple sources and according to the results of priority areas and gap analysis, we have confirmed 107 important coastal wetlands not brought into the protection system and recommend to include them in the protection list of the red line of ecology. Among them, there are waterbird habitats, costal habitats for mollusks, mangrove forest, sea grass beds and other representative ecosystems. Together with existing 34 national nature reserves, 39 provincial nature reserves and 80 coastal wetlands, they will all be brought into the scope of protection of the first batch of ecological red line for coastal wetlands.


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  In allusion to the obvious gaps in the coastal wetland protection in China, Blueprint of Coastal Wetland Conservation and Management in China suggested as follows: 

  Establish new protection areas for coastal wetlands or expand the range of protection areas, filling the gaps of protection, and establish and improve the protection system for coastal wetlands. Implement hierarchic management system for coastal wetlands. Classify coastal wetlands into wetland of national importance (including wetland of international importance), wetland of local importance, and ordinary wetland. Wetlands of national importance may include the national key ecological zone, national nature reserve, national marine protected area, and national wetland park determined in National Major Functional Zoning Plan and other wetlands in all the protection and management modes with “national” in their title and officially announced by the state; wetlands of local importance are determined by provincial governments, and the rest are ordinary wetlands. Coastal wetlands with high conservation value in biodiversity and with national and international importance (in particular the habitats of important migratory birds, fish spawning ground, feeding ground, and wetlands with the function of alleviating and adapting to climate change effects) are forbidden to be reclaimed or transferred. In allusion to the issues regarding the gaps in the protection of coastal wetlands and the spatial mismatch, we recommend to set up wetland nature reserves in these areas as soon as possible, filling in the gaps of protection, increase the area of coastal wetland protection, and improve the protection rate of coastal wetland from its current standard of 24% to the average level of national wetland protection (43.5%).