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08 Jan China to Establish Ecology Monitoring Network Before 2025
China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has published a guideline to step up supervision on ecological protection in the country, as reported by Chinanews.com on January 4. According to the guideline, the country targets to establish the foundations for a national biodiversity monitoring network before 2025, and fully form a regulatory system for ecological protection before 2035. It also plans to build up an ecological protection and restoration assessment system to evaluate the whole country’s ecological status, as well as for the protection of key river basins, nature reserves, ecological redlines, and ecological functional zones across the country.
China is one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas, harboring approximately 10% of all plant species and 14% of animals on the planet. As of the end of 2020, the country has established around 11,800 nature reserves at different levels, representing around 18% of its land area. The nation’s forest stock volume currently stands at 17.5bn cubic meters, representing a forest coverage rate of 23.04%, and stores around 9.2bn tons of carbon in total, with the forest carbon reserve rising by over 200m tons per year. Between 2015 and 2019, the Chinese central government had invested RMB9.87bn in over 2,000 wetland conservation projects, putting 50% of the country’s wetlands under protection. In the next fifteen years, China aims to expand its forest coverage to 26% and have over 60% of its wetlands under protection, with at least RMB3tr of investment in ecological and environmental protection.
So far, the country has launched a series of measures to facilitate biodiversity protection and ecological conservation. In May 2020, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) released a biological resource checklist, including 54,359 animal species and 37,793 plant species, in order to more closely monitor the country’s biodiversity status. Moreover, the country passed its first law targeting a specific river basin in late December, to protect the ecological environment of the Yangtze River area, which will be effective from March 1, 2021. It also imposed a ten-year fishing ban on the Yangtze River, starting January 1, 2021. In addition, the country is now working on improving its ecological redline policy, aiming to limit human activities and give legal protection to the habitats of key animal and plant species in more than 25% of the country’s total area. Last December, MEE has launched seven national standards for ecological redline protection, while clearer guidelines and management measures are yet to be disclosed in the area.