Con­ser­va­tion ef­forts boost Yangtze River wet­land

Bird sanc­tu­ar­ies and busi­nesses ben­e­fit from en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion project. Chen Liang and Li Yingqing re­port from Dali, Yun­nan prov­ince.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

The pa­trol teams at the Shang­hai Chong­ming Dong­tan Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve need just three es­sen­tial pieces of equip­ment for their daily work: a tele­scope; a pair of binoc­u­lars; and a smart­phone fit­ted with an app de­vel­oped by the re­serve.

Ev­ery morn­ing, the pa­trol teams gather in the re­serve’s of­fice on Chong­ming Is­land in the Yangtze River es­tu­ary to iden­tify their planned routes and start work.

They use the equip­ment to record the num­bers and species of birds, traces of animal life and any ev­i­dence of il­licit hu­man ac­tiv­ity, such as cat­tle herd­ing, that they ob­serve along their route. The app trans­fers the field data to the re­serve’s com­put­ers as soon as it is en­tered into the phone.

The tech­nol­ogy gives the man­agers in the of­fice a clear pic­ture of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pen­ing in the re­serve. “All the data is an­a­lyzed reg­u­larly so we can dis­cover prob­lems, solve them and im­prove our management over time,” said Tang Chen­dong, the re­serve’s di­rec­tor, at the 10th an­nual meet­ing of Yangtze Wet­land Pro­tected Area Net­work, held in Dali, Yun­nan prov­ince, last month.

Tang out­lined Dong­tan’s ex­per­i­ments in wet­land con­ser­va­tion and re­serve management to about 300 del­e­gates from the State Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and wet­land management au­thor­i­ties from 29 prov­inces, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and au­ton­o­mous re­gions. In­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions also at­tended in­clud­ing the World Wide Fund for Na­ture, and re­search in­sti­tutes and uni­ver­si­ties.

Ex­ten­sive scale

Tang was one of 12 key­note speak­ers at the meet­ing, which was or­ga­nized by the SFA’s Wet­land Management Cen­ter, WWF China, the UN De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme China and the Yun­nan Forestry Bureau.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, which also acted as a train­ing sem­i­nar for par­tic­i­pants from the net­work’s 252 mem­bers — mostly wet­land re­serves and parks within the Yangtze River basin — the del­e­gates dis­cussed how to put the Yangtze River wet­land un­der “ex­ten­sive pro­tec­tion”.

Speak­ing at a fo­rum ear­lier this year, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said the restora­tion of the Yangtze River ecosys­tem should be made “an over­whelm­ing pri­or­ity” and urged ex­perts to “fo­cus on ex­ten­sive pro­tec­tion” of the 6,300-km­long river.

“Ex­ten­sive pro­tec­tion of the Yangtze wet­land is key to re­al­iz­ing the coun­try’s goal that ‘the area of wet­land in China should not fall be­low 800 mil­lion mu (53.33 mil­lion hectares)’,” said Chen Fengxue, the SFA’s deputy di­rec­tor. Protec- milu,

YANG SHIYAO / XIN­HUA

Two or Pere David’s deer, feed on wet­land in the Tian’ezhou Milu Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve in Hubei prov­ince. A cap­tive Yangtze fin­less por­poise at the In­sti­tute of Hy­dro­bi­ol­ogy at the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince. Water­birds search for food at a coastal wet­land in Qin­huang­dao, He­bei prov­ince.

SONG JIANCHUN / FOR CHINA DAILY KENT TRUOG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Left: Cen­ter: Right:

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