Ex­panded pro­gram

Sec­ond na­tional park ex­pected to fo­cus on wildlife pro­tec­tion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An area on the bor­der of Hei­longjiang and Jilin prov­inces will be the sec­ond ad­di­tion to a trial na­tional park pro­gram and will fo­cus on pro­tect­ing wild Siberian tigers and leop­ards, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

The new ad­di­tion has been ap­proved by the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, the top eco­nomic plan­ner.

The trial pro­gram is in­tended to stream­line the man­age­ment of scenic spots and re­duce the re­liance on rais­ing funds through com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, en­vi­ron­men­tal groups said onWed­nes­day.

The newad­di­tion comes af­ter the first en­try in the pro­gram, San­jiangyuan Na­tional Park, was ap­proved in De­cem­ber 2015. San­jiangyuan park in­cludes the head­wa­ters of the Yangtze, Yel­low and Lan­cang rivers in Qing­hai province.

The sec­ond na­tional park plan awaits re­view and ap­proval from the Party’s Lead­ing Group on Over­all Re­form, ac­cord­ing toXu Shaoshi, di­rec­tor of the NDRC.

The na­tional park trial pro­gram will run un­til 2017, when of­fi­cials will eval­u­ate its ef­fec­tive­ness. If deemed suc­cess­ful, ad­dtional pi­lot parks may be ap­proved in other prov­inces by 2020. Nine pro­vin­cial-level re­gions have been picked for projects over three years: Bei­jing, and Jilin, Hei­longjiang, Zhe­jiang, Fu­jian, Hubei, Hu­nan, Yun­nan and Qing­hai prov­inces.

Ex­perts said in­tro­duc­ing a na­tional parks sys­tem is ex­pected to make en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion eas­ier and more ef­fec­tive, and to help lo­cal gov­ern­ments cover costs with­out hav­ing to rely so much on com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in the parks.

China has 2,740 nat­u­ral re­serves, oc­cu­py­ing a to­tal 1.47 mil­lion square kilo­me­ters, aim­ing to pro­tect wildlife, forestry, grass­land­san­dother valu­able en­vi­ron­ment el­e­ments, theMin­istry ofEn­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

How­ever, Fan Zhiy­ong, a se­nior re­searcher with the World Wildlife Fund, said some re­serve of­fi­cials failed to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment, and ex­ploited re­sources in­stead of pro­tect­ing them.

PengKui, a re­searcher at the Global En­vi­ron­men­tal In­sti­tute, an NGO in Bei­jing, said: “The man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­serves now in­volves many gov­ern­ment de­part­ments. Land own­er­ship in a re­serve may be han­dled by over three par­ties like min­istries, other agen­cies of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and ru­ral col­lec­tives, mak­ing man­age­ment a mess.”

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment won’t al­lo­cate funds for the parks dur­ing the trial, so the prov­inces will have to pick up the costs. But Peng said State funds should go to sup­port their man­age­ment af­ter the pi­lot, “so the man­age­ment com­mis­sion will not worry about mak­ing money from tourism, re­sources ex­ploita­tion or other com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, so it could pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment bet­ter than the ex­ist­ing re­serves”.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments also must fig­ure out what to do about res­i­dents liv­ing in the park ar­eas, in a way that pro­tects the en­vi­ron­ment and peo­ple’s liveli­hoods as well.

“The gov­ern­ments need to solve the problems in man­age­ment, fund­ing and pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, which is not an easy job, but ur­gently needed and nec­es­sary for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion,” Fan said.

WU GANG/ XIN­HUA

Wild asses graze in Hoh Xil in Qing­hai province. The area is in San­jiangyuan Na­tional Park, where the head­wa­ters of the Yangtze, Yel­low and Lan­cang rivers are lo­cated. The park, the first in a trial pro­gram, has been joined by a sec­ond planned park in North­east China.

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