May 22 marks both International Day for Biological Diversity and the 60th anniversary of the initiation of nature reserves in China. These two occasions were highlighted by a conference held in Beijing by seven government departments, including China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). 600 representatives from the state and local governments participated in the conference.
A document released by the MEP during the conference shows that there are currently 2740 nature reserves in China, covering 1,470,000 square kilometers. They occupy 14.83% of China’s total land area, which is higher than the world average. Over 90% of the different kinds of land ecosystem in the country, 89% of endangered species of fauna and flora and most important fossils and other natural remains are protected in these nature reserves. “Enhancing the establishment and management of natural reserves, and strengthening the protection of the diversity of ecosystems, species, genes, and landscapes” is a goal clearly stipulated in the 13th Five Year Plan. Chen Jining, the minister of environmental protection, reported on the key areas of work to achieve this goal: completing the network of nature reserves and the National Natural Reserve Development Plan; strengthening supervision and law enforcement on the establishment and management of nature reserves; combining nature reserves with reform work such as the pilot project for building a national park system; conducting major protection projects; and encouraging more support for communities living around nature reserves.