Wednesday, January 2, 2008
China's First National Park
The Nature Conservancy has helped China achieve a conservation landmark: the establishment of that country's first national park, which will also serve as a model for a new Chinese national park system.
The new park — Pudacuo National Park in China's Southwest Yunnan Province — is located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. While the region comprises only 0.7 percent of China's land area, it contains more than 20 percent of the country’s plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species.
But the establishment of Pudacuo National Park is significant in other ways as well:
It increases conservation in the region by incorporating 10 times more land into an area that was formerly a nature reserve;
It introduces skilled park management techniques to help abate threats to biodiversity in the area;
It provides a source of environmental education for local communities; and
It provides economic benefits to local communities through park-related jobs and ecotourism.
The Conservancy supported the Chinese government's efforts to establish Pudacuo in June 2007 by introducing the concept of the national park system to officials and advising the government on how best to establish this kind of protected area.