China has 65.94 million hectares of wetlands, ranking first in Asia
and fourth in the world. The vast area and great variety have given
rise to a rich biodiversity.
Early this year, the Chinese Government launched one of the largest
wetland conservation and restoration projects in the world. This
includes an investment of 8.3 billion yuan (US$1 billion) during
the next decade, to protect 217 wetland areas, and ensure effective
conservation of more than 20 million hectares of wetland.
China also expanded its number of wetlands of international
importance by designating 14 provincial and national nature
reserves to the Ramsar List, an addition of 1,959,383 hectares.
Outside the Ramsar List, 289 wetlands have been demarcated as
natural reserves since the 1970s, covering 16 million hectares.
The International Ramsar Convention, also called the Convention on
Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl
Habitat, was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, and was backed by 106
countries by 1999.
develop long-term plans for wetland conservation and management in
China, the government now works closely with a number of
non-government organizations (NGOs) in projects covering most of
the wetlands in the country.
Apart from The Nature Conservancy from the United States, which
focuses on Yunnan Province, many other international NGOs have also
helped guard wetlands in China. Since the 1980s, the World Wide
Fund for Nature (WWF) started projects for wetlands protection in
Wetlands International (WI), a leading international non-profit
organization dedicated to preserving wetlands worldwide, started
its China programme, WI-China, in 1996.
The China Biodiversity Network (CBN) was founded in 1995 by the
Earth Island Institute to preserve and sustain biological
diversity, wildlands and cultural values in China through
networking, research and direct support from local Chinese
Daily July 1, 2002)