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Nature Reserves Ordered to Stop Illegal Operations
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The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) ordered seven nature reserves to halt illegal industrial operations on November 15, China Daily reported today. Six were state-level reserves and the other provincial-level.

"The serious violations, together with the mismanagement of other nature reserves, have been found in a sweeping investigation of 2,056 state and provincial-level reserves in 23 regions since April," said a SEPA spokesperson. "These violations should be blamed on loose management, protection and supervision."

The SEPA has called for suspension of all illegal activities including mineral resource exploration and construction of a transportation facility and hydro power plants.

At Jiufeng Mountain Nature Reserve, in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 37 coal mines were found to have operated illegally, including one in its core area.

A provincial-level reserve, it covers 78,316 hectares and includes a mountainous forest landscape. Surrounded by desert, its ecological system is very fragile with trees that have survived for hundreds of years.

Although all the operations have been suspended, vegetation has been seriously damaged by opencast mining there.

The investigation also found that in some reserves hydro power plants had been built, such as in the Wuzhishan Mountain Nature Reserve in Hainan Province and Luchunhuanglian Mountain Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province.

506 cases have been put on file for further monitoring, 260 construction and ten tourist projects have been ordered to stop, and 66 people are being investigated.

China has 243 state-level nature reserves, covering 89.4 million hectares and accounting for 9 percent of its area.

(China Daily November 16, 2005)

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