China has promised to put more wetlands under state-level
protection and to spend more than US$1 billion protecting them from
Jia Zhibang, director of the State Forestry Administration
(SFA), said that China boasts 38.48 million hectares of wetlands,
the largest in Asia and the fourth-largest in the world.
The government poured 366 million yuan (US$45.75 million) into
wetland protection last year. By 2010, a total of 9 billion yuan
will be spent on wetland protection.
China's wetlands are home to more than 2,200 wild plant species
and more than 1,770 species of wild animals, Jia told a ceremony
marking the 11th World Wetland Day on Friday.
However, Jia said, China's wetlands have been shrinking in
recent years due to irrational development, water pollution and
Plundering wildlife resources of the wetlands is threatening
their bio-diversity and local fishery resources, Jia said.
Jia said China plans to put 50 percent of its total wetlands and
70 percent of its important wetlands under effective protection by
Hunting is strictly banned in wetlands and people who destroy
wetland will be harshly dealt with, Jia said.
Jia said China has established more than 470 wetland protection
zones, putting about 45 percent or more than 17 million hectares of
its total wetlands under strict protection.
Wetland protection is included in China's 11th Five-year Plan
for economic and social development.
Wetlands are considered a "kidney of the earth" as they prevent
flooding, promote water conservation and purify water.
(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2007)