SCIO press conference on 'Biodiversity Conservation in China' white paper

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China Natural Resources News:

Ecological restoration is an important means to protect and improve biodiversity. What has the Ministry of Natural Resources done to fulfill its responsibility to restore the ecology of our national territorial space? Are there any future plans? Thank you.

Zhang Zhanhai:

Thanks for your question. Since its founding, the ministry has been earnestly implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, following the principles of prioritizing resource conservation and environmental protection and promoting the self-restoration of nature. It is strengthening the ecological restoration of the national territorial space, and has put ecological restoration and the protection and improvement of biodiversity as its major goals. The work we have done can be separated into the following two aspects.

First, we have prioritized biodiversity conservation in related plans. In 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources published the Master Plan for Major National Ecological System Protection and Restoration Projects (2021-2035), with a major focus on the construction of national parks, natural reserves, natural parks as well as the protection of endangered wildlife. The plan laid out 9 major projects and 47 specific tasks, including 23 that are related to biodiversity conservation, taking into account the integrity of the ecosystem, the continuity of geographical units and the sustainability of socioeconomic development. It provides a major guarantee for biodiversity conservation and the protection and restoration of the major ecological system.

Second, we have implemented a series of major ecological protection and restoration projects. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), the central government invested 50 billion yuan (US$7.75 billion) in the land area to carry out 25 pilot projects for ecological protection and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, lakes and grasslands in key national ecological function areas such as Qilian Mountains, Helan Mountain, Changbai Mountain and Lesser Khingan Mountains. In the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Yellow River Basin, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Fenwei Plain and other important river basins and regions, we have carried out restoration of abandoned mines left over from history, with the restoration area totaling 4 million mu (266,667 hectares). In the coastal areas, we carried out the "Blue Bay" project, the coastal zone protection and restoration project, and the mangrove protection and restoration project. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), a total of 1,200 kilometers of coastal lines and 345,000 mu of coastal wetland were restored. This year, as part of the 14th Five-Year Plan, we have launched the first batch of 10 integrated protection and restoration projects for mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands and deserts, as well as 15 marine ecological restoration projects.

Next, my ministry will take the implementation of the master plan as the main line and aim to comprehensively improve the quality of the national ecological security barrier and the virtuous circle of the ecosystem. We will carry out ecological protection and restoration work in the protective barriers for eco-security in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the important ecological areas along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, the northeast forest belts, the sand control belts in the north, the hilly and mountainous areas in the south, and the coastal zones. We will carry out these projects in a scientific manner, build a stronger defense for ecological security and further contribute to the protection and improvement of China's biodiversity.

Thank you.

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