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

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We have noticed that a territorial space plan on "rolling separate plans into one single plan" is currently being formulated. In some cities there are also teams dedicated to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. How will the territorial space plan play a role in the biodiversity conservation process? What practical experience does China have at this moment? Thank you!

Zhang Zhanhai:

Thank you for your questions. In line with the reform arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the formulation of different kinds of territorial space plans is being accelerated at all levels. Biodiversity conservation is a particularly important field, and relevant regulations and policies are being discussed and proposed. 

First, optimizing the layout of ecological space in territorial planning. We will make overall plans for ecological, agricultural and urban spaces, and protect biodiversity on three levels: ecosystems, species and genes. Through in-situ and ex-situ conservation, we will strengthen the protection of global and national key biodiversity areas, develop global migration routes for migratory birds and rare wildlife, improve the systems of species' ex-situ conservation and genes preservation, and build a global biodiversity protection network. We will build the protected areas system, which includes dozens of national parks, 1,000-plus natural reserves and thousands of natural parks, to effectively protect important natural ecosystems and biodiversity-rich areas. Efforts will also be made to strengthen the protection and construction of urban ecological systems, promote the formation of a continuous, complete and systematic ecological protection pattern, and promote the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. For example, Shanghai has constructed 21 parks at key ecological points on its outskirts, and Chengdu and other cities are transforming themselves into green cities, in order to form an urban layout that strikes a harmonious balance between humanity and nature.

Second, setting ecological conservation red lines (ECRLs) in territorial planning. China has established three control lines in order of priority: boundary lines for permanent basic cropland, ECRLs and boundary lines for urban development. The ECRLs include essential ecological functional areas, natural reserves, the most ecologically fragile regions, and areas with a potentially important ecological value, where stringent measures are applied to control their utilization. For example, Nanchang and other cities set up multidisciplinary teams to research the migration patterns of birds around the Poyang Lake and included the areas that migratory birds fly over into the ECRLs for strict control. At present, the ECRLs initially mapped in China have covered various important ecosystems and bring most of the rare and endangered species and their habitats under protection.

Third, accelerating the building of a basic information platform for territorial space and an implementation and supervision information system for "one-map" territorial planning. Biodiversity conservation is regarded as an important part of the implementation and supervision. We will comply with the requirements of "unified base map, unified standard, unified planning and unified platform" to build a unified basic information platform for territorial space and draw a unified map for territorial planning. Efforts will be made to plan for complete life cycles while conducting periodic surveys and assessments of how plans are being implemented, and include local indicator species and other indexes into the implementation assessment system. We will also improve the long-term monitoring and early warning mechanism for the carrying capacity of resources and the environment, and strengthen the monitoring and early warning of indicators related to biodiversity conservation, so as to constantly refine plans and policies, and boost biodiversity conservation. Thank you.

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