Wetland Conservation Action Plan Released

China publicized a national wetland conservation action plan on November 8, as a critical step to carry out the International Ramsar Convention it signed in 1992.

Ma Fu, vice director of the State Forestry Administration, told a press conference Wednesday that the action plan, as China's own guideline for wetland protection, will greatly push forwards the work and research in this field.

According to the action plan, China plans to hold back the decline of natural wetland caused by human activities in the next five years and start projects to recover the damaged wetland. The country also intends to issue regulations on wetland protection.

China has more than 65.9 million hectares of wetland with seven tracts of international importance, the fourth largest in the world following Russia, Canada and the United States. The country has now founded 263 wetland nature reserves.

Jim Harkness, representative of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) China Program Office, said that WWF will continue working with the Chinese government to implement the action plan as it used to do when shaping the plan.

Since the 1980s, WWF has started projects for wetland protection in China and with its help, 16 tracts of wetland in China will be selected as wetland of international importance by 2001, according to Ma.

Wetland, among the three major natural ecosystems besides forest and oceans, are always called the earth's "kidneys", which play an important role in water conservation and the prevention of erosion and flooding.

The International Ramsar Convention, also called Convention on Wetland of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat, was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, and was signed by 106 countries by 1999.

(People's Daily 11/08/2000)

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