Further commercial development will destroy the city’s diverse wildlife, unless local government can devise more ecologically friendly methods, according to researchers at a symposium held last week.
Researchers from the Shanghai Natural History Museum said they have discovered a number of untouched suburban areas around the city where wildlife exist.
According to the researchers, the eastern bank of Chongming Island, north of Shanghai, Jiu Duansha, a tidal island between Changxing Island and Pudong International Airport, and three small islands in the southeast of Jinshan District are all home to a great variety of wildlife.
Years of research uncovered about 30 species protected by national conservation laws.
Among them are about seven species of animals, such as elk deer, also known as David’s deer; 143 bird species, such as the white stork; at least 90 fish species, such as the Chinese paddlefish; 150 insect types; and more than 450 plants, such as the camphor tree, researchers said.
“Since Shanghai is at the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta, it makes a favorable place for sub-tropical plants and animals,” said Jin Xingbao, the museum’s deputy director.
“But if we don’t take measures to preserve its original state, construction will swallow it.”
Though the city passed environ-mental laws years ago, some developers have flagrantly violated them. In Pudong, for example, developers overturned vast areas of soil, leaving many animals homeless and plants rootless. Land reclamation projects, which started back in the 1960s, are threatening the city’s ecosystem by forcing out animals and birds from their natural surroundings, the experts said.
Jin said that more than 6,000 years ago, Shanghai was a forest, but lumbering and development killed off much of the original wildlife.
“Some people don’t know how to recover the city’s ecosystem. They just dig up trees from other areas and plant them in the city,” Jin said.
“In fact, though these trees can solve some ongoing environmental problems, they won’t help building up an ecosystem in the long run.”
She said growing grass and planting trees to attract animals and beautify the city must be done gradually, so as not to disturb the natural order of the ecosystem.
Jin said biologists need support from lawmakers and officials from government departments.
(Eastday. com 10/30/2000)