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WWF Joins Hands with Central China Province in Wetland Protection
A memorandum on wetland protection has been signed between the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and central China's Hubei Province at a forum in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province.

The memorandum's signing on Tuesday marks the start of cooperation between the two sides in protecting the abundant wetland resources in Hubei Province, located in the middle of the Yangtze River and famous for its thousands of lakes, said WWF official James Harkness.

Some 70 experts attended the forum on Sept. 2 and 3, exchanging views on topics such as wetland protection measures and the preservation and monitoring of biological varieties, according to local sources.

A number of wetlands have been damaged in recent years, resulting in sharp drops in the number of biological varieties, owing to the policy of filling lakes for farmland plantations in the central province, according to Hubei-based expert Cai Shuming.

According to Harkness, the Chinese government has, in the period since the 1998 Yangtze River floods, launched a series of plans to convert fragile land on lake borders from farmland to flood storage, in line with the WWF objective of global wetland protection and environmental improvement.

In 1999, WWF launched its Yangtze River Project in central China's Hunan Province, with the aim to restore the wetlands along the river over the next 25 years. The project has played a critical role in fighting this year's flooding.

WWF is the first international environmental protection organization operating in China. It initiated wetland protection in 1994 and helped to formulate an action plan to protect China's wetland.

(Xinhua News Agency September 4, 2002)

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