Sichuan province is embracing sustainable development via a series of environmentally focused projects, such as the Giant Panda National Park and afforestation.
A Giant Panda National Park in Chengdu, capital of the province, will be established in the near future, covering an area three times that of Yellowstone National Park in the United States.
The park proposal has just been approved by the central government and it is expected to be set up by the end of 2020.
Covering more than 20,000 square kilometers, the park will span the three provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu.
Yao Sidan, director of the Forestry Department of Sichuan province said: “The greatest difference between the Giant Panda National Park and other parks is its purpose and the guiding principle.
“Normal parks only focus on tourism, while the Giant Panda National Park shoulders the responsibility of providing ecological experiences and popularizing science, along with conserving the authenticity and integrity of the natural ecosystem.”
The giant panda is a mascot of global biodiversity protection, a rare wild animal, a national treasure, and exclusive to China, Yao said. As China’s peace messenger, the giant panda communicates and builds good relationships with nations all over the world, he added.
Yao said that protecting the giant panda is not only about conserving invaluable natural heritage for China’s descendants, but also embodies the image of China as a responsible nation.
A total of 1,205 wild pandas, accounting for 86.88 percent of the total panda population in Sichuan, will be settled in the new habitat.
Luo Peng, a researcher from the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the wild panda habitat has some of the most complicated landforms, with more than 8,000 kinds of wild animals and plants.
On Sept 18, with the beginning of the boundary demarcation for the Giant Panda National Park, hundreds of locals shut down their rural tourism businesses. Soon, arrow bamboo will be planted in those areas instead.
As one of the nation’s largest forest districts and pasturing areas, Sichuan places a high priority on preserving biodiversity.
It is an important ecological protective screen and water conservation area for the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
To better protect Sichuan’s environment, 58 ecological protection projects have been introduced.
All county-level cities and above have implemented the new methods for domestic garbage treatment.
Sichuan has taken the lead nationwide in establishing a clean-energy consumption structure.
The province’s installed hydropower capacity totals 72.96 million kilowatts, ranking No 1 in China. Renewable energy accounts for 34 percent of the primary energy consumption in Sichuan.
To protect the environment and develop the green economy, Sichuan has canceled GDP assessments for 58 key ecological function zones and counties since 2014.
In October 2016, Sichuan clearly defined 13 intensive ecological protection areas, covering 197,000 sq km in total, accounting for 40.6 percent of Sichuan’s area.
In the past five years, Sichuan has afforested 334.7 hectares of land. Forest now covers 17.93 million hectares across the province, giving a forest coverage rate of 36.88 percent and growth of 1.62 percent.
Earlier this year, as one of the first provinces to fully implement the chief river system, Sichuan launched a battle to protect its rivers and lakes.
By the end of June 2017, the chief river system had been put into practice for each river in Sichuan. The water of the Sichuan section of the Yangtze River and the Jinsha River passed quality inspections.
Under the instruction of the 11th Party Congress of the province, Sichuan has given top priority to ecological civilization construction.
Sichuan is accelerating the development of the green, low-carbon and recycling economy by vigorously developing hydroelectricity, wind power, solar energy and energy saving equipment.