WASHINGTON — China has taken effective actions to protect wetlands and wildlife along the coastline of the country, Science magazine on Jan 30 praised the determination of the Chinese central government.
China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced in its statement on Jan 17 that it will dramatically curb commercial development of coastal wetlands, as well as nationalize already reclaimed wetlands that have not yet been built on.
“This represents a true ‘sea change’ in the official attitudes to the very large, and internationally shared, biodiversity values of the shorelines of China,” Theunis Piersma, an ecologist of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands told Science magazine.
Wildlife along the coastal areas also benefit from China’s moves. Those wetlands particularly in the Yellow Sea are at the midpoint between East Asia and Australia, which are crucial for migratory birds between Siberia and Australia.
Ecologists also pointed that national wetlands protection laws are needed in China, and penalties for damaging these wetlands need to be strengthened.
It will be important to win over locals by demonstrating the benefits of tidal wetlands, including nature tourism and flood protection, said Nicola Crockford of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain.
Early in 2015, China created a “red line” to protect 53 million hectares of wetlands, and in 2016, SOA created 16 marine parks, bringing the total area with various levels of protection to about 124,000 square kilometers, according to the administration.