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Ecological protection grows local biodiversity

2019-08-05author:source:China Daily

Jilin has placed great emphasis on its ecological development for more than a decade, and as a result the province has made great progress in improving its environment, increasing its biodiversity and growing industries centered around nature.

As a pioneer in green development in China, Jilin had planted 18,533 hectares of new forests, roughly the size of over 13,000 soccer fields, through June. Green spaces have been created or improved in 936 villages, and trees and grass have been landscaped along 1,373 kilometers of roads and railway lines throughout the province.

As one of China's greenest provinces, Jilin has taken effective measures to ensure its greenery continues to grow, with 8.22 million hectares area covered by forest, accounting for 44.6 percent of its land.

To help feed the forests, the Yuanchi Wetland, the upstream area of the Songhua River, and Zengfeng Mountain area have been upgraded into national natural reserves.

Grassland and forest hazard prevention mechanisms, as well as measures to protect biodiversity, have been in place in the province for years. No serious forest or grassland fire has been reported in Jilin for the past 38 years.

Forest-related industries in Jilin reported 139.8 billion yuan ($20.29 billion) in revenue last year. Emerging industries such as forest-centered tourism and healthcare services reported a 6.7 percent yearon-year increase in 2018 in terms of industrial output value.

More wild animals

Forest and mountain areas in the eastern part of Jilin have long been the habitat for Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, and a monitoring center has been established covering 500 square meters to keep track of the animals.

In recent years, wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards have been sighted frequently in the region thanks to its improving natural environment.

By the end of July, scientists had recorded at least 27 wild Siberian tigers and 42 Amur leopards in mountainous areas of Jilin.

The Hunchun and Wangqing areas are especially favored habitats of Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.

In October last year, a video clip from the monitoring center at Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park showed a female tiger and her four cubs in Hunchun.

Another clip from 2016 showed an adult leopard and two cubs in Hunchun.

In recent years, it was reported that habitats for the two big cats are expanding with some being spotted in the Changbai Mountain area.

Experts said Jilin's efforts in banning hunting, strengthening daily monitoring and protection, establishing natural reserves and stopping commercial logging have been keys in improving the environment for the tigers and leopards.

Jilin established an ecological damage compensation mechanism to make up for local people's losses and to reduce conflict between people and wild animals. Total compensation paid out has reached 1.65 trillion yuan since 2006, according to the Jilin government.

Official statistics show Jilin currently has 42 nature reserves covering 2.61 million hectares of land, and accounting for 13.9 percent of all land of Jilin.

A natural protection corridor which includes regions such as Hunchun, Wangqing, Huangni River, Yanming Lake and Weihu Mountain has been established to protect tigers and leopards in Jilin.

In August 2017, the 14,600-sqkm Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park, China's second national park after the Sanjiangyuan on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, was established. The park, with its majority located in Jilin, will be a stable habitat for the two endangered big cats, according to experts.

Jilin also carried out projects to provide a better environment for other wild animals. Official figures show there are 445 different types of land animals in Jilin. It is home to rare birds such as the Chinese mergansers and snow cranes.

The Chinese merganser, which normally nests in trees near rivers, is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The bird faces threats from fishing, vegetation destruction, habitat fragmentation and water pollution. In Jilin, about 190 pairs of Chinese mergansers have been spotted this year, accounting for 9.5 percent of the total in the world.

Snow cranes, also known as Siberian cranes, are rated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Official statistics show that a total of 3,840 snow cranes were observed in Jilin's Momoge National Nature Reserve in 2015, accounting for 90 percent of their total in the world.

Better water protection

The western part of Jilin province is an area with one of the highest densities of lakes in China. Rivers and lakes form foundation for all creatures in Jilin, according to officials.

Jilin has been carrying out a project to connect lakes and rivers in the region since 2013 to better protect its water resources. An ecological environment of 3,500 sq km of lakes, rivers and wetlands has been restored and improved, which now provides ideal places for migratory birds to rest during their annual migration.

Four ecological clusters in the western part of Jilin, consisting of Momoge National Nature Reserve, Chagan Lake, Boluo Lake and Xianghai National Nature Reserve, have been established.

Official statistics show there are 196 species of plants and 198 species of wild animals in Boluo Lake

Reserve Area, among which four are under the first-class State protection.

After years of expansion, Chagan Lake, known for its traditional winter fishing, has grown into one of the top 10 largest freshwater lakes in China with a more than 500-sqkm water area.

The lake is a paradise each summer for birds such as red-crowned cranes and terns. In autumn, more than 200 species of migratory birds flock to the lake to rest before their next long journey.

In 2018, the 17th Chagan Lake Winter Fishing Festival attracted 130,000 tourists to its opening ceremony on Dec 28. More than 1.7 million tourists attended the festival last year, bringing in tourism revenue of 1.5 billion yuan.

To control environmental damage to Chagan Lake, Jilin banned all new shopping, dining, accommodation, entertainment and transport construction projects within an 8-to-10-kilometer radius. The province is also taking measures to regularly remove garbage from the lake.

Looking ahead, Jilin will continue to promote and pioneer environmental protection as instructed byState leaders. It will carry out 14 ecological restoration and treatment projects involving 8.32 billion yuan in investment this year.



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