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Table of Content
    Volume 23 Issue 5
    20 September 2015

    Plant phenology is the most faithful recorder of climate change. The flowering phenology and fruiting phenology of higher plants are the most sensitive and important periods which are easily affected by environment changing. Any tiny changes of them will decide the survival and reproductive success of plants and animals directly. Hu et al. studied on the flowering phenology of woody plants in a Gutianshan forest in eastern China (for details see pages 601–609 of this issue). The

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    Orginal Article
    Unorthodox reflections on molecular ecology research in China
    De-Xing Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  559-569.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015223
    Abstract ( 1056 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (443KB) ( 2092 )   Save
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    Molecular ecology is an integrated scientific discipline that applies evolutionary theory to resolve various macroscopic biology questions. After approximately a half-century of development, it has become a well-established and active research field. It has not only penetrated numerous study areas of macroscopic biology, but also successfully bridged multiple disciplines such as ecology, physiology, geoscience and evolutionary biology. The research scope of molecular ecology ranges from developing the basic theories and methodologies, to uncovering and describing fundamental modes and patterns, to exploring processes and mechanisms, to excising research outcomes in practical applications such as conservation or pest control. The rising of molecular ecology has transformed macroscopic biology research, making it possible to leap into an epoch where systematical investigations on specific or general mechanisms are possible from joint genetic, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Molecular ecology has already entered into the omic era, making many research dreams readily realisable. The omic era also brings challenges, of which the ones with the most profound influence on molecular ecology would be breakthroughs in basic evolutionary theories, such as theories of genetic variation, population differentiation, the evolutionary roles of epigenetic modification and variation, etc. Predictably, this will trigger an unprecedented revolution in biology, thus affecting undoubtedly all branches of ecology and even forging some new subdisciplines such as ecological epigenomics. For Chinese scientists, the opening of the omic era of molecular ecology has provided a rare and great opportunity for developing and establishing new methodologies, hypotheses and theories in macroscopic biology. Thus far, we have made no significant contributions. Nevertheless, theoretical, conceptual, and methodological research are the weakest areas of molecular ecology studies in China. Both research funding organizations and scientists should be clearly aware of the trends of research development and the challenges facing us; new funding management policies should be amended, and the proper research attitude and posture re-established.

    Unorthodox reflections on molecular ecology research in China
    De-Xing Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  559-569.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015265
    Abstract ( 1118 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (2714KB) ( 2584 )   Save
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    Molecular ecology is an integrated scientific discipline that applies evolutionary theory to resolve various macroscopic biology questions. After approximately a half-century of development, it has become a well-established and active research field. It has not only penetrated numerous study areas of macroscopic biology, but also successfully bridged multiple disciplines such as ecology, physiology, geoscience and evolutionary biology. The research scope of molecular ecology ranges from developing the basic theories and methodologies, to uncovering and describing fundamental modes and patterns, to exploring processes and mechanisms, to excising research outcomes in practical applications such as conservation or pest control. The rising of molecular ecology has transformed macroscopic biology research, making it possible to leap into an epoch where systematical investigations on specific or general mechanisms are possible from joint genetic, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Molecular ecology has already entered into the omic era, making many research dreams readily realisable. The omic era also brings challenges, of which the ones with the most profound influence on molecular ecology would be breakthroughs in basic evolutionary theories, such as theories of genetic variation, population differentiation, the evolutionary roles of epigenetic modification and variation, etc. Predictably, this will trigger an unprecedented revolution in biology, thus affecting undoubtedly all branches of ecology and even forging some new subdisciplines such as ecological epigenomics. For Chinese scientists, the opening of the omic era of molecular ecology has provided a rare and great opportunity for developing and establishing new methodologies, hypotheses and theories in macroscopic biology. Thus far, we have made no significant contributions. Nevertheless, theoretical, conceptual, and methodological research are the weakest areas of molecular ecology studies in China. Both research funding organizations and scientists should be clearly aware of the trends of research development and the challenges facing us; new funding management policies should be amended, and the proper research attitude and posture re-established.

    China Nature Watch 2014: an independent report on China’s biodiversity conservation status
    Zhi Lü, Lei Gu, Cheng Wen, Hao Wang, Jia Zhong
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  570-574.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015116
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    China Nature Watch 2014 is an independent report on the status of China’s biodiversity conservation over the past decade, based on data accumulated by the Center for Nature and Society of Peking University, the Shanshui Conservation Center and the China Bird Watching Society Networks and on data obtained from the public domain. The report included trends of forest cover from 2000 to 2013 based on an interpretation of Global Forest Watch dataset; the distribution pattern, conservation and research on the most concerned endangered species; and the coverage of protected areas with respect to endangered species and forests. Research also revealed that information collected by citizen scientists filled significant gaps in species baseline data. Small protected areas managed by local residents could be an effective alternative to meet the conservation needs of endangered species in populated eastern China. Long-term ecological research and monitoring, and information transparency are urgently needed for biodiversity conservation in China.

    Observations of China’s forest change (2000-2013) based on Global Forest Watch dataset
    Hao Wang, Zhi Lü, Lei Gu, Cheng Wen
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  575-582.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015122
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    Knowing the status and changes in forests is essential for evaluating biodiversity dynamics and making effective conservation action plans. It is also essential knowledge for public awareness and policy. However, before Hansen and his colleagues published the Global Forest Watch (GFW) data online in 2013, there were no datasets of forest distribution and changes publicly available in China. GFW data was produced using Landsat satellite images, grants free access to the general public to study forest changes at 30 m resolutions, and spans a period from 2000 to 2013. We interpreted this dataset and compared results with other datasets, including the National Forest Inventory, ChinaCover and GlobeLand30. Results show that GFW dataset has reliable accuracy, as its forest distribution highly overlaps with GlobeLand30, which has a producer accuracy of 87%, and a user accuracy of 89% within the forest category. With similar forest definitions of tree cover >20%, the total forest area is 1,780,472 km2 in the year 2000, similar to the National Forest Inventory’s forest area of 1,749,092 km2. While other datasets show forest increases between 2,370-433,810 km2 during 2000-2010, GFW identified a net forest loss of 37,551-42,031 km2 in China. 2008 is a turning point of forest loss, as the area of annual forest loss has a rising trend before, and a declining trend afterwards. The southern provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi and Yunnan have the most active forest changes. Forest coverage from nature reserves is insufficient, as by the end of 2013, 407 national level nature reserves, occupying more than 60% of China’s total nature reserve area, covered only 5.03% of total forest area. However, nature reserves have positive outcomes, with reduced forest loss (1.39%), compared to the national average rate (3.46%). This is equivalent to reducing deforestation by 1,856 km2, but there is still an overall net loss of 1,200 km2 inside nature reserves.

    A rapid approach for assessing the conservation effectiveness of the most concerned endangered species in China
    Lei Gu, Cheng Wen, Mei Luo, Hao Wang, Zhi Lü
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  583-590.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015115
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    By establishing a set of grading standards, conservation effectiveness was assessed rapidly for 174 of the most concerned endangered species in China, including all the Category I National Protected plant and animal species, and avian species defined as CR and EN by the IUCN Red List. Based on the data from published research articles, satellite remote sensing, field surveys and information collected by citizen scientists, the assessment was obtained by grading population dynamics, information perfections, potential habitat changes and protected area coverage of simulated distributions. Results show that the overall conservation status deteriorated during 2000-2013. The average grades of all four indexes were negative. The conservation status of 26 species improved, while 32 species maintained their status and 116 species worsened. We also investigated the trends of 9,338 published research articles in reference to 746 threatened species during 2000-2013. The numbers of studied species and research articles increased every year, but less than 1/3 of the total threatened species had been studied in any single year. Research concentrated on the star species and the species with economic value, for example, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) contributed to 11.33% of all research articles. On the other hand, scientific research and basic information were lacking in most other threatened species.

    GAP analysis on national nature reserves in China based on the distribution of endangered species
    Cheng Wen, Lei Gu, Hao Wang, Zhi Lü, Ruocheng Hu, Jia Zhong
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  591-600.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015114
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    We defined all plant and animal species under level-I special state protection, and avian species classified as CR and EN in the IUCN Red List as the most concerned endangered species (MCES). GAP analysis was first applied to national nature reserves (NRs) in China based on the distribution of MCES. Through historical specimen collection data, published research articles on MCES, and bird-watching records, we collected occurrence sites for 96 MCES. We simulated 46 species (with at least 5 known occurrence sites) distributions using a Maxent model and drew scatter diagrams with occurrence sites of 50 other species (with little information). Distribution coverage of each MCES by national NRs was calculated. We defined the geological grid (0.8421º) on which at least 10 MCES would occur as a hotspot for MCES, and the grid on which at least 3 mammals, or 8 birds, or 3 plants of MCES as a hotspot for mammals, birds, and plants of MCES, respectively. The coverage of these hotspots by national NRs was also calculated. We found that there are only 16 MCES with over 10% range covered by national NRs. By 2014, national NRs only covered 8.27% of MCES hotspots, and 10.9%, 1.13%, and 7.26% of mammals, birds and plants MCES hotspots, respectively. The results indicated that there is a significant gap between sufficient coverage of national NRs and MCES distribution and their hotspots in China. The coverage of national NRs for birds, especially long-distance migrants, is exceptionally low, while the greatest gap of NRs occurs in hotspots for MCES in east and south China.

    Influence of climate, phylogeny, and functional traits on flowering phenology in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest, East China
    Xiaoli Hu, Chia-Hao Chang-Yang, Xiangcheng Mi, Yanjun Du, Zhaoyang Chang
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  601-609.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015083
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    The flowering phenology of plants is influenced by climatic, phylogenetic and functional constraints. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the influence of these three factors on flowering phenology simultaneously. In order to investigate the relative impact of each of the three factors, we tested their importance in describing five-year of flowering data using 130 seed traps in a 24 ha plot in the Gutianshan forest in eastern China. Flowering of the subtropical evergreen forest peaked in May. The community flowering pattern was significantly correlated with climatic variables including temperature and rainfall. According to DNA barcoding data, closely related species had similar flowering dates. The mean flowering dates were also associated with maximum tree height, but not with pollinator mode, flower color, seed mass and dispersal mode. DNA barcoding data for testing phylogenetic constraint is strongly recommended in future studies. Our findings also suggest that climatic variables, phylogeny, and functional traits were associated with the community flowering pattern. Simultaneously considering these three factors will enhance our understanding of plant phenological patterns.

    Impacts of the 2008 ice storm on structure and composition of an evergreen broad-leaved forest community in eastern China
    Yi Jin, Jianhua Chen, Xiangcheng Mi, Haibao Ren, Keping Ma, Mingjian Yu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  610-618.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015051
    Abstract ( 892 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (461KB) ( 1602 )   Save
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    Subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest (EBLF) is the zonal vegetation of the Chinese subtropical region, among which the most typical and widely distributed type is mid-subtropical EBLF. To explore how the 2008 ice-storm affected the short-term dynamics of mid-subtropical EBLF, we examined the community structure and species composition pre and post the ice storm of the 24 ha forest dynamics plot in Gutianshan. We found that although the DBH size class structure was highly consistent pre and post the ice storm, community level recruitment was low and mortality was high. Results of community dynamics analyses conducted at various grain size scales implied general depressions, despite the different rates of change between habitats. Species abundance and ABH (area at breast height) both decreased but species frequency and IV (importance value) did not change. Species in abundance, ABH, frequency and IV were highly consistent pre and post the ice storm. The results imply that the 2008 ice storm negatively impacted the short-term dynamics of the EBLF community in Gutianshan. The severity of impact was associated with stem DBH and topography. However, the community structure of this old-growth forest showed its considerable resistance to ice storm disturbance.

    Community structure and species composition of the secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest: the analyses for a 9 ha forest dynamics plot in Wuyanling Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province, East China
    Lei Zhong, Chia-Hao Chang-Yang, Pin Lu, Xueping Gu, Zupei Lei, Yanben Cai, Fangdong Zheng, I-Fang Sun, Mingjian Yu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  619-629.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015110
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    The zonal vegetation type of subtropical China is evergreen broad-leaved forest (EBLF). However, due to long term anthropogenic disturbance, primary EBLF is now scarce in this region; most of the EBLFs exist as secondary forests. Therefore, to preserve the regional forest biodiversity, it is important to understand the mechanisms underlying biodiversity maintenance of the regional secondary EBLF. One method for examining the mechanisms of forest biodiversity maintenance is to investigate the species composition and community structure on the basis of a large forest dynamics plot (FDP). According to protocols of Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS), we established a 9 ha FDP in the secondary EBLF of Wuyanling National Nature Reserve in Zhejiang Province, China, during 2011-2012. Here, we carried out analysis on species composition (e.g., importance value), community structure (e.g., floristic composition, size-class structure), and spatial distribution of woody plants with diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥1 cm. Results indicated that there were 71,396 woody plant individuals belonging to 200 species, 92 genera and 47 families within the FDP. The dominant families were Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Theaceae, Aquifoliaceae, Ericaceae and Symplocaceae. There were slightly more tropical elements than temperate elements found both at family and genus level. DBH size-classed community structure was reverse ‘J’ shaped, indicating abundant regeneration. Dominant species showed various shapes, such as reverse ‘J’, skewed or waved shapes, but no signs of population decline. Dominant species showed habitat priority and aggregated distribution patterns possibly related to habitat conditions, suggesting that habitat heterogeneity might be responsible to the spatial distribution of the dominant species in this FDP.

    Individual woody species-area relationship in a deciduous broad-leaved forest in Baotianman, Henan Province
    Manyu Yan, Xiaojun Du, Aihua Zhao, Mingchun Peng
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  630-640.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015031
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    The individual species-area relationship (ISAR) can be used to estimate the effects of individual species (accumulator, repeller, or neutral) on neighboring biodiversity at different spatial scales. The effects of individual species with different sizes (diameter at breast height classes, DBH classes) on neighboring species diversity are still an unresolved question although several papers have addressed this question by using the ISAR. In this study, we compared ISARs of nine types (all to all, all to adult, all to young, adult to all, adult to adult, adult to young, young to all, young to adult and young to young); “young to adult” represents that ISAR of young individuals of target species to adult individuals of neighboring species in a 1 ha deciduous broad-leaved forest in Baotianman National Nature Reserve, Henan Province. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) the adult individuals (DBH ≥ 10 cm) of target species have greater influence on the biodiversity of their neighbors than the young (DBH < 10 cm); (2) the individuals of the same species or the same size class have greater influence on neighboring young tree diversity than adult tree diversity; (3) most species are neutral in the Baotianman deciduous broad-leaved forest. The results showed that the effects of tree species with different sizes on neighboring tree diversity are scale-based and also affected by the size of the neighbor tree. The results supported the hypothesis that individuals of the same species or the same size have greater influence on neighboring young tree diversity than on neighboring adult tree diversity; but did not support that the adult individuals of focal species have greater influence on neighboring tree diversity than young individuals. The results also indicated that most species are neutral at spatial scales of 1-10 m in the Baotianman forest; multiple accumulator or repeller species were detected at some scales. The results will contribute to our understanding of the role of specific species on biodiversity and community maintenance mechanism.

    Herb layer species abundance distribution patterns in different seasons in an old-growth temperate forest in Changbai Mountain, China
    Shan Zhang, Fei Lin, Zuoqiang Yuan, Xu Kuang, Shihong Jia, Yunyun Wang, Yanyan Suo, Shuai Fang, Xugao Wang, Ji Ye, Zhanqing Hao
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  641-648.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015089
    Abstract ( 994 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (325KB) ( 2224 )   Save
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    The herbaceous layer is an important component of forest ecosystems and plays an important role in maintaining forest biodiversity. To understand the mechanisms shaping the forest herb community patterns over multiple growing seasons, we used herbaceous data collected in a 25 ha broad-leaved Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) mixed forest plot in Changbai Mountain, Northeast China and fitted species abundance distributions (SADs) using different models. We used both pure statistical models including log-normal, log-series, and mechanistic models, including two niche models (broken-stick and niche preemption) and two neutral models (metacommunity zero-sum multinomial distribution and Volkov model). Further, we applied the AIC and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests to compare the goodness-of-fit of these models. Our results showed: (1) The observed SADs of the herb layer varied by season. While there were similar proportions of rare and common species in spring, there were more species with moderate abundances in summer and more rare species in autumn. (2) The best-fitting models of SADs were similar in different seasons. In our analyses, the log-series model was the best pure statistical model across the three seasons. For the mechanistic models, neutral models performed better at explaining patterns of SADs than niche models. The metacommunity zero-sum multinomial distribution model was the best model in spring and summer and the Volkov model was the best one in autumn. This indicates that stochastic processes may play a dominant role in maintaining the herb species abundance distributions. Our study showed that although the SAD patterns varied over growing seasons for the herb layer in the broad-leaved Korean pine mixed forest, the underlying mechanisms governing these patterns are similar and neutral models always perform better than niche models in fitting the SADs.

    Soil bacterial diversity in the Baotianman deciduous broad-leaved forest
    Aihua Zhao, Xiaojun Du, Jing Zang, Shouren Zhang, Zhihua Jiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  649-657.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015032
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    Soil microbes play an essential role in forest ecosystems. The development of the high-throughput sequencing method provides an invaluable opportunity to further understand soil microbial communities. In this study, we investigated soil bacterial diversity in the Baotianman forest using the Illumina Miseq platform. Results showed that in the 31 soil sampling points, the number of bacterial taxa detected at different classification levels increased with increasing number of sampling points. When all 31 samples were considered, the number of relative bacterial groups included 45 phyla, 163 classes, 319 orders, 495 families, 785 genera and 42,632 OTUs. The mean values of relative bacterial taxa in the 31 samples were 34.2 phyla, 114.7 classes, 215.2 orders, 323.7 families, 446.6 genera, and 5,924.7 OTUs. At the classification level of phylum, class and order, the dominant groups were Proteobacteria (38.30%), α-Proteobacteria (18.08%), and Rhizobiales (10.62%), respectively. These preliminary findings suggest that Baotianman forest soils have high levels of bacterial diversity to some degree and provide basic information and knowledge to further understand the relationship between soil bacterial diversity and plant diversity and other related scientific questions.

    Effects of nectar robbing on pollinator behavior and pollination success in facultative selfing Incarvillea sinensis var. sinensis
    Jiaxiao Du, Lu Meng, Haiqin Sun, Ying Bao
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  658-664.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015102
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    Some plants benefit from self-fertilization for reproductive assurance, and thus might experience little effect of nectar robbing on fruit production. In facultative selfing plants which involve both outcrossing by pollinators and selfing when pollinators are scare or not available, nectar robbing is expected to have no influence on fruit set, but may affect pollinator-mediated fruit set. In order to test this prediction, we manipulated robbing (open to be robbed or excluding nectar robbers by caging flowers) in an annual facultative selfing plant Invarvillea sinensis var. sinensis and quantified fruit set, seed number and weight per fruit. Pollinator-mediated fruit set was evaluated on the basis of the closure of stigmatic lobes, which generally occurs after pollinator visiting. The height of flowers was measured to test whether nectar robbers have a visiting preference for specific floral traits. Bumble bees, workers of Bombus patagiatus, were the primary pollinators of I. sinensis and some of them were also nectar robbers. Robbers stole nectar from both open flowers and flower buds. Averaged frequency of nectar robbing was 20.24%, ranging from 0 to 51.43%. Experiments excluding nectar robbers showed that nectar robbing did not have significant effects on proportion of fruit set, seed number per fruit and seed mass per fruit. However, the proportion of stigmatic lobes closed was significantly higher in robbed flowers than in unrobbed flowers, suggesting that robbing influences pollinator-mediated fruit set. Height of robbed flowers was significantly higher than that of unrobbed flowers, suggesting that nectar robbers prefer robbing from larger and higher flowers. These results provide insight into the effects of nectar robbing on the reproduction of plants.

    Eupatorium adenophorum invasion alters soil bacterial community and diversity
    Xunzhi Zhu, Qiang Li, Yangping Li, Hongbo Han, Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  665-672.  doi:10.17520/biods.2014158
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    The invasion of alien species can affect biological community structure and ecosystem functioning, but the relationships between invasive plants and soil microbial composition and diversity are still unclear. In order to examine the effect of the invasion of an exotic plant Eupatorium adenophorum on soil chemical properties and microbial community structure and diversity, we compared the differences in soil microbial community of three communities with different densities of E. adenophorum (native plant community, E. adenophorum and native plant mixed community, and E. adenophorum dominated community) by high-throughput sequencing. Analysis of soil chemical properties showed that soil pH, organic matter, total nitrogen and total potassium decreased with increasing invasion of E. adenophorum. However, total phosphorus was highest in the most heavily invaded soil. The high-throughput sequencing results showed that there were 7,755 soil microbial OTUs (operational taxonomic unit) in total. The invasion of E. adenophorum did not exert heavy impacts on soil microbial diversity. ACE index and Chao index showed no significant differences among the three different communities. However, soil microbial diversity of the mixed community of E. adenophorum and native plant species showed the lowest Shanonn index. The relative abundances of Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia in the medium invaded community were the highest. In sum, the invasion of E. adenophorum altered the diversity and structure of soil microbial communities, and changed the soil chemical properties.

    On establishing the national synergy strategy for the implementation of international agreements related to biodiversity conservation
    Dayuan Xue
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  673-680.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015136
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    Internationally, there are a series of conventions (including treaties and agreements) related to biodiversity conservation, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention). At the international level, these are implemented by different United Nation’s organizations and at the national level by various responding ministries. In China, the leading authorities for implementing the biodiversity-related conventions are the ministries of environmental protection, forestry, agriculture, etc. However, there is very little communication and coordination among the leading ministries for participation in international negotiations and domestic implementation, resulting in the inconformity of external policies and repetition of internal implementation actions. In this paper, the explicit relations between the conventions’ objectives and biodiversity conservation are clarified, and based on existing domestic coordination mechanisms for each convention implementation in China, the current mechanism is to establish a multi-ministerial coordination committee coupled with an administrative body for actions set in the responsible ministry. Furthermore, the problems often existing in the convention implementation are revealed as follows: (1) shortage of communication and coordination among the competent authorities leading conventions’ implementation; (2) lack of information sharing mechanism among the relevant ministries; and (3) inadequate mutual support from the partner ministries. Finally, it is proposed, in this paper, to establish a synergy strategy at the national level for implementation of the conventions related to biodiversity, including setting up a synergy working group special for coordinating the state positions for the conventions’ intergovernmental negotiations on biodiversity issues and for enhancing the efficiency of the implementation actions by integrating the efforts from relevant ministries, as well as establishment of national clearing-house mechanism for biodiversity.

    Conceptual framework and operational model of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    Cunzi Lan, Yu Tian, Jing Xu, Junsheng Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  681-688.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015158
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    The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was officially established in April 2012 as an independent intergovernmental body, with the goal of strengthening the science-policy interface for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and social sustainable development. A conceptual framework for the IPBES, recommended by the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, was accepted during the 2nd Session of platform’s Plenary, in order to promote cooperation across different disciplines, knowledge systems, and stakeholders. In this paper, IPBES conceptual framework is introduced, including the main elements and their linkages, and the operational conceptual model between science and policy of IPBES, as well as the linkages between IPBES, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), and the experiences learned from these previous actions. The conceptual framework captures six elements of the relationships between the natural world and humankind: nature; nature’s benefits to people; good quality of life; anthropogenic assets; direct drivers of change; institutions and governance systems and other indirect drivers of change. This framework indicates the interactions of 6 elements at different spatial and temporal scales and the focus for assessment and knowledge generation. The operational model of IPBES demonstrates the dynamics between science and policy through IPBES. A continuous flow of knowledge from science and other knowledge systems filters to the interface after screening the analytical conceptual framework, and decision-making is then impacted through the realization of the functions and the work program of IPBES. The prospects and potential impacts of the conceptual framework and operational model, as well as a proposed corresponding strategy for China are discussed. We argue that IPBES is going to become a platform for nations to communicate, play political game and maximize the benefits, the embracement of different disciplines and knowledge systems in the multi-scaled assessments of the IPBES will have significant impacts on policy guiding and supporting in international community. China should become more proactive in participating and play a constructive role in the IPBES process, in order to ensure the application of the scientific research from China in the assessment, as well as improve the biodiversity conservation in China by incorporating international experience.

    Business and biodiversity: a review of the negotiation progress of a new issue under the Convention on Biological Diversity
    Aihua Wang, Jianyong Wu, Jixin Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  689-694.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015100
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    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the three major environmental conventions. During the continuous process of CBD negotiation, Business and Biodiversity has gradually become an important issue for CBD. The concept was developed for the first time during the third meeting of the conference of the Parties (COP-3) to CBD in 1996. At COP-5, business participation was proposed as one of the issues of CBD. At COP-6, the issue of business participation was incorporated into the Global Strategy of CBD. At COP-8, this issue was included in CBD COP decisions for the first time, with new measures proposed to promote the private sector in biodiversity conservation. The Framework of Priority Actions on Business (2008-2010) was drawn up at COP-9. The CBD decided to launch a forum for business participation in biodiversity conservation. Thus far, the Convention Secretariat has organized four meetings for Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity (GPBB), where issues of business participation in biodiversity are exchanged and discussed. In China, this is a new topic of current biodiversity governance work. The Chinese government has paid much attention to the issue and sent the Chinese Business and Biodiversity delegation to participate in the GPBB-3 and GPBB-4. Therefore, considering the status of the economy and biodiversity conservation in China, we should actively participate in the GPBB, to strengthen technology research, develop relevant standards and guidelines of business and biodiversity, deepen platform construction, and establish coordination mechanisms for business and biodiversity across sectors.

    Reflections on innovative funding mechanisms for nature reserves in China
    Xingxing Shen, Zhongyu Ma, Xiangang Zeng
    Biodiv Sci. 2015, 23 (5):  695-703.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015104
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    The funding scale invested in protected areas is far lower than funding needed. Innovative financing mechanisms in the future will involve seeking external funds, self generating and retaining revenues, and charging fee systems based on products or service markets. Generating revenue refers to fiscal approaches like ecological taxes, benefits and cost sharing mechanisms, and financial trades like carbon trading, etc. The political institutions and regulations as well as market or price policies both affect the financing mechanisms of protected areas. In the future, the financing mechanisms for protected area will depend on diversified financing channels covering fiscal, finance, market and trade tools. The concept of sustainable financing for protected areas mainly refers to the capacities of obtaining abundant, stable and long-term financial resources as well as allocating these financial resources in a timely and appropriate manner, so as to cover the full cost and achieve conservation objectives for protected areas. The major problems of the current funding mechanism and expenditure status of Chinese nature reserves include the unreasonable structure of funding sources and funds expenditure, low levels of funding amounts, as well as the lack of compensation and benefit sharing with the local community. This paper suggests ensuring federal fiscal sources as the dominant funding source for national nature reserves and establishing or improving the new market and trading channels such as PES (Payment for Ecosystem Service), carbon trade and green product certification (based on the traditional charging system including payment for eco-tourism services and resources using fees). In addition, we suggest using overseas funds as much as possible to promote capacity building of Chinese nature reserves and trying to raise funds from different domestic societies. Moreover, multi-stakeholders shared governance could be piloted in some nature reserves to achieve cost sharing among key stakeholders and benefit sharing mechanisms between local communities and the nature reserves. The authors also suggest that the majority of funds should be spent on conservation investments after the necessary staff salary deduction.


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