Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 759-768.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020001

• Forum • Previous Articles    

The attribute structure of national parks and its enlightenment to China’s local practice

Ji Zhang(),Xin Li   

  1. School of Forestry and Landscape Architecture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642
  • Received:2020-01-02 Accepted:2020-06-16 Online:2020-06-20 Published:2020-08-19
  • Contact: Ji Zhang


The concept of “national park” has been widely spread around the world since its creation in the United States in the second half of the 19th century. However, there is little consensus on the criteria needed and essential attributes that make up national parks. One of the primary ways humans identify types of things are by knowing and associating their various attributes. We present a comparative study of the attributes and characteristics of national parks around the world, and construct the attribute structure of national parks from the theoretical perspective of essential and non-essential attributes. The essential attributes of national parks should include: (1) natural resource-based; (2) national significance of natural resources; (3) management system of national government control; and (4) resource utilization led by public welfare. The land ownership, the area size, the ecosystem, the focus of conservation, the tourist facilities, as well as the indigenous residents of the national parks are considered non-essential attributes. Finally, this paper discusses the significance of this attribute structure to the establishment, governance and enjoyment of national parks in China. This attribute structure which combines essential and non-essential attributes provides both a summary of typologies of national parks globally and a foundation and decision-making tool that China must consider in the formal establishment and construction of national parks in the future.

Key words: national park, attribute, attribute structure, local practice, sustainable development