Biodiv Sci

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Analysis of the current situation of China′s nature reserve network and a draft plan for its optimization

Xiaoping Tang   

  1. Academy of Forest Inventory and Planning, State Forestry Administration
  • Received:2004-10-13 Revised:2004-12-29 Online:2005-01-20 Published:2005-01-20
  • Contact: Xiaoping Tang


China′s nature reserves already cover a total of almost 15% of the area of the country. We examined the data on the actual situation of nature reserves using the method of GAP analysis (geographic approach to protection of biological diversity). The result is as follows: China′s nature reserves have formed a comparatively integrated system of protection; however, the nature reserve network lacks a suitable overall arrangement. Some important or endemic ecosystems, the habitats of some endangered animals and plants, and the provenances of some rare and important resources, are not included in the reserves yet. We suggest that the focus should shift to the conservation of whole ecosystems instead of specific species. We suggest to enlarge the areas of existing nature reserves, upgrade some important local nature reserves to national grade, and set up some trans-boundary reserves together with neighbouring countries. According to different situation, the reserve may be established in diverse forms, such as seasonal reserves for migrant birds, large reserves in western China, and small reserves or protected spots in thickly populated eastern areas.