SpeakchesYou are here:Home > Events > Annual Meetings > 1998 > Speakches

Progress Report on Ecosystem Conservation and the Implementation of Relevant International Conventions

1998-11-16author:Li Yucaisource:

  Honorable Chairman, Council Members, Ladies and Gentlemen:

  First of all, on behalf of the State Forestry Forestry Administration, I would l ike to extend congratulations to the opening of the 2nd Meeting of CCICED. Now I would like to brief you on the progress made by the State Forestry Administrati on in ecosystem conservation and the implementation of relevant international co nventions since the meeting of CCICED held last year.


  Forests are the major body of the terrestrial ecosystem. Forestry development is the most important component of environmental protection and development. As th e authority for forestry development nationwide, the State Forestry Administrati on has consistently regarded ecological protection as a priority task. In 1995, the State Forestry Administration (former Ministry of Forestry) formulated and p romulgated the Forestry Action Plan for China's Agenda 21, which has served as a guiding document for China's forestry development. In order to implement the Fo restry Action Plan, the State Forestry Administration has undertaken the followi ng activities in the field of ecosystem conservation.

  1.1 Strengtheing Afforestation and Development of Major Ecological Forest Progra ms Nationwide

  The Chinese government has always attached great importance to afforestation and ecological development nationwide. The Resolution on Carrying out the National Compulsory Tree - Planting Campaign, adopted at the National People's Congress i n 1981, has pushed forestry development into a new era featruing public involvem ent in forestry development and afforestation. In 1997, around 500 million perso n/times took part in compulsory tree - planting activities across China, with 2. 5 billion trees planted and 4.212 million hectares of land afforested. At presen t, the forest cover nationwide has reached 13.92%. The total forest growth has e xceeded forest consumption, and the goal of "consecutive dual increases" in fore st area and stocking volume has been achieved.

  In order to speed up the improvement of China's environment, we have further qui ckened our steps for the implementation of ten major ecological forest programs - such as the Three Notrh (i.e. north, northeast and northwest China), the Shelt erbelt Development Program, the Coastal Shelterbelt Development Program, the She lterbelt Development Programs along the Upper and Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River and the Middle Reaches of the Yellow River - and have achieved remarkable ecological and social effects. In 1997, 2.069 million hectares of land were affo rested under the Three - North Shelterbelt Development Program, the Shelterbelt Development Program along the Upper and Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River, the Coastal Shelterbelt Program, the Farmland Shelterbelt Program and the Afforesta tion Program for the Taihang Mountains, including 1.686 million hectares of plan tations. Under the Shelterbelt Programs initiated in 1996 for the middle reaches of the Yellow River, the Liaohe River, the Zhujing River, the Huaihe River and Taihu Lake, 258,000 hectares of forests were established in 1997. Furthermore, 2 20,000 hectares of plantations were set up under the Desertification Combating P rogram in the same year.

  1.2 Strengthening Protection of Forest Resources and Wild Fauna and Flora

  The State Forestry Administration will consistently carry out the policy of fore st management by legal means for the effective conservation of forest resources, wild fauna and flora. The Decision by the Standing Committee of the NPC on Revi sing the Forest Law of the People's Republic of China was adopted at the second meeting of the standing coomittee for the Ninth NPC on 29 April 1998, and revisi ons were made to the Forest Law. The revised Forest Law intensifies conservation of forest resources, wild fauna and flora, and further defines the standing and role of China's forestry in the national economy, and social and ecological dev elopment. This provides strong legal guarantees for national forestry and ecolog ical development. While implementing such laws and regulations as The Forest Law , The Law of Wildlife Conservation and The Rules for Implementation of the Wildl ife Conservation Law, efforts have also been made to revise The Criminal Law by adding provisions for punishing illegal activities related to smuggling rare and precious animals whose export is banned by the state. In addition, China promul gated Regulation on Protection of Wild Plants and spared no time in formulating such laws and regulations as The Law on Combating Desertification and Regulation s on the Import and Export Management of Wile Fauna and Flora. At present China boasts a forestry public security force of about 47,000 and a forest police forc e of over 20,000, who constitute a complete forestry law enforcement system. Ove r the past decades we have consistently stuck to strict enforcement of the fores t harvest quota system and permit system for forest land use. Meanwhile, efforts are intensified on control of forest pest and disease as well as forest fire. I n 1997 the rate of forest pest and disease control reached over 70%, and the dam age rate for forest fires was below 1%, which is the lowest it has been for the past decade.

  Remarkable progress has been made in wildlife conservation. Over 630 nature rese rves of forest and wildlife type have been established in China. (At present Chi na boasts 926 nature reserves of various types, covring an area of 76.98 million hectares, taking up 7.46% of the total land area of the country.) In awddition, more than 400 breeding and germplasm bases for exsitu conservation of rare and precious flora have been set up. Meanwhile, lots of rescue and rehabilitation ce nters for protection of endangered species have also been established in success ion throughout the country. Furthermore, 870 forest parks, 171 zoosans 111 botan ical gardens have been set up, which has brought over 6,000 species of animals a nd over 1,000 species of plants under effective protection. The Chinese forest l aw enforcement departments and management authorities for wild fauna and flora h ave, in collaboration with other judicial organs, inspected and prosecuted in a timely manner illegal activities such as hunting, selling and trafficking of rar e and precious wildlife. Such cases as reselling of rhinoceros horns, of genuine and fake tiger bones, and of bear hyproducts, the hunting and killing of the As ian elephant and the smuggling of ivories, musk and Saker falcons in particular, have all been investigated and prosecuted in a timely manner. Effective measure s have been taken to bring illegal trafficking of animals under control,

  1.3 Strengthening the Fight Against Desertification

  Fighting desertification in an import component of ecological protection. In 199 1, China formulated the core courses of the national desertification project for the period of 1991 - 2000, which regards tree planting and grass gowing as the basic method for the prevention of desertification, and the improvement of the e cological environment. In August 1997, President Jiang Zemin gave very important approval concerning the ecological environmental problem. This indicates that g reat efforts should be made in tree planting and desert greening, the building o f ecological agriculture, and the preservation of beautiful mountains and rivers in the Northwest. That approval greatly accelerated the nationwide program to p revent desertification. By the end of 1997, 6.44 million hectares of desert were under control, and the ecological environment of sand storm threatened areas wa s improved dramatically.

  1.4 Strengthening Natural Forests Protection in Key Areas

  The natural forests resource concerns not only the survival and development of t he state owned forest areas, but also the environmental improvement, economic an d social sustainable development of the entire nation, as well as the key proble ms for the survial of the nation.

  At the present time, there is 133.70 million hectares of forest area in China. 8 7.27 million hectares is natural forest, which can be generally divided into thr ee categories. One is the basically protected area, which occupies 24 million he ctares, accounting for 28 percent of the total natural forest area. The second i s the natural forest areas around the country in which trees are growing scarcel y,its totalarea is 7.38 million hectares occupying 8 percent of the totalnatural forest area. The third is the large pieces of forest areas that need to be prot ected urgently. Most of them are located at the sources of big rivers, the surro unding areas of big reservoirs and the core areas of the great mountains. The to tal area for this kind of forest is 55.89 million hectares,accounting for 64 per cent of the total natural forest.

  According to approvals given by high ranking officials from the central governme nt concerned with the natural forest protection, environment improvement, as wel las the transfer of tree cutting enterprises to tree planting, the State Forestr y Administration worked out A practicing scheme for the natural forests portecti on program in key areas. The planned program has officially started in the state in the state owned forest areas.

  The following goals should be reached after the practice of the protection progr am has been introduced in the key areas. To stop cutting in all prohibited areas before the year 2000 (cutting practice must be fully prohibited especially in a reas that are situated at the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze and yellow rivers beforethe year 1999). The total wood production will reduce to 1.56 mill ion cubic meters. Meanwhile, the excessive cutting will ve eliminated. Activitie s for the reorientation will also be prepared and 1.032 million laid off workers will be employed through the tree planting program and the activities for the r eorientation. By the end of this century, 472.000 retired workers will join soci al insurance system at the provincial level. The present natural forest will be under protection and basically return to normal.

  1.5 Combining Forestry Development and Poverty Eradication, Making Significant A chievements in the Integrated Development of the Mountains

  In 1996, demonstration works for the integrated development ofmountainous areas were made in 24 typical mountainous counties nationwide. These mainly focused on land reform, tree planting, and road building, as well as electricity reaching. So far, loans totaling Rmb two billion yuan have been given to the 59 demonstra tion counties, and 230 projects have been established. Meanwhile, 680.000 hectar es of land areas have been reclaimed, 170,000 hectares of steep areas have been turned into cultivated areas, 170,000 water conservancy facilities have been bui lt, and 300,000 hectares of fruit trees were planted. In addition, 12,000 kilome ters of road were built, fifty water driven electrical power stations with a cap acity of 150,000 kilowatts were completed, and 8,000 kilometers electricity line s were laid down. With the improvement of the demonstration projects, the econom y in the demonstration counties also developed dramatically. The agriculture pro duction, as well as the farmers' income increased significantly, and the living environment and the working conditions improved greatly. In 1998, the number of demonstration counties had risen to 114.


  The priority tasks for the countries that have signed conventions are to strictl y implement the international conventions and to strengthen natural resource pro tection. The Chinese government always attaches great importance to this work, a nd many achievements have been done with this regard.

  2.1 Progress for Implementing the International Trading Convention for Endangere d Wild Plants and Animals

  Strengthening management work for wild plants. A strict certification policy all owing the import and the export of wild plants and animals was adopted. As permi tted by the international convention, 1300 certificates can be issued annually. Meanwhile, special investigations were undertaken focusing on some production ar eas and trade activities, such as snakes, primates, Red - billed Leiothrix, Silv er - eared Mesia, Chinese Iris, and Liquorice. Investigations were also undertak en concerning international sensitive animals, such as bears, musk deer, as well as cat category animals. A report on the trading situation was given to the Con vention Secretary Office. A quota and registration methods were adopted for the export of international sensitive hunting souvenirs and Leopard fur. Investigati ons and registrations were made nationwide into all organizations which conduct import and export business for wild plants and animals. An information base was also established. When a large part of the registration work for plants and anim als was finished, The list for import and export of wild plants and animal was f ormulated. This document provides basic information for the Custom Office to upt into effect the management of the import and export of wild plants and animals, as well as computer management methods in Custom clearance.

  Active participation of convention affairs, strengthen regional and internationa l cooperation. In 1997, a delegation, lead by Mr. Wang Zhibao, the administrator of the State Forestry Administration, took part in the tenth session of the con vention. An excellent arrangement was made for a convention delegation from Hong Kong, and some progress was made as a result of that visit. We also sent people to participate in the Symposium on the Trade of Bear Parts, the Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, the Animal Committee, the Plants Committee, and the Me eting of the Subgroup on Wildllife Crime of the IPO. The decisions adopted at th ese meetings have been implemented very well.

  The legislation on the import and export management of wildlife has been strengt hened. The Regulations on the Import and Export Management of Wild Fauna and Flo a has been drawn up and the basic criteria on the import management of wild faun a and flora has been set up. The Regulations are currently under the discussion, modification and evaluation by experts.

  2.2 Progress on the Implementation of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (U NCCD)

  Fighting desertification is included in the Overall Plan on National Economic an d Social Development by the Chinese Government, the National Action Plan on Comb at Desertification has been worked out, and the China National Committee and its senior expert advisory group on implementing the UN Convention to Combat Desert ification have been set up.

  The project development on the Action Plan has been strengthened. The desertific ation combating project financed by Germany in 1997 for the Yan'an area received a total grant of DM12 million, and is planned to be evaluated in 1998. The Chif eng Desertification Control Project financed by Germany in 1998 for the Inner Mo ngolia Autonomous Region with a total grant of DM 16 million, is planned to be e valuated and identified this year. The Ministerial Conference on Regional Cooper ation to Implement the Convention to Combating Desertification in Asia was succe ssfully held in Beijing in May 1997, and the Beijing Declaration was released to all on Asian countries in the near future to initiate six key priority projects , of which the first project of Desertification Monitoring and Evaluation Networ k is established in Beijing.

  Training and publicity on desertification combating are widely carried out. Trai ning courses on monitoring desertification were held in the Chinese Training Cen ter on Combating Desertification. More than 1,000 people have been trained at pr imary and medium levels in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Inner Mongolia Auto nomous Region on desertification control, development and use. Some medium and s enior levels personnel engaging in desertification control from over ten provinc es, cities and prefectures have been organized and sent to Israel to study deser tification control technology. A senior training class is held annually on the s tudy of UN Convention to combat desertification, and people responsible for dese rtification projects, project management and decision making from related minist ries and commissions as well as those from over 13 provinces (cities, regions) i n North China are trained. In order to improve the public awareness of desertifi cation control, various media are used to publicize the significance of the "Wor ld Day to Combat Desertification and Drought". Of note, in 1997 a special film o n the problems facing the Chinese grassroots on desertification control and thei r achievements was shot in China by a group headed by the director of the Televi sion Division of UNDP. The film was released to 143 countries and regons worldwi de simultaneously on 17 June, the second "World Day to Combat Desertification an d Drought", in which the achievements and serious problems still facing in China on desertification control were introduced. This has ensured common concern wor ldwide.

  2.3 Progress on the Implementation of Ramsar Convention

  The organizations for wetland conservation and management have been set up and a pproved to draft legislation on wetland conservation; the China National Wetland Conservation Action Plan is now being compiled. The third version of the Action Plan was finished concurrently and the finalization of the Aciton Plan is plann ed for completion by the end of 1998. It will then be submitted to the State Cou ncil for approval.

  The development and management on wetland nature reserves has been strengthened. Currently, there are 148 wetland nature reserves in China with a total area of 12.83 million hectares. Seven of these reserves have been included into the Rams ar List of Wetlands of International Importance - namely, Dongzhaigang of Hainan Province, Bird Island of Qinghai Province, Zhalong of Heilongjing Province, Xia nghai of Jilin Province, East Dongting Lake of Hunan Province, Boyang Lake of Ji angxi Province and Houhaiwan of the Hongkong SAR.

  The investigation into wetaland and wildlife resources has been carried out nati onwide. It was instituted in a few provinces and regions in early 1995, and was formally carried out nationwide in 1996. Technical Regulations on Wetland Invest igation, Technical Regulations on Wild Fauna Investigation and Technical Regulat ions on Flora Investigation were worked out, and experts from universities, coll eges and scientific research institutes as well as staff from the grassroots wer e organized to be in charge the investigation. All the field investigation is ex pected to be finished in 1999 and all the work completed in the year 2000.

  The training on personnnel responsible for the management of wetlands has been s trengthened. Ten training courses on wetland conservation and management were he ld in Hongkong during 1997 - 1998, with 100 persons trained, while three trainin g courses were specifically held for the staff working in wetland nature reserve s of Jiangxi and Liaoning provinces as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Reg ion.

  Overall international cooperation has been carried out. Positive achievements ha ve been made with international organizations such as WWWF, WI, UNDP, IUCN and C ITES Secretariat. The preparation has been carried out for the GEF project on We tland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use in China. In cooperation wit h international organizations concerned with the wise use of the wetland resourc es in China, a Project Steering Committee composed of people from related depart ments in China has been set up, a group of demonstration areas have been listed, and project application reports in demonstration areas have been finished in re lated provinces and regions.

  2.4 Progress on the Implementation of Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements

  Some cooperation agreements have been signed with various countries since the 19 80s. These are:

  ·Sino - Japaneses and Sino - Australian agreements for protection of Migratory Birds,

  ·Protocol on Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Conservation between USA and P.R.C,

  ·Sino - Indian Agreement for Tiger Conservation,

  ·Agreement of Forest Fire Prevention and United Control between the Chinese and Russian Governments,

  ·Agreement on Xingkai Lake Nature Reserve between the Chinese and Russian Gover nments, and

  ·Protocol on Carrying out Cooperative Research on Breeding of the Giant Panda.

  China has always earnestly implemented her responsibilities and obligations from beginning to end. Bilateral working meetings were held regularly or irregularly to conduct exchanges and cooperation in the aspects of technology, information, economy and training.

  In addition, some specific cooperation projects were carried out between Chinese Government and some international organizations and countries in the areas of f orest cultivation and wildlife conservation. Various economic and technical aids were provided by these countries and organizations, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to them. I also welcome more countries and organizations to c arry out cooperation with China in wider fields.

  Thank you.

  (This speech was delivered on 16 Nov '98.)

Contact Us:


Address:5 Houyingfang Hutong,Xicheng District,Beijing 100035 P.R.Chinazip code:100035

Copyright © 2020 Secretariat of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.