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Achievements of Ecological Conservation in the New Era

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-11-23

The legal system for ecological conservation has been improved. Major progress has been made with the development of a property rights system concerning natural resources, a system for the development and protection of territorial space, integrated plans for China's territorial space, a system for the regulation and comprehensive conservation of resources, systems for the paid use of natural resources and for the provision of environmental compensation, an environmental governance system, a market system for ecological conservation, and a performance evaluation and accountability system pertaining to ecological progress.

Effective steps have been taken to develop and protect China's territorial space and coordinate the tasks of drawing redlines to protect ecosystems, agricultural land, and permanent basic cropland and of delineating urban development boundaries.

Further efforts have been made toward a national park-based nature reserve system, including integrating and establishing nearly 9,200 nature reserves and setting up the first batch of five national parks.

The systematic management of mountains, waters, forests, farmlands, grasslands, and deserts has been promoted, and 44 projects have been implemented that take a holistic approach to conserving and improving such ecosystems, resulting in the restoration and improvement of 53,700 km2 of land.

Expansive land greening programs have continued, leading to an increase in China's forest coverage from 21.63% in 2012 to 24.02% in 2021, which was the largest increase in forest resources of any country in the world in that period.

A comprehensive conservation strategy has been implemented, which led to falls in energy consumption per unit of GDP, water consumption, land consumption (area of land allotted to construction), and carbon dioxide emissions by 26.4%, 45%, 40.85%, and 34.4%, respectively, between 2012 and 2021.

Efforts have been made to achieve victory in the battle to prevent and control pollution, resulting in sustained improvements to the quality of our atmosphere, water, and soil.

China remains actively involved in global governance of natural ecosystems, including proactively yet prudently promoting peak carbon and carbon neutrality objectives and hosting conferences of the parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on Wetlands.

China's Saihanba afforestation community in Hebei Province and the Green Rural Revival Program in Zhejiang Province both won the UN Champions of the Earth Award. China's Shan-Shui Initiative (for the integrated conservation and restoration of mountain, water, forest, farmland, grassland, and desert ecosystems) was selected as one of the UN's first batch of 10 World Restoration Flagships.