CCTV News / CNTV
CCTV News / CNTV
trust model breaks
new ground for country 百科知识
Land trust model breaks new ground for country
07-28-2016 14:10 BJT
This year marks the 60th anniversary of China's first nature reserve. Now the country has over 27-hundred of them. But not all are well protected, due to a shortage of government resources. And a team of conservationists is trying something new.
For five years, these conservationists have lived among the native inhabitants of this forest.
"Once I saw a deer suckling her baby. Usually they are scared of humans. But because she was feeding, she didn’t move, and we just stared at each other, and I thought in fact, we are very similar," Director of Laohegou Nature Conservation Center Liu Xiaogeng said.
Tucked away in the rugged mountains of Sichuan province, Laohegou, or Old Creek, is home to around two dozen wildlife species. The celebrities here are giant pandas - 13 of them in this forest roughly the size of 15 football fields. A conservation hot spot - yes. But Laohegou is also an important piece of an even bigger plan.
"In places where conservation is done well, like in the US, non-governmental organizations play a big role apart from the government. This is not the case in China," Wang Jimei, conservation manager of The Nature Conservancy in Sichuan, said.
The result is what conservationists call paper parks - they exist on maps, but aren’t necessarily well funded or actively managed. Sporadic hunting took place here and this quarry farm in Laohegou almost destroyed one of the hillsides.
Wang Jimei’s team from the US NGO, The Nature Conservancy, wanted to change that.
"Our idea was simple - we wanted to do what we’ve been doing in the US for a long time, and put it into a Chinese context, under the Chinese system," Wang said.
But as Jiang Shiwei with the local forestry bureau explains, the Chinese system posed challenges.
"There’s no policy that allows an NGO to hold land ownership," Jiang Shiwei, deputy director of Pingwu County Forestry Bureau, said.
But doors were beginning to open for private entities to play a bigger role in conservation.
"Our county for example, the government scarcely has enough resources every inch of the land. We wanted to be the first in the country to try something new," Jiang said.
The conservation group and its partners in China were granted 50-year management rights of Laohegou.
The forest became China’s very first land trust reserve. Since then, they’ve imposed strict entry control to the forest, and established a baseline inventory of the wildlife here.
When the team started working here, they installed dozens of cameras just like this one in the forest, covering pretty much every square kilometer of the area. These cameras record valuable information on animal activities in the region.
Like this one - a giant panda devouring the remains of a takin, offering the first visual evidence that pandas are omnivorous.
"We are now having more encounters with wildlife during our patrols. That’s real progress," Liu said.
"I sometimes feel we are the center of the universe. Everybody in our line of work is coming to us, watching what we are doing in our little test field," Wang said.
With the hope, this tiny seed can grow into something big.
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