China's plant resources need additional protections

Sep 07, 2011

China needs to change where it sites its nature reserves and steer people out of remote rural villages toward cities to protect its valuable but threatened wild plant resources, according to an article published in the September issue of BioScience.

The article, by Weiguo Sang and Keping Ma of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Botany and Jan C. Axmacher of University College, London, lists seven strategic steps that are needed to secure the future of China's , which the authors say are not effectively conserved by the country's existing protected areas. Many of those areas exist only on paper and are located far from Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, where rare species are found in the largest numbers, according to Sang and his coauthors.

Protected area managers in many cases currently lack basic data about which plant species are present on their reserves and even the exact area and extent of the reserves. Consequently, the effects of China's rapid economic development, the related spread of , and the growth of tourism could drive to extinction species that could be sources of future crops and medicine.

Apart from creating well-enforced reserves in appropriate areas and encouraging the rural poor, who often overexploit plant resources, to move into cities, China should develop accurate data on threats to its , develop specific management and monitoring plans for the most threatened, and encourage sustainable eco-tourism that does not damage plants, the BioScience authors argue. The country should also consider temporary protection of very in botanical gardens and expand funding and training for traditional taxonomy, as well as experimental ecosystem laboratories and management.

Explore further: Scientist discovers populations of rare songbird in surprising new habitat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Miscanthus adapts

Jun 06, 2011

An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy finds that natural populations of Miscanthus are promising candidates as second-generation energy sources because they have genetic variation that may in ...

Threats to wild tigers growing

Jun 01, 2007

The wild tiger now occupies a mere 7 percent of its historic range, and the area known to be inhabited by tigers has declined by 41 percent over the past decade, according to an article published in the June 2007 issue of ...

China's economic boom sparks biological invasions

Apr 01, 2008

The rapid growth of China’s industrial and transportation infrastructure is helping to establish non-native species throughout that country and “setting the stage for potentially rampant environmental damage,” according ...

Recommended for you

Nestling birds struggle in noisy environments

Oct 29, 2014

Unable to fly, nestling birds depend on their parents for both food and protection: vocal communication between parents and offspring helps young birds to determine when they should beg for food and when they should crouch ...

The secret life of the sea trout

Oct 29, 2014

Jan G. Davidsen and his graduate students are spies. They use listening stations and special tags they attach to their subjects to track their movements. They follow their subjects winter and summer, day ...

Giant tortoises gain a foothold on a Galapagos Island

Oct 28, 2014

A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once dwindled to just over a dozen, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Española, a finding described as "a true story of success and hope in conservation" ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.