Hangzhou a pioneer in wetland protection
The venue of the Chinese celebrations for the day. [Photo/zjol.com.cn]
A promotional event for the 27th World Wetlands Day was held at Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Feb 2, focusing on wetland restoration.
"Ninety percent of the world's wetlands have been degraded or have disappeared," said Musonda Mumba, Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, in his address, also noting that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests.
Wetland restoration is a matter that needs urgently addressed. Hangzhou is fully aware of the problem and has been a leader at finding solution for two decades.
The Xixi National Wetland Park is the answer. There, the balance between wetland protection and utilization has been found using the so-called "Xixi wetland protection model", making it the first and only national wetland park in China that integrates urban wetlands, agricultural wetlands, and cultural wetlands.
By October 2022, the amount of area in Xixi where visitors can visit free of charge had expanded to 5.79 square kilometers, up from 2 sq km when it first opened in 2005. The park has received more than 50 million visitors in total.
However, the ecology and biodiversity of Xixi Wetland has not been affected by human activity. In the past 20 years, 819 new species of vascular plants, 421 new species of insects and 127 new species of birds have been found there.
"Xixi Wetland is the epitome of Hangzhou's wetland protection and restoration efforts over the years," said an official from the Hangzhou forestry and water resources bureau. "Hangzhou has abundant rivers, lakes, seas and streams, which together make up the 134,300-hectare wetland, accounting for 8 percent of the city's total area.