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Wise Use of Wetlands: Current State of Protection and Utilization of Chinese Wetlands and Recommendations for Improvement

Wang, Yanxia, Yao, Yong, Ju, Meiting
Environmental management 2008 v.41 no.6 pp. 793-808
developing countries, funding, industry, laws and regulations, managers, sustainable development, wetlands, China
Wetland protection and utilization sometimes appear to be in conflict, but promoting the wise use of wetlands can solve this problem. All countries face the challenge of sustainable development of wetlands to a greater or lesser extent, but the problem is especially urgent in developing countries, such as China, that want to accelerate their economic development without excessive environmental cost. Chinese wetlands contribute greatly to economic development, but improper use of these natural resources has endangered their existence. It is thus necessary to provide scientific guidance to managers and users of wetlands. In this paper, we analyze the present status of Chinese wetland protection and utilization, and discuss problems in six categories: a lack of public awareness of the need for wetland protection; insufficient funding for wetland protection and management; an imperfect legal system to protect wetlands; insufficient wetland research; lack of coordination among agencies and unclear responsibilities; and undeveloped technologies related to wetland use and protection. The wise use of Chinese wetlands will require improvements in four main areas: increased wetland utilization research, scientific management of wetland utilization, improved laws and regulations to protect wetlands, and wider dissemination of wetland knowledge. Based on these categories, we propose a framework for the optimization of wetland use by industry to provide guidance for China and other countries that cannot sacrifice economic benefits to protect their wetlands.