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Identifying ecologically valuable and sensitive areas: a case study analysis from China

Wang, Yan, Gao, Jixi, Zou, Changxin, Xu, Delin, Wang, Lixia, Jin, Yu, Wu, Dan, Lin, Naifeng, Xu, Mengjia
Journal for nature conservation 2017 v.40 pp. 49-63
biodiversity, case studies, economic development, ecosystem services, environmental factors, remote sensing, sand, soil, water conservation, windbreaks, China
The expansion of artificial constructs with the rapid economic development in China has led to ecological and environmental emergencies. The extent of the decline in natural resources and environmental conditions has recently been recognized. Identifying “ecological protection redlines”, i.e. ecological limits, to guarantee ecological baselines for natural resources and ecosystem service functions would therefore help to coordinate economic development and to protect ecological resources in the coming years. We used remotely sensed and climatic data to delimit the ecological protection redlines for Zibo, a typical and important city in Shandong province, as an example to illustrate the principles and methodology of ecological protection redlines. The area of the ecological protection redlines for Zibo encompassed 1132.26km2, accounting for 18.98% of the total area of Zibo, were mainly distributed in the southern regions of the municipality, and consisted of extremely important areas of ecosystem service functions, including water conservation, both soil and water conservation, windbreaks and sand fixation, and the conservation of biodiversity. This area is extremely sensitive, and development is forbidden. Strict measures of management and control should be implemented to protect the long-term effectiveness of ecological protection redlines.