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Helping China Rethink Its Approach to Conservation

March 17, 2017 |

This article was originally published on Yale Environment.  

“For Stanford University ecologist Gretchen Daily, nature isn’t only to be preserved for its own sake, but also for the value of the ecological services it provides, such as water filtration, carbon sequestration, and soil retention. Daily helped pioneer the concept of “ecosystem services,” and these days she applies those principles as she works with countries to develop land management strategies and determine which natural areas to prioritize for protection.

Most recently, Daily has worked with the Chinese government and Chinese scientists to evaluate and reimagine that country’s system of national parks and nature reserves. Their joint research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded in part by China’s Ministry of Finance, has shown that China’s current network of protected areas has failed to protect biodiversity and to provide vital ecosystem services.

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Daily explains how she and her Chinese colleagues have used advanced mapping software to plan a major expansion of protected areas, talks about restoring ecosystems to provide key services such as sandstorm prevention and flood control, and discusses how, as the country works to establish its first national parks system, Chinese officials are using scientists’ findings to develop a conservation strategy with communities in mind.  “There’s heavy competition for land anywhere you go in China,” says Daily. “It’s kind of a zero-sum game. There is no land that’s just vacant, doing nothing when it comes to human well-being or just securing biodiversity for its own sake.”…”

Read on at: Yale Environment.

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