The Yangtze River is the largest river in China, with a total length of 6,300 km and a drainage area of 1.8 million km2. Over 400 million people live in the Yangtze River basin. The river has significant impacts on the environment of the East China Sea.
The Government of China is faced to significant costs regarding floods and degradation of ecological conditions in the Yangtze River basin. As a response, the application of Ecosystem Function Conservation Areas (EFCAs) approach has been initiated not only to increase water retention capacity and reduce sediment loads, but also to provide benefits in biodiversity, carbon sequestration, sustainable land management.
Efforts have been made to establish two demonstration sites to increase water retention capacity and reduce sediment loads, coordinate sector programs, protect biodiversity, and increase carbon gains in an integrated manner.
A system of EFCAs with multiple environmental benefits has been set up in the upper basin of the Yangtze River. In each demo site province, a committee with representation from major stakeholders presided by the provincial government coordinate all the activities in the project.
Based on the results of the demonstration activities, the Chinese Government is expected to replicate the project results throughout the Yangtze upper river basin in the future. Monitoring and early warning information system has been established in the 2 demo sites: Baoxing, Sichuan; and Laojunshan, Yunnan.
The project took the advantage of positive natural and political conditions to speed up the implementation. To sustain the integrated management of the Yangtze River Basin watershed areas and conservation of biodiversity, it is crucial that the MEP mainstream IEM in the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP).
The project has received the Government of China’s high priority. Nature conservation in the upper Yangtze River Basin region has never received as much attention and support as it does today, with planned investment of $9.29 billion in the next five years.
These resources, paying for rehabilitation and restoration measures, will be sector-based and led by the various ministries (Part of these rehabilitation and restoration efforts have established the baseline of investments that this project will build upon to achieve environmental benefits.