Rare Plant and Animal Species Find Sanctuary in PRC's Tropical Rainforest

Biodiversity corridors have been introduced in threatened tropical areas of Yunnan province, People's Republic of China, with support from the Asian Development Bank. The program is ensuring the survival of rare plant and animal species, while eco-farming practices provide local communities with sustainable livelihoods.

Source: ADB.org

Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China (PRC). A strategic trade hub neighboring Myanmar, Lao PDR, and nearby Thailand and Viet Nam, and one of the most biodiverse areas in the country.

SOT: Jin Chen
Director General
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Gardens Chinese Academy of Sciences
"Xishuangbanna is a rare tropical area in the PRC. Its biodiversity includes one-fourth of the country's animal species and nearly one-seventh of its plant species. It's the richest area of biodiversity in the country."

Until the early 1980s, Xishuangbanna's economy was based on traditional farming methods. Most land was still covered by tropical rain forest.

Today, large scale commercial agriculture dominates the landscape. Rubber plantations alone cover a quarter of the land.

While bringing new prosperity, the environmental impact has been severe. Nearly two-third of the tropical rain forest has been cleared, and unique biodiversity lost.

Things are changing now, as efforts are being made to preserve the region's biodiversity. With support from ADB's Greater Mekong Subregion program, biodiversity corridors have been introduced to connect nature reserves.

SOT: Xianming Guo
Deputy Director
Research Institute, Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve Management Bureau
"The basic function of the corridors is to meet the basic needs of wildlife as they move among different habitats. So a corridor should have food, water and consummate places for wild animals. These are the main factors for their survival."

Four corridors have been developed in the area, and community activities like eco-farming practices, and environmental education introduced.

SOT: Laying Ai
Village Head of Mangxing Village (Mangao-Nabanhe Corridor)
Xishuangbanna Prefecture
"This is our eco-tea garden. We planted big trees here so that our tea sales could fetch a good price, and the entire mountain is covered by trees now."

A village development fund was also established.

SOT: Lianxian Zhu
Vice Director, Xishuangbanna, Menghai County Environmental Protection Bureau
"The village development fund from the project provides support for villagers when they are short of money and for livelihood development initiatives. Each family pays 50 yuan to the fund. People feel that the fund is helping them."

Much has been accomplised in the effort to protect biodiversity in the area. Yet, much remains to be done to sustain this success and keep pace with ever-expanding human development.

Last Updated: 1 September 2016