National Wetland Policy: China

  • Zhang Manyin
Reference work entry


The diverse types of wetlands found in China range from those found in cold temperate to tropical zones, from plains to mountainous regions or plateaus, and from coastal to inland areas. The second wetland resource census of China indicates that the total area of Chinese wetlands is 53.6 million ha (excluding 30.06 million ha of paddy fields which are additional to this area), accounting for 5.58% of the national territorial area. Within this total area of wetland, the area of offshore and coastal wetland is 5.80 million ha, the area of river wetland is 10.55 million ha, the area of lake wetland is 21.73 million ha, and the area of constructed wetlands is 6.75 million ha. Significant change has occurred throughout history in Chinese wetland conservation and management policy. In the 1950s, due to the lack of food production, the Chinese government introduced a food production-oriented policy which led a large amount of wetland conversion into farmland. In the east-south region of China, the large-scale activity of reclaiming farmland from lakes resulted in rapid shrinkage of wetland extent while, in the coastal region of China, large amounts of mud flats have been converted into salt ponds, aquaculture ponds, and farmland. However, since 1992 when China joined the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Chinese government has started to pay increasing attention to wetland conservation and has established strategic targets and supporting administrative departments and support mechanism, introduced a large number of action plans, planning processes, rules, regulations and laws, and operated national-level wetland conservation and restoration projects. By January 2014, China had 577 wetland nature reserves and 468 wetland parks, among which 46 had been listed as Ramsar wetlands of international importance.


China Conversion Food production Conservation Intertidal Mountain Desert 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Wetland ResearchChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina

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