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China to improve grassland protection, restoration

Updated: Mar 30,2021 08:14 PM    english.www.gov.cn

China will strengthen protection and restoration for grasslands and further develop ecological civilization, according to a circular released by the State Council on March 30.

The evolutionary changes and inner mechanism of grasslands should be respected to facilitate recuperation and a safe and stable natural ecosystem. Comprehensive measures should be taken to fully protect and systematically restore the grassland ecosystem. Measures should be adjusted according to local conditions. Based on a well-protected ecosystem, grassland resources should be scientifically utilized.

As the circular said, a preliminary system for grassland protection and restoration should be established by 2025, when grassland deterioration is fundamentally curbed. By 2035, the system will be further improved. The comprehensive vegetation coverage for grasslands should stabilize at about 60 percent. In the middle of the century, all degraded grasslands will be comprehensively treated and restored. By then, the grassland ecosystem will achieve a virtuous circle. A new pattern of harmonious coexistence between human and nature will be formed.

The grassland survey system should be improved. Base numbers, including grassland types, ownership, area, distribution, quality, and utilization status should be clearly identified. A basic file of grassland management should be established.

A monitoring and evaluation team for grasslands should be set up and improved, along with corresponding technique and standard systems.

Grassland functional partitions, protected objects, and management measures should be clear. Herdsmen settlements should be planned reasonably to prevent deterioration in the surrounding grasslands.

The most basic and essential grasslands safeguarding national ecological safety and ensuring a healthy development of pasture animal husbandry are designated as basic grasslands, according to the circular. Basic grasslands require more stringent protection and management.

Grassland nature reserves should be built to protect biodiversity.

Vegetation and soil recovery on deteriorating grasslands should be accelerated to improve grassland ecological and production functions. The government will encourage building more artificial grasslands.

Monitoring and early warnings for biohazards should be strengthened. Emergency plans for a grassland fire should be improved.

Protection and restoration of forests and grasslands, as well as desertification control, should be promoted as a whole. Deteriorating grasslands featuring vulnerable ecosystems and important ecological positions should be treated with priorities.

A national protection and utilization system for grass germ plasm resources should be established, along with an improved technical system for grass germ plasm resources collection, preservation, assessment, innovation, and information sharing.

Pastoral areas should pursue a balance between forage and animals. The livestock structure should be optimized and the number of grazing animals should be cut down. The standard of scientific breeding and grazing management should be raised to reduce stocking pressure on natural grasslands.

Measures should be taken to strengthen contracted operation of grasslands, like nailing down the rights of ownership and usage, stabilizing the right of contracting, and loosening the right of management.

Paid use of State-owned grassland resources will be further reformed.

In addition, grassland resources will be applied to multifunctional use and green and low-carbon industry will be developed. For example, tourist attractions and resorts on grasslands will be exploited to promote grassland tourism and ecology-based health industry. The low-income population in grassland areas is encouraged to participate in grassland protection and restoration and gain an increase in incomes.

Technological innovation in grasslands will get support from the national science and technology plan. Key technologies and equipment will be developed and promoted for choosing grass varieties, producing grass seed, restoring degraded grassland vegetation, building artificial grasslands, and preventing grassland pests, and professionals in grassland science will be cultivated to give corresponding support.

International cooperation and exchanges on grassland protection and restoration should be strengthened, to help the country integrate into global ecological governance.

The government will boost fiscal support to grassland development. The central government’s transfer payments to key ecological functional zones will be increased. Financial institutions will be encouraged to develop financial products suitable for grasslands. Social capital will be supported to set up a grassland protection fund to be involved in grassland protection and restoration.

Also law enforcement in key grassland areas will be strengthened.

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