By Ping Lun
China is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
It has two national botanical gardens, the China National Botanical Garden in Beijing and the South China National Botanical Garden in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province, which serve as the country’s biodiversity conservation bases, reserves of strategic plant resources, and virtual platforms for botany communication.
The two national botanical gardens play a vital role in biodiversity protection and mirror China’s firm resolution and concrete actions to turn Earth into a beautiful and biodiverse homeland.
The China National Botanical Garden is home to over 17,000 plant species, including nearly 1,000 rare and endangered ones. In particular, it has introduced 24 species of spruce worldwide, more than half of all the varieties. “Niche” plants in botanical gardens, including the Chinese fringe tree, beauty bush, and Cornus kousa, have become popular in the botanical garden these days.
More than 2,000 kilometers away, the South China National Botanical Garden has introduced more than 1,100 plant species since 2022. It now houses over 17,500 conservative plant species, ranking among the top five globally.
Biodiversity makes Earth full of vigor and vitality and lays the foundation for human survival and development. Protecting biodiversity helps protect Earth, the homeland shared by all, and contributes to humanity’s sustainable development.
China has made unprecedented efforts to advance ecological progress and has recently attached high importance to biodiversity conservation.
It has continuously strengthened biodiversity mainstreaming, applied a system of ecological conservation red lines, established a protected areas system with national parks as the mainstay, carried out major biodiversity protection projects, and conducted the most stringent enforcement and supervision. Many rare and endangered species have been placed under adequate protection, and the ecosystem’s diversity, stability, and sustainability have kept improving. The country has found a path of biodiversity protection with Chinese characteristics.
The Chinese path to modernization is a process of harmony between humanity and nature. Respecting, adapting to, and protecting wildlife is essential for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects.
In 2021, an epic trek of a herd of wild Asian elephants from southwest China’s Yunnan province attracted global attention. Recently, new information about these animals has been released. The elephants are healthy, and new members have joined the herd, known as the “short-nose family.” It has split into two groups and explored different areas.
While the number of Asian elephants is on a decline globally, their expanding population in China marks a signature achievement of the country in ecological progress and biodiversity conservation.
Besides, the status of wild giant pandas in China has been downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable,” the population of crested ibises, a rare bird species, has increased from seven in 1981 to more than 9,000. Today, it’s not rare anymore to see the migration of Tibetan antelopes or Yangtze finless porpoises swimming in the river.
These stories precisely indicate the new progress made by China in biodiversity conservation.
The conservation of biodiversity calls for higher social awareness and participation. A documentary about China’s ecological progress titled No Poverty Land II – A Treasure Trove was aired on multiple streaming platforms. Many of those who watched it were moved. They commented that sustainable development is the path to a “no-poverty land.” Millions of people are working in this country to safeguard the splendid nature. Their stories also encourage more people to learn and participate in biodiversity conservation.
China has established a long-term mechanism that draws broad participation from enterprises, public institutions, social organizations, and the public, which nurtures a sound environment and strengthens citizens’ consciousness for biodiversity conservation.
Today, China is still facing challenges in biodiversity conservation. Reverse biodiversity loss remains a daunting task that needs to be completed with joint efforts and immediate actions. China will continue to modernize its biodiversity governance system and capabilities and work to improve natural ecosystems and provide more eco-environmental products to achieve a virtuous cycle of natural ecosystems. The country is believed to meet people’s growing demands for a beautiful environment.