China will soon create its first national park in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. Pudacuo National Park will contain more than 20% of the country's plant species, about one-third of its mammal and bird species and almost 100 endangered species.
My former employer, The Nature Conservancy, played a major role in making Pudacuo National Park a reality. By doing so, it also
Increases conservation in the region by incorporating 10 times more land into an area that was formerly a nature reserve;
Introduces skilled park management techniques to help abate threats to biodiversity in the area;
Provides a source of environmental education for local communities; and
Provides economic benefits to local communities through park-related jobs and ecotourism.
The Conservancy supported the Chinese government's efforts to establish Pudacuo in June 2007 by introducing the concept of the national park system to officials and advising the government on how best to establish this kind of protected area.
And on a personal note, how cool is it to see the impact of your words halfway around the world?
“What…distinguishes this park [from a typical Chinese nature reserve] is that the local communities are already benefiting from it because they are preferentially employed for jobs within the park,” says Zhu Li, communications manager for the Conservancy’s China Program. “The national park system embodies the conservation ideal of ‘nature for people’ rather than ‘nature from people.’"
In the preamble to TNC's 2005 Annual Report, Nature for Life, I wrote: "Conservation today is about conserving lands and waters for people, rather than protecting nature from people."
Cool to see one's words carrying over the world and transforming the way we think about conservation, to connect people and nature in new ways and articulate the interdependency between nature and human well-being.
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