UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Moving toward a Greener China: Is China’s National Park Pilot Program a Solution? Sheng, Gonghan; Chen, Heyuan; Ferretti-Gallon, Kalifi; Innes, John L.; Wang, Zhongjun; Zhang, Yujun; Wang, Guangyu


National parks have been adopted for over a century to enhance the protection of valued natural landscapes in countries worldwide. For decades, China has emphasized the importance of economic growth over ecological health to the detriment of its protected areas. After decades of environmental degradation, dramatic loss of biodiversity, and increasing pressure from the public to improve and protect natural landscapes, China’s central government recently proposed the establishment of a pilot national park system to address these issues. This study provides an overview of the development of selected conventional protected areas (CPAs) and the ten newly established pilot national parks (PNPs). A literature review was conducted to synthesize the significant findings from previous studies, and group workshops were conducted to integrate expert knowledge. A qualitative analysis was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot national park system. The results of this study reveal that the PNP system could be a potential solution to the two outstanding issues facing CPAs, namely the economic prioritization over social and ecological considerations that causes massive ecological degradation, and the conflicting, overlapping, and inconsistent administrative and institutional structures that result in serious inefficiencies and conflicts.

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