Project insight 2018: Conservation and Management of Hengshui Lake, PR China
China is endowed with rich biological diversity. It hosts various ecoregions, which in turn are comprised of unique landscapes, ecosystems and habitats. Three of the 34 recognised global biodiversity hotspots are partly or completely located in Chinese territory. However, like in other parts of the world, the biodiversity of China is endangered. More than 27% of all species are categorised as threatened or endangered. Major underlying causes are the destruction of ecosystems and unsustainable use of natural resources, spurred by the rapid economic development, which has resulted in high demands for energy, water and land resources. Climate change, as already experienced particularly in northern China further aggravates the pressure on species and habitats.
Hengshui Lake is the second largest inland freshwater lake wetland on the North China Plain and is home to an outstanding biodiversity. In 2000, the Hebei Provincial Government approved the establishment of a wetland and bird sanctuary, which was upgraded in 2003 to the “Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve”. The reserve covers 296 km² and consists of 31% core area, nearly 26% buffer area and 43% so called ”experimental zone”. Most of the 72 villages of the area are located in the experimental zone. The Hengshui Binhu New Zone Management Commission (HNZ-C), which is administratively equivalent to a county government, is responsible for managing the area. Hengshui Lake is threatened by several factors including unsustainable agriculture and fisheries, and inappropriate water management. At the same time, the area has a high potential in terms of ecosystem services and nature-friendly tourism.
Although some considerable investments for the development of scenic tourism have already been undertaken, they have not been accompanied by sufficient funds to rapidly improve and strengthen nature conservation. To protect the biodiversity of the nature reserve effectively and to manage it on the basis of ecological and economic requirements, the HNZ-C initiated the “Hengshui Lake Conservation and Management Project”.
DFS is supporting HNZ-C in the implementation of the Project, covering the following contributions:
- Output 1: Elaboration and approval of Participatory Protected Area Management Plan, including the involvement of local communities living adjacent of the wetlands, through buffer zone development and co-management. Wetland management planning is conducted as an adaptive planning based on national standards and Ramsar guidelines.
- Output 2: Improvement of water management through the improvement of weirs, the re-shaping of the riverbed, the establishing of an aquatic vegetation cover using bioengineering methods and the monitoring and management of the sediment layer.
- Output 3: Improvement of wetland vegetation and habitat management. Balancing needs of the local communities with biodiversity conservation objectives by compensating restrictions in the use of natural resources through creating incentives for the sustainable use of the protected area, providing compensation (community development activities) and assisting in adopting nature-friendly practises.
Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri), one of the rarest bird species worldwide, breeding at Hengshui Lake
- Output 4: Development of an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) concept and of the required infrastructure, based on a Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) survey and adhering to close-to-nature approaches in wetland and landscape restoration / modification. The ESD concept comprises preliminary designs of (i) an interactive exhibition in the Visitor Centre, (ii) an "Experience the Wetland" circuit on Meihua Island, (iii) an Education Centre, (iv) an Information Center in the Lotus Garden and (v) the ecological rehabilitation of Sansheng Island, as well as programmes for 5 pilot schools.
ESD Infrastructure Concept – Overview
Sketch of environmental interpretation station
Meihua Island – design of outdoor / indoor labs
Meihua Island – example experience stations (haptic)
Meihua Island – example experience stations - tree crown walk
Meihua Island – example experience stations - forest walks
Visitor Information Centre – design overview
Visitor Information Centre – example interior design
- Output 5: Development and implementation of an integrated monitoring system for water birds, fish and wetland vegetation.
- Output 6: Improvement of community participation in wetland ecosystem and lake management through tourism, handicraft production from reed or cattail, and eco-sanitation to reduce pollution of both the lake and the groundwater.
- Output 7: Capacitation of protected area staff and other stakeholders in governance of the Hengshui Nature Reserve.
External links for further information:
- Protection of an important wetland - news from 2017-06-20 / KfW Development Bank “KfW promotes the management of Hengshui Lake in China”: https://www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/International-financing/KfW-Development-Bank/News/News-Details_421632.html
- Cooperation of the Project with the Baer’s Pochard Task Force in Hengshui:
- Chizhou-Xinghua Biodiversity Conservation and Development Project, Anhui Province (KfW);
- Fujin Wetland Park Biodiversity Conservation Project – Fujin Municipality, Heilongjiang Province (KfW);
- Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Project, Heilongjiang Province, Shandong Province and Zhejiang Province (GIZ): http://www.dfs-online.de/references/chn-15/
Further wetland management projects in China supported by DFS: