1,600 hectares of wetlands reappear in Beijing


On September 17th, the 11th "Beijing Wetland Day" is observed, with the theme for 2023 being "Restoring Degraded Wetlands, Enhancing Wetland Ecosystem Stability". According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry, since the start of the 14th Five-Year Plan, the city has restored a total of 1,600 hectares of wetlands, roughly equivalent to the area of about 2.35 Olympic Forest Parks.

According to the "People's Republic of China Wetland Protection Law," by the end of 2022, the wetland area in the city had been 60,900 hectares, among which classified wetlands covered 31,000 hectares, including shrub swamps, inland shoals, and forested swamps, and categorized wetlands covered 57,900 hectares, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and ditches.

Due to factors such as climate change, population growth, and urban development, the wetland area in Beijing experienced a sharp reduction. In recent years, the city has implemented the strictest wetland protection system and made every effort to restore and construct wetlands. Since the 14th Five-Year Plan, the city has restored and created a total of 1,600 hectares of wetlands.

Zhang Zhiming, director of the Department of Wildlife and Wetland Conservation at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry, explained that following the principle of "planting trees and creating wetlands in line with environmental conditions so that forests and water can mutually complement each other," Beijing has incorporated wetland restoration and construction tasks into the new round of the Million Acre Afforestation and Greening Action Plan.

Simultaneously, in conjunction with comprehensive ecological management of river basins, ecological management of small and medium-sized rivers, and the construction of sponge cities, the city has intensified its efforts in wetland protection and restoration. In the central urban area, it has promoted the construction of small and micro wetlands and rainwater wetlands as part of the sponge city construction, completing projects like the West Sea Wetland Park in Xicheng District and the small and micro wetlands in the Asian Games Village. In the plain areas, key regions like the urban sub-center, the new airport, and the Yongding River Basin have seen the development of large-scale forest wetlands, creating a natural ecological system where forests and water complement each other, thus addressing issues of "green but lifeless" and "forests without water." In ecologically-conserved areas and at the junction of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, the city is promoting the construction of wetland parks such as Yanqing Wild Duck Lake, Miyun Mujiayu, and Daxing Changziying. These efforts strengthen wetland conservation and further optimize wetland ecological functions.

In recent years, the city has established a comprehensive wetland classification system, providing habitats for nearly 50% of plant species and 76% of wildlife species in Beijing. These endeavors have turned Beijing into one of the world's most biologically diverse metropolitan areas.

In early 2023, a total of 18 wetlands in China, including the Wild Duck Lake Wetland in our city, were designated as "International Important Wetlands" in the International Wetland Directory. This extensive wetland, located in the northwest of Yanqing, encompasses various types of wetlands such as rivers, lakes, tidal flats, and ponds, playing crucial roles in conserving water sources, regulating rainwater, and mitigating pollution. Currently, 361 species of birds have been recorded in the Wild Duck Lake Wetland area, including 22 species under the national first-level protection and 61 species under the national second-level protection. Rare and endangered birds, such as the Red-crowned Crane and the Mandarin Duck, are also included.

Presently, Beijing has a total of 47 wetlands listed in the municipal-level wetland directory, covering an area of over 27,000 hectares, accounting for 46% of the total wetland areas in the city. The wetland protection system, primarily based on natural reserves, dominated by wetland parks, and supplemented by natural reserve communities, has been basically established.

Translator: BAI Jing

Reviewer: LI Xiaochun