Nature conservation in China.
Four phases are recognized in the history of nature conservation in China; in the first phase, there was a gradual loss of biotic diversity and reduction in geographical range of many species; development accelerated these processes in the second and third phases, but public awareness has led to the integration of ecological, economic and social aspects in development during the fourth phase. Eighteen laws were promulgated between 1979 and 1988, but enforcement remains problematical. The number of species protected has increased to 148 plants (by 1980) and 379 vertebrates (by 1989). By 1987, there were 481 nature reserves, with a total area of c. 23 × 106ha, 2.5% of the land area of China. Urban nature conservation is becoming increasingly important. It has multiple objectives, relating not only to the preservation or rehabilitation of the carrying capacity and biological mechanisms of ecosystems, but also to general environmental quality, pollution prevention, education and public recreation.