Galliformes - barometers of the state of applied ecology and wildlife conservation in China.
Human population pressure is placing huge demands on China's environment. In recent years, the Chinese government has established a suite of programmes designed to meet these challenges and one such programme is the Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserves Development Programme launched in 2001. This is intended to safeguard the future of some of the country's highest profile and most threatened species. The avian Order Galliformes (pheasants and their relatives) are one such high-profile group and 38 of the 63 species that occur in China are listed as nationally protected. This is the most studied group of birds in the country and some of this research has contributed directly to informing conservation management and policy at all administrative levels. There are examples of communication and collaboration between researchers in China and those from other countries since the late 1970s. However, there is now a pressing need for increased and more structured collaboration to take advantage of current opportunities to strengthen applied ecology in China and thus provide greater scientific input to environmental policy and decision-making. Synthesis and applications. China is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and faces substantial environmental challenges because of human population pressure. Applied ecological research is increasingly informing policy and decision-making at all administrative levels. Strengthening China's applied ecology base therefore offers unprecedented opportunities. International collaborative research programmes have substantial potential to develop high quality research and train talented young Chinese researchers, both of which will substantially enhance the quality of science informing China's biodiversity conservation policy.