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Wetlands Decrease by 50.8 Thousand km2 in 10 Years in China
Researchers from the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Beijing Normal University, announced recently that China’s first nationwide remote sensing map of wetland distribution has been completed. The latest research shows that, compared with 1990, the total area of wetlands had decreased to 308 thousand km2 in 2000, which means that 50.8 thousand km2 wetlands had disappeared in the ten years. Known as species-rich gene pool, natural wetlands can provide habitats for a large number of micro-organisms, wetland vegetations, fish and wild birds. The reduction of natural wetlands means the loss of the species and important ecological functions mentioned above.

Studies prove that a large number of wetlands in the Dongting Lake region and the Sanjiang Plain, both of which were the largest wetland reserve respectively in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and Northeast China in the 1950s, have been converted into agricultural land. In the economically developed areas such as the Pearl River Delta Region and the Yangtze River Delta Region, many wetlands have been converted into construction land directly. While the total area of wetlands is significantly reduced, the area of artificial wetlands is increasing. A large number of artificial wetlands have been constructed in the developed areas of East China for aquaculture. However, artificial wetlands can not play most of the ecological functions of natural wetlands.

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