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Wetlands can purify water and provide food and shelter to migratory birds. They are among the Earth's top stores of carbon.
On Thursday, the Chinese National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) announced that 18 wetlands in China were designated in 2022 as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The 18 new sites include Beijing Wild Duck Lake Wetland, the nine turns and 18 bends on the Greater Khingan Range, and Baima Lake Wetland in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province. Following the expansion, the number of Wetlands of International Importance hit 82 in China, covering a surface area of 7.647 million hectares, the fourth largest in the world.
Feb. 2 marks the World Wetlands Day, which is the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The Ramsar Convention is an agreement dedicated to the conservation and rational use of wetland ecosystems.
This year's theme of World Wetlands Day is "It's Time for Wetlands Restoration," highlighting the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration. On Thursday, the NFGA released the results of the monitoring of the ecological status of wetlands in China in 2022.
The results show that the ecological status of the Wetlands of International Importance in China is generally stable, the total wetland area has increased compared with the previous year, there is a good trend in water quality, and the water supply status remains stable. China's wetland biodiversity has been enriched, with 2,391 plant species recorded.
During the 2016-2020 period, China allocated about US$1.47 billion to carry out 53 wetland protection and restoration projects, and over 2,000 wetland ecological compensation projects, projects to return farmland to wetlands, as well as wetland protection and restoration subsidy projects. The restoration of 467,400 hectares of degraded wetlands has been achieved, and 202,600 hectares of new wetlands were added.
Over the past decade, China has added or restored more than 800,000 hectares of wetlands. China's first specialized law on wetland protection took effect in June 2022. China became a party to the Ramsar Convention in 1992.
So far, more than 2,400 wetlands around the world have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance, also known as Ramsar Sites. Wetlands include natural and artificial water bodies on land, like rivers, lakes, swamps, rice paddies, and some coastal areas.
Known as the "kidneys of the Earth" and a reservoir of biodiversity, they can purify water and provide food and shelter to migratory birds. They are among the Earth's top stores of carbon, whose existence contributes to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
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