Degraded Ecosystems in China: Status, Causes, and Restoration Efforts

Ren, H., W.J. Shen, H.F. Lu, X.Y. Wen and S.G. Jian

Publication Date:

The total area of China is about 9.6 million km2. Among the terrestrial ecosystems, cropland area is about 1.33 billion ha, 78% of which is degraded land; forestland area is about 1.75 billion ha, 72% of which is forest deterioration; grassland area is 3.99 billion ha, 90% of which has already degraded. Derelict mining land area is about 6 million ha, which is increasing by 12,000 ha/year. So far, only 8% of the total derelict mining land area has been reclaimed. A total lake area of 1.3 million ha has been lost since 1950; 50% of the coastal wetlands has been reclaimed. The mangrove area has declined from 40,000 ha in 1957 to 18,841.7 ha in 1986. With a total of 0.18 billion ha of water area, over 50% of it has been polluted to type III–V in terms of the Chinese Water Quality Standard Classification System. Oceanic area is about 4.73 billion ha, over 1.6% of which is also polluted. The reasons for the deterioration of China’s environment are diverse, such as the pressure of a large population, industrialization, and its markets. The deterioration of the ecological index has already affected the current economic index and prospective economic growth directly and obviously.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Landscape and Ecological Engineering