Yunnan Governor Qin Guangrong will sign an agreement this Saturday with US-based conservation group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) that will lead to the creation of 10 new national parks in China, according to a report in The Salt Lake Tribune.
Qin will sign the agreement in the American city of Salt Lake City, Utah, which is currently hosting the National Governors Association conference. No details have been provided regarding the location of the new national parks or when they will be established.
China currently has only one national park, Pudacuo National Park (普达措国家公园), located in northwest Yunnan.
In 2008 TNC's Yunnan Program Deputy Director Jerry Chen told GoKunming that more national parks may be established in Yunnan once China is ready to build a national park network.
National parks are different from nature reserves in that they do not only protect the plants, animals and other natural resources of an area, they also serve to raise public awareness and appreciation of nature.
"It is hoped that Pudacuo will serve as a model for future parks," Chen said. "The provincial government of Yunnan has plans to open more national parks in the coming years."
In addition to cooperating with the central, provincial and local governments on Pudacuo National Park, TNC has also been involved in conservation projects in several other areas of Yunnan, some of which may soon end up becoming national parks. These areas include Laojun Mountain, Lashi Lake, Meili Snow Mountain, Shangri-La Gorge and Northern Gaoligong.
Qin is being hailed in US media as "China's Teddy Roosevelt", referring to the US president who gave the American national park system an important early boost in the first decade of the 20th Century.
Charles Bedford, TNC Deputy Managing Director for North Asia, praised Qin's efforts to push expansion of China's national park system forward.
"For him to get sign-off from the national government, and then for him to ask us to help design that network is big news," Bedford said.
Signing this weekend's agreement will help burnish Qin's reputation as one of China's more environmentally minded local officials. In the past Qin has gone out of his way to publicly reach out to environmental organizations.
"The government has the same goals with the NGOs in terms of environmental protection. They don't have a hostile relationship. They can communicate and cooperate on environmental and biological diversity protection," Qin told an audience of local and international environmental nongovernmental organizations in Kunming in 2008.© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.