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China

Places We Protect: Songshan National Nature Reserve

The Nature Conservancy helped transform Songshan into a world-class nature reserve.


Just a 90-minute drive from the capital of China lies the 11,500-acre Songshan National Nature Reserve. The rich biodiversity of this — the first national level nature reserve near Beijing — makes it a chosen destination for millions who want to experience nature.

Visitors come to the reserve in hopes of spotting one of the four nationally protected species found here — the golden eagle, imperial eagle, golden leopard and black stork — or some  of the hundreds of other animal species who call the reserve home. Hiking trails meander through hundred-year-old Chinese pine forests, freshwater streams and dramatic rock formations.

Even city dwellers who don't visit the reserve in person benefit from the natural benefits the reserve provides. These include cleaner air, freshwater storage and dust storm prevention.

Songshan’s beauty and location have made it increasingly popular — and vulnerable. The high number of visitors coupled with a lack of science-based planning and ecotourism regulations have had a significant impact on the biological health of the reserve.

Model of Effective Conservation

To ensure long-term protection of this important ecosystem, Songshan was selected as one of China’s 51 model nature reserves by the Chinese State Forestry Administration and will be showcased by the Chinese government as a “conservation window” to the country’s nature reserve system. In this way Songshan will be a part of the Chinese government’s mission to turn Beijing into an ecologically friendly city.

At the request of the Chinese government, The Nature Conservancy helped transform Songshan into a world-class nature reserve that will safeguard the rich habitat and species it encompasses.

The Conservancy’s key accomplishments at Songshan — and all of the 51 model nature reserves in China — include:

  • Planning for the future. Using the Conservancy’s Conservation Action Planning method to identify key conservation targets, threats and specific strategies to improve biodiversity health.
     
  • Preparing a new generation. Training new land managers to protect and monitor biodiversity on an ongoing basis.
     
  • Improving the natural experience. Developing ecotourism and education plans to increase standards in tourism management, improve infrastructure and enhance the visitor experience in the reserve.

In partnership with the Chinese government, the Conservancy will continue to improve the overall management of the Songshan National Nature Reserve, address challenges common to protected areas around the world and create a model of effective conservation that will set a standard for other nature reserves throughout China. 

Photos

Photo Contest Slideshow

See some of the incredible photographs entered into the "Nature Reserves of China, Through the Viewfinder" photo contest.

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