China National Parks for People

Key Themes:
  • Power and Legacy
  • Interdependence and Inclusivity
  • Operational and Funding Models

Helping to balance economic development and environmental protection in China.

About the project

The challenge

Economic growth in China has relied on the consumption of natural resources which has led to widespread environmental degradation across the country. In recent years, providing access to clean water, safe food and fresh air – basic human needs – for the people of China’s megacities is becoming increasingly challenging.

China’s new ‘Beautiful China’ and ‘Ecological Civilisation’ concepts indicate that the nation’s leaders understand the challenge and want to balance economic development with environmental protection.

In November 2013, the Chinese government announced its intention to explore the establishment of a national park system, as part of its 13th five-year plan. These new national parks aim to improve nature conservation and provide benefits to people. But the current and biggest challenge to implementation is a technical one: where and how to draw these ecological ‘red lines’ to achieve this balance?

The response

The Luc Hoffmann Institute (LHI) China National Parks for People project has supported the new national park institutions and provided the latest knowledge to help guide their efforts. The project has linked research to policy in an opportune ‘policy window’ given China’s national drive to achieving its eco-civilisation vision.

The impact

The project has collaboratively produced a roadmap for ecosystem services governance in national parks that partners intend to use in forming new guidelines being established to manage the pilot phase of the new national park system.

Project partners

State Research Council (National Development Reform Committee), WWF, IUCN, Beijing Normal University, Luc Hoffmann Institute.

Project leaders

Dr Siyuan HE (LHI Fellow), Dr Wang Lei (WWF China), Prof. Su Yang (State Research Council, NDRC), Dr Cheng (Beijing Normal University), Dr Louise Gallagher (Geneva University).

Project development

The proposal was submitted in response to a call for projects to the WWF Network in early 2014. It was selected by the LHI team because of the window of opportunity to conduct research in support of a specific policy process.

Start date: September 2015
End date:   September 2017

Want to get in touch?

Email the project team at
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