BEIJING, March 1, 2016 – The World Bank approved a US$3 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) last week, aimed at helping create the ecological conditions for recovery of threatened biodiversity in China’s Northeast, with a focus on amur tigers.
“The project will take a landscape approach. It will establish ecological corridors connecting nature reserves to provide habitat for the conservation of large populations of key biodiversity while decreasing human-wildlife conflict,” said Garo J. Batmanian, World Bank’s Lead Environmental Specialist in China and project team leader. “This innovative approach will enable the co-existence of multiple land uses, from biodiversity conservation, to economic activities such as farming and forestry.”
The Landscape Approach to Wildlife Conservation in Northeast China Project will focus on the following actions:
- integrating wildlife conservation considerations into economic development planning and sectoral policies and planning frameworks in targeted landscapes;
- enhancing the effectiveness of protected area and network management;
- increasing wildlife carrying capacity through restoration, expansion and connectivity of critical habitats, including the expansion of biodiversity-friendly landscapes adjacent to protected areas;
- promoting more effective patrolling and monitoring in both protected areas and the greater landscape to reduce mortality of flagship species; and
- reducing human-wildlife conflict by increasing benefits to and buy-in from local communities for wildlife conservation.
The project will be implemented in the Changbaishan area in Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces by the provincial forest agencies under the coordination of the State Forest Administration. It is home to the few remaining amur tigers in the wild in Northeast China. The beneficiaries will include rural population living in the project area and government agencies responsible for forestry, wildlife conservation and natural reserve management.
The GEF grant will be complemented by US$17.58 million in co-financing that comes from the national, provincial and local governments and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The project will be implemented between 2016 and 2019.
Amur tiger is the largest of the six existing sub-species of tigers. The total population in the wild is estimated to be only 400 individuals. The number of amur tigers in China is estimated to vary from 18 to 22 individuals, which wander back and forth across the boundary with Russia.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.