China offers experience to the world in ecological protection and development of mountains

BEIJING, July 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from on China’s experience in ecological protection and development of mountains:

In recent years, China has seen remarkable achievements in ecological protection and development of mountains, which provides useful experience to the rest of the world in promoting sustainable development, said Wen Anbang, director and researcher of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in an article released by the Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (BCAS, in Chinese), a think tank journal supervised and sponsored by CAS, which focuses on strategic and decision-making research.

According to the article, China is a large mountainous country, where the mountain area is about two-thirds of the land area. The past 10 years have seen the coverage rate of mountain forest and grass vegetation increasing by 8.2%. The average value of mountain green coverage index has reached 82.1%, and the annual soil erosion in mountain areas has decreased by 27%.

By now, "the backbone system of mountain ecological security barrier in China has basically formed, an efficient mountain disaster prevention and control system has been continuously improved, and remarkable results have been achieved in mountain disaster reduction," the article notes.

Meanwhile, "a historic accomplishment has been achieved in poverty alleviation of mountain areas, the industrial structure in mountain areas has been significantly optimized, and the modernization process has steadily advanced."

To build a modern socialist country in an all-round way, and to achieve modernization featuring harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature and modernization along the path of peaceful development, the article indicates, both the ecological protection and development of mountains are of equal importance.

China has committed to building safe, green, prosperous, and beautiful mountain areas. To keep the natural advantages of the mountainous areas, it is suggested to improve the investment mechanism for ecological engineering and to make mountain areas a secure shield for ecological security. It is also important to strengthen basic research of mountain ecological environment and disaster prevention and control, and scientifically respond to the challenge of global climate change.

The article also discloses that the development of mountainous areas has generally undergone four main stages: infrastructure improvement (1949-1978), accelerated development (1979-1999), rapid development (2000-2011), and better development (2012-present). Guided by the philosophy "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets," and inspired by the national strategies such as rural vitalization and poverty elimination, China has seen a comprehensive transformation of landscape in mountain areas.

Specifically, the area of mountains in China account for 64.9% of the total land area in the country, however, there is relatively less suitable land for development, and mountain areas are still inhabited by about 330 million people. Therefore, the conflict between limited land resources and the relatively large population have caused tension between people and land, which has always been a problem for the development in mountainous areas.

China’s natural landscape splits along the Heihe-Tengchong Line, also known as the Hu Line. The Hu Line, an imaginary line drawn by Chinese geographer Hu Huanyong in 1935, divides the population density of China. It stretches from Heihe city in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province to Tengchong county in southwest China’s Yunnan province. According to the report from, 94% of the Chinese people live east of the line, an area of 43% of the country’s total territory.

As mountain areas in China are much more complex and difficult in development than in other areas, and the development levels vary due to regional differences between mountain areas, the author articulates in this paper that this means it not only needs to make distinctive and differentiated development plans for the modernization of mountain areas of China, but also should have distinctive and objective development laws and identify scientifically phased development tasks.

Therefore, according to Wen, the strategic arrangement for socialist modernization of the mountain areas in China is presented as the following "two-step" plan: from 2020 to 2035, the mountain areas east of the "Heihe-Tengchong Line" will generally achieve socialist modernization, while those west of the line will strengthen the efforts to "shore up weak links, laying a foundation, move fast not to fall behind," which means, the country should strike a balance between disaster prevention, reduction, and relief, and economic and social development, to build a new concept and system for disaster risk management; from 2035 to the mid-21th century, the mountain areas east of the ‘Heihe-Tengchong Line’ will comprehensively achieve higher-level socialist modernization, while those west of the line will realize socialist modernization in general.

To meet the results, the article suggests the government should establish distinctive, technology-enabled, and competitive industrial categories tailored to local conditions that are suitable for agriculture, tourism, animal husbandry, or commerce wherever possible, thus achieving industrialization of mountain areas through specialization and technologies.

Moreover, it is necessary to study the path and model of modernization of mountain areas in China, and formulate a comprehensive plan for their modernization, and to achieve a coordinated planning for mountain areas across the country, thus guiding high-quality coordinated development of mountain areas.

For years, China has set up a field observation database and worked out a zoning map on mud-rock flows and landslide hazards, established a series of mountain disaster calculation methods with international influence, and developed a set of theories on mountain disaster prevention and mitigation applicable to developing countries and regions along "the Belt and Road" and disaster prevention and control technology systems for different protection objects, which has had significant international influence in the research of resistance to natural disasters.

China offers experience to the world in ecological protection and development of mountains

Source: China offers experience to the world in ecological protection and development of mountains