, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 96–99 | Cite as

China’s Bureaucracy Hinders Environmental Recovery

  • Lixin Guan
  • Ge Sun
  • Shixiong Cao


Ecosystem restoration efforts have become a booming business in China. Billions of dollars are being spent annually to restore polluted waterways and ecosystems that have been degraded, fragmented, or paved over (Fu et al. 2007; Wang et al. 2007). However, China’s environmental sustainability index remains among the lowest in the world (World Bank 2009; Liu 2010). For all the money spent, there is little evidence of the overall effectiveness of China’s efforts to enhance environmental sustainability. For example, soil erosion by water has expanded to cover more than an additional 1,000 km2 of land annually over the past 30 years (Wan et al. 2005). More than 60% of China’s large lakes are eutrophic, and the water quality has declined in >50% of its rivers (Fu et al. 2007). Recent water assessments suggest that pollution has been increasing in northern China, and a water crisis is, therefore, emerging. Water resource problems alone cost 2.3% of China’s GDP in 2008 (World...


Central Government Environmental Restoration Environmental Sustainability Index Environmental Carry Capacity Effective Environmental Management 
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This study was supported by the Open Projects Foundation of Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Combat of Ministry of Education (201001). We thank Geoffrey Hart in Montréal, Canada, for his help in writing this article.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Soil and Water Conservation and CombatBeijing Forest UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment CenterUSDA Forest ServiceRaleighUSA

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