National Park Development in China: Conservation or Commercialization?
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The rapid development of parks and ecotourism in China has attracted worldwide attention, not only for the beauty of the landscape that the parks are protecting but also for their abundant and often unique biodiversity. However, in some areas, the development of ecotourism has actually led to the degradation of local ecological, economic, and social systems. Using National Forest Parks for demonstration, this article analyzes the current political, institutional, legal, environmental, and economic issues concerning National Parks in China, and examines their potential future development. Although the intention of National Park systems in China is to raise environmental quality, and to protect biodiversity and social livelihoods, their success has varied. Future success will be measured by their capacity to reduce poverty, to promote long-term rehabilitation of wildlife habitats, and to simultaneously protect Chinese culture and biodiversity.
KeywordsNational Parks Conservation Natural resources Degradation Ecotourism China
Financial support from the Fujian Province Government Key Science and Technology Foundation, China; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada; and the Namkoong Family Fellowship is highly appreciated. The valuable comments provided by Dr. Hu Chunzi, Director General of China National Park Office and the reviewers, are acknowledged with thanks; as is the assistance with mapping provided by Dr. Tongli Wang.
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