Special Reports

Stanford Researchers Help China With Their Ecological Initiative


China is changing its image as one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases to an environmentally mindful nation. In order to do that, it has been identifying and preserving places that are considered ecologically important with the help of Stanford researchers.

China is has started to put their 21st century ecological initiative to work by identifying places that have high ecological importance. In fact, the government has already invested $100 billion and has been paying around 200 million people for the last 10 years in its conservation efforts. Moreover, it is testing a new metric called the Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) which measures the effect of nature to the well-being of the people.

However, China wants to bring their current efforts to the next level by creating harmony between the well-being of the people and the prosperity of the society for the long-term. The government has been identifying areas with high ecological values with the help of an eco-mapping software developed by Gretchen Daily, researcher and a biology professor at Stanford University.

The areas are chosen based on their ability to sustain life, such as climate stabilization, water purification, flood control, sand control, biodiversity, and soil stabilization - all of which are important in the life support service of China.

The team has already identified their top priority areas which include Nanling, the Yangtze River, Wuyi and Min-Zhe-Gan mountains, and the south of Yunnan.

Daily said that the initiative is not about 'putting a price tag' on nature but to help the government make well-informed decisions in every venture, such as urban planning and creating infrastructures. She also expressed her hopes that other nations will follow China's efforts into creating ecologically-informed decisions.

Daily, who is also a fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for Environment, said that human survival depends on the value we get from nature.

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