On the 2016 International Day of Biological Diversity, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) held a conference on “Biological Diversity in the South China Sea”. Scientists in the field of biodiversity, heads of environmental authorities, and other NGO partners from the country and abroad participated in the meeting.
In the past few years, the biological diversity and habitats in the South China Sea have suffered different degrees of destruction and degeneration under the influence of excessive human exploitation and global climate change, and the typical coral reef, mangrove and sea-grass bed ecosystems have been in sub-health status for many years, said Wang Xiaoqiang, vice-director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection of the State Oceanic Administration.
“Compared with the 1970s, the total area of the coral reef has declined by 80%, and that of the mangrove 73%. The overall condition is very serious. ” Mr. Wang said.
Xie Boyang, vice-Chairman of the CBCGDF, said, “According to a survey, people lack awareness and knowledge of the biological diversity, especially the marine biodiversity. It is of great importance to conduct more research and public advocacy on the biodiversity conservation in the South China Sea. ”
With the first public appearance as the vice chairman of the CBCGDF, Zhou Jian (former vice-minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and vice director of the Central Supervision and Inspection Group for Environmental Protection) also made a remark at the meeting to call for public participation in biodiversity conservation and improvement of the legal system and government policies.
Mr. Fred Dubee from the UN Global Compact made a speech on “biodiversity and leadership”.
Mr. Li Songhai, researcher of the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), illustrated the situation and challenges faced with the biodiversity conservation in the South China Sea with the example of the mammals living there. Particularly, Li made a detailed introduction of the sousa chinensis (Chinese White Dolphins) whose habitats in China have suffered serious destruction. In order to promote the protection of the white dolphins there, yesterday the CBCGDF declared the establishment of the China Conservation Area for sousa chinensis, which will be in the charge of the Blue Ocean Protection Association (BOPA) and the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, CAS.