Rethinking China’s new great wall


Zhijun Ma, David S. Melville, Jianguo Liu, Ying Chen, Hongyan Yang , Wenwei Ren, Zhengwang Zhang, Theunis Piersma, Bo Li

Journal or Book Title: Science

Keywords: biodiversity, wetlands, ecosystem services, China

Volume/Issue: Vol. 346, Issue 6212

Page Number(s): 912-914

Year Published: 2014


China’s position as the world’s second largest economy is largely due to its rapid economic growth in the coastal region, which comprises only 13% of China’s total land area, yet contributes 60% of the GDP. To create extra land for the rapidly growing economy, coastal wetlands have been enclosed by thousands of km of seawalls, whose length is close to that of China’s famous ancient “Great Wall” (see figure). This new “Great Wall”, covering over 50% of the total length of coastline along mainland China (1), caused a dramatic decline in internationally shared biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and will threaten regional eco-security and sustainable development. Here we outline these problems, analyze the drivers behind wetland reclamation, and propose measures for effective wetland management. 

DOI: 10.1126/science.1257258

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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