Hainan continues restoration of coastal marine environment

By Nicki Johnson / HICN / Updated: 17:26,16-March-2023

Recently, in southern China’s tropical island province of Hainan, mangrove seedlings have begun to sprout fresh leaves, covering 13 hectares of mudflats in Bamen Bay, Wenchang in a bright, cheerful spring green.

Mangrove seedlings sway in the wind at Bamen Bay, Wenchang, Hainan. (Photo: Hainan Daily App)

Mangroves defend the coastline against being battered by storms, inundated by tsunamis, or slowly eroded by the relentless action of waves and rising sea levels.

Located on the northeast coast of Hainan Island, the city of Wenchang is often where typhoons first make land. According to Huang Hongshan, deputy director of the Wenchang Municipal Natural Resources and Planning Bureau, the city has been increasingly focused on marine ecology restoration over the past several years, with several projects underway including the “Blue Bay” comprehensive ecological restoration project as well as other mangrove ecology restoration work. Around 33.36 kilometers of coastline, 215.98 hectares of mangrove forests, and 169.39 hectares of water in wetland regions have already undergone restoration.

“After the mangroves were restored, the environment improved, attracting more and more travelers,” said village resident Fu Shipei. These days, quite a few of the locals have opened fishing-themed entertainment businesses in Bamen Bay.

Improving the environment has led to quite a few added benefits, and not just in Wenchang. In the race to protect the environment along over 1,900 kilometers of Hainan’s coastline, the baton is being passed from Yugu Port, Danzhou to Xiaohai, Wanning, and from Yulinzhou, Dongfang to Tielu Port, Sanya.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Planning of Hainan Province, since 2019, the province has put a total of 2.86 billion yuan (USD 0.4 billion) of central and provincial funds towards environmental protection, finishing 15 and planning 10 new marine ecological restoration projects.

By the end of 2022, Hainan had already restored 126.59 kilometers of coastline. By clearing out fish farm ponds and barren tidal flats, the province has made way for lush, green mangrove forests and other types of coastal wetlands, significantly improving the marine ecological environment.

Haikou's Dongzhai Port mangrove nature reserve has become an excellent habitat for many species of birds. (Photo / Feng Shuo)

Hainan’s marine ecological environmental protection and restoration has produced tangible benefits. In May, 2022, the island’s first blue carbon ecological product transaction was completed. That transaction was for over 3,000 tons of carbon sequestered over the past five years, valued at over 300,000 yuan (USD 43.5 thousand) when purchased by Zijin International Holdings. The proceeds will be used for the management and protection of the mangroves in the area and public welfare projects benefiting surrounding communities and schools.



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