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Hainan province will seek greater cooperation with leading international institutions and think tanks as it creates a world-class ecological civilization zone using international standards, a senior environmental official said at a news conference on Monday.
While launching a large number of projects to help safeguard the top quality of its air, water and soil resources this year, Hainan will turn to ecologically excellent countries to learn from their experience and draw medium-and long-term plans for construction of the Hainan pilot ecological civilization zone, said Deng Xiaogang, director of the Hainan Provincial Ecology and Environment Department.
At a meeting in Beijing on Wednesday of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on deepening overall reform, the implementation plan for the (Hainan) National Pilot Ecological Civilization Zone was approved, along with a plan for Hainan Tropical Rainforest Pilot National Park.
The goal is to firmly establish and fully implement the concept of "green water and green hills are gold and silver mountains" and accumulate experience for the construction of ecological civilization across China.
Hainan has been vigorously promoting construction of the national rainforest park since last year, said Xia Fei, director of the Hainan Forestry Department.
Xia said Hainan will speed up the drafting of general and special plans for the development of the park, scientifically delineate borders and carry out a good registration of natural resources.
"The first batch of ecological relocations will start this year," Xia said. "The proposed tropical rainforest park would cover more than 4,400 square kilometers, with 39 townships in nine cities and counties, including Wuzhishan, Qiongzhong, Baisha, Changjiang, Dongfang, Baoting, Lingshui, Ledong and Wanning, all located in the middle of the tropical island."
He said that by 2020, Hainan is expected to complete all the pilot systems needed for building the tropical rain forest national park, the 11th for the country.
Before Hainan, China had set up 10 pilot national parks, involving 12 provinces and cities, including Qinghai, Hubei, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hunan, Beijing, Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Jilin and Heilongjiang.
Hainan has been chosen for its national strategic value of being a biological gene bank, said Xia.
As the only tropical island province in China, Hainan boasts rare rainforest resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. It has more than 4,000 vascular plants, of which more than 600 are unique to Hainan. There are more than 2,500 kinds of medicinal plants, and more than 800 kinds of medicinal plants have high economic value. There are more than 20 species of rare plants protected at the national level.
Hainan has drawn a red line of special protection around 27.3 percent of its land area and 35.1 percent of its sea area, where construction that will harm the local environment strictly forbidden, even if it might bring economic benefits to the island, said Ding Shijiang, director of the Hainan Provincial Natural Resources and Planning Department.