Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in headquarters of Huaihe river basin (HHRB) project

The Challenge

Lying in the transition zone between the warm temperate and semi-tropical zones of north and south China, the HHRB is a mixed, rich north-south biodiversity zone and a corridor for endemic migratory birds. HHRB region supports 5660 species of vascular plants, 5600 species of insects and 396 species of birds, including 4 distinct ecosystems: montane forest, wetland, river and agro-ecosystem.

In 2001, in recognition of its national biodiversity importance, HHRB was designated by SEPA (now MEP) as one of 50 Important Ecological Function Areas (IEFAs). Despite its rich biodiversity, HHRB faces considerable ecological challenges like serious water pollution, illegal timber exploitation, habitat degradation and the over-exploitation of plants and animals for Chinese medicine.

The Response

The project aims to reduce biodiversity loss in China as a contribution to sustainable development. It seeks to do so by demonstrating practical mechanisms to mainstream biodiversity in China’s IEFAs.

Also, given the existing high levels of poverty within the HHRB, conservation efforts could inadvertently have adverse effects on economic activities. The project therefore addresses poverty issues when mainstreaming biodiversity in IEFAs with strategies to work closely with relevant stakeholders at national, provincial and local level to address barriers to mainstreaming biodiversity conservation.


Since its inception in 2009 the project has thus far:

  • Formulated the “Guidelines for Development of the Biodiversity Friendly Based Land Use Planning of Xinyang Municipality”, which has subsequently been applied in the revision of land use planning in Xinyang Municipality.
  •  A set of standards entitled “The Technical Standards for Monitoring Biodiversity and Ecological Functions in HHRB Key Ecological Function Zones” has been created and distributed to provide guidance for better biodiversity monitoring.
  • The “Technical Evaluation Guidelines for Biodiversity-Friendly Poverty Alleviation Investments Inputs and Implementation”, has been created and distributed. They are now being employed in the evaluation of Xinyang Municipality’s poverty alleviation investments.
  • Ten demonstration sites covering forestry and agriculture biodiversity conservation techniques have been constructed. Research has begun on an incentive scheme to promote the dissemination and use of these techniques.
  • Promotional activities have included the creation of the “China Huaihe” website, and a communication column was added to the China Biodiversity Partnership Framework website to promote information exchange concerning the project.

Who finances it?

Donor Amount
US$ 2,727,200
Government US$ 10,355,000

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