A visitor poses for photos at a garden in Nanqiang Village, Boao Town, Qionghai City of south China's Hainan Province, March 25, 2019. (Photo:Xinhua)
South China's Hainan Province established a management agency on Monday, marking the official start of a project to designate a new tropical rainforest national park, which is expected to cover one-seventh of the island.
The management model for the park could serve as a guide for the future designation of a marine national park in the waters of the South China Sea, observers said Tuesday.
Local authorities have established a tropical rainforest national park administration bureau, and are proposing that an area of 4,400 square kilometers in the middle of the island should be designated for the park, however, detailed plans are awaiting approval from higher levels, an employee with the Hainan Forestry Department told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The national park boundaries will encompass nine cities and counties in the province, including five national and three provincial natural reserves, said the Hainan Daily on Monday.
The project is still at a pilot stage until 2020 when the government will decide if it will continue with the plans for such a large national park, according to the employee.
The park will be part of measures intended to enhance and maintain the authenticity and integrity of local ecosystems. There will be a big data center with a focus on protecting and restoring rainforest resources to strengthen local ecological service functions, according to the Hainan Daily.
The park and its administrative model would be a trailblazer for the country as it seeks to designate a maritime ecology national park in the South China Sea, a new way to safeguard its territorial integrity through a softer approach, Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the Hainan-based National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Chen said that it is almost inevitable that these areas will be connected under a national park scheme, which will spread natural conservation facilities into the country's territorial waters in the South China Sea, so borrowing experience from the rainforest management agency will be valuable and necessary.
Chen stressed that designating a marine national park in the South China Sea will greatly enhance the country's environmental and ecological protection in the area, which is in line with the consensus reached by regional neighbors, as there is dire need for cooperation on the matter.