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February 3, 2012

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Wetland park makes a splash nationally

A HAVEN for water birds and plant life on Chongming Island is to become the city's first country-level wetland park, forestry authorities said yesterday.

Xisha Wetland Park covers 3 square kilometers and admission is free.

A wooden path running through it allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of reed beds and other plants and observe water birds and other wildlife.

The Shanghai Forest Bureau said the park is multifunctional, serving for scientific research, sightseeing and ecological environment protection.

This multipurpose role led to Xisha Wetland Park achieving national wetland park standards.

Meanwhile, officials said the bureau will this year try to find out how much wetland Shanghai has.

When this was last measured a decade ago, the city had 320,000 hectares of wetland - five times the size of downtown.

At that time, about 96 percent of Shanghai's wetland was in coastal areas.

To get an up-to-date figure, the bureau will use GPS and remote sensing techniques. The results will help establish a database for wetland management.

Shanghai has rich wetland resources which have been recognized as a significant area of sensitive ecology by environmental groups.

About 70 to 80 percent of wildlife in Shanghai lives in the wetland area, including more than 400 species of birds, 250 kinds of fishes and 300 species of aquatic plants.

Wetlands also provide stopovers for migrating birds.


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