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December 13, 2012

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City tries to preserve wetlands for birds

THE Shanghai Greenery Bureau is negotiating with land developers in the Dongtan wetlands of the Pudong New Area to preserve for migratory birds some areas set to be turned into farmland, officials said yesterday.

The bureau also hopes to stop hunting in the wetlands area, an important place for the birds to rest and feed.

The area has recorded up to 249 bird species, but the number of migratory birds has been falling in the area this year. In that time, reed marshes have disappeared and land has been planted with vegetables.

"We are researching how to combine wetlands protection with agricultural production," said Xie Yimin, a senior official with the bureau.

Xie said 300 hectares has been restored as wetland since the bureau started ecological restoration in 2009, but he denied that the drop in migratory birds is due to the loss of wetlands, as it is "a global trend" and the area is just one stop for the birds.

Yao Li, director of the Shanghai Wild Bird Society, said the biodiversity in the region would be damaged if it is turned into a farmland or pastures.

Migratory birds will be threatened with no source of food, Yao said.

This land that is the subject of the negotiations is not included in the 122 square kilometers in Pudong where hunting of birds is banned.

Officials plan to expand land reserved for wild animals in the coastal areas of Pudong's suburbs and set up six to eight protected habitats for animals including migratory birds in the next three years.


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