Each Chinese province, autonomous region and municipality is required to draw up an ecological map based on environmental functions. Western provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities are scheduled to complete the program within the next year, while eastern China will carry out their plans after a survey of the current state of the eco-environment is completed.
The Office of the Western China Leading Group, under the State Council, and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) promulgated The Provisional Rules of Ecological Functional Divisions in early September this year. The provisional rules worked out by the Ecological Environment Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are to direct and regulate the program throughout China.
The ecological functional division plan is China's primary program with respect to eco-environmental protection and eco-construction, following China's natural division and agricultural division programs.
According to the space distributing laws of regional eco-environmental factors, eco-environmental sensibility, and eco-service function, the division is to classify ecological locations based on environmental functions. "The purpose of the program is to provide a scientific foundation for regional eco-environmental protection and construction plans, appropriate use of regional resources, and protection of regional eco-environments," said a leading official from the Protection Department of SEPA.
According to sources from SEPA, the division will direct the economic development and industrial structural adjustment scheme for the major eco-functional divisions, creating a list of prohibited, limited, and encouraged industries.
Related experts said that indiscriminate exploitation of resources, has led to an over utilization of eco-environmental capacity, seriously troubling China's continually worsening ecosystems.
Through eco-functional divisions, people can begin to clearly understand the cause of eco-environmental problems facing certain regions, as well as the impact these factors have on social and economic developments.
While the relevant departments, organized by SEPA, completed surveys of the current state of ecosystems in western China last year, Gansu has been chosen as a pilot province for the first full implementation of the eco-functional division program.
(china.org.cn by Zhang Tingting September 29, 2002)