Chinese Nature Photograph

Nature for People, Not Nature from People
Pudacuo National Park is also an example for local Chinese governments of how a well-managed park can be both ecologically and economically valuable. For example, the park helps the local economy through providing neighboring residents jobs in park management.

“What…distinguishes this park [from a typical Chinese nature reserve] is that the local communities are already benefiting from it because they are preferentially employed for jobs within the park,” says Zhu Li, communications manager for the Conservancy’s China Program. “The national park system embodies the conservation ideal of ‘nature for people’ rather than ‘nature from people.’”

Tourism is another key aspect of Pudacuo's development. Nestled in the mountains of southwest China, the park is an integral part of the Three Parallel Rivers Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China’s most popular tourist destinations.

By helping the Chinese government properly plan for and manage tourism through this model national park, the Conservancy is providing the government with an opportunity to reduce the impacts of tourism and other threats to biodiversity in one of the world’s most ecologically valuable natural areas.

And the Conservancy has also worked with government officials, the academic community and non-profit partners to address the lack of adequate resources and training that prevent reserve managers from being able to effectively manage their parks.

“We are also working with communities inside and outside of the park to build participation through co-management, alternative energy, green building and ecotourism,” says Chen. “We want to abate the threats to biodiversity in this region and help communities benefit from the establishment of a national park."