Examining Health of Wetlands with Multiple Ecosystem Services as Targets in China’s Coastal Regions

Yangming Zhou, Yuehan Dou, Xiubo Yu*, Li Zhang*, Chong Huang, Yuyu Wang, Xiaowei Li, He Li, Yifei Jia, Martha Bakker, Gerrit Jan Carsjens, Yan Zhou, Houlang Duan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Coastal zones are key interconnectors of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Due to the degradation and fragmentation of coastal wetlands, there is an urgent need to develop assessment methodology to compare the health of wetland ecosystems at different spatial scales. This will help efficiently develop and implement protections using easy-to-access ecosystem health data. This study aims to understand the spatial distribution of coastal and inland wetland health for China’s coastal regions. A Wetland Health Index (WHI) was developed to provide a basis for policy and decision making. Four utilization models—Long Term Model, Open Model, Nature Reserve Model, and Protected and Economic Model—were defined in the context of China’s coastal regions to specifically examine wetland health. Results show that the average WHI score was 63.6 with the range of 44.8–84.3 for 35 National Nature Reserves (NNRs), and the southern NNRs generally performed better than the northern NNRs. The wetlands in the southern provinces/municipalities are relatively healthier than their northern counterparts. The competent authority has slight influence on WHI scores but duration of conservation establishment does not show a clear correlation. With increasing economic activity, the differences in health conditions (WHI scores) of China’s coastal regions also increase. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or economic intensification does not relate to WHI scores. Appropriate trade-offs between wetland management and economic development could contribute to improve health conditions, conservation and utilization of coastal and inland wetlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-613
JournalChinese Geographical Science
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • coastal zones
  • ecosystem services
  • Wetland Health Index (WHI)
  • wetland utilization

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