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An assessment of the Ecological Conservation Redline: unlocking priority areas for conservation

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journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2022, 17:00 authored by Wenze Yue, Bi’ou Feng, Qiushi Zhou, Ronghua Xu, Mengmeng Li

Protected areas (PAs) are established to conserve wildlife habitats and biodiversity. To this end, the Chinese central government has initiated a pioneering environmental planning and management policy known as the Ecological Conservation Redline (ECR). While the ecological benefits of ECR policy have been extensively evaluated, spatially explicit assessment of the ECR remains understudied. Here, we propose an element-function-structure framework for assessing the concurrence of ECR areas and ecological conservation hotspots to further outline priority areas for conservation. Results show that 67% of existing PAs are protected by ECR areas, while that of ecological corridors is only 11%. Regional variation in the ECR representativeness can be leveraged by deliberately protecting tailored ecological conservation hotspots in specific locations and stepping stones in ecological corridors. This study highlights the substantial space for ecological management to achieve the goals of ECR policy, and discourses on the co-production of knowledge from researchers and policy makers.