IUCN China’s Miyun watershed Research -- Informing Miyun Watershed Management

24 August 2009 | News story

 IUCN China’s Miyun watershed analysis, carried out by consultants of the Beijing Forestry University and the Chinese Academy of Forestry, shows there have been significant changes to the forest coverage and tree species composition in the Miyun watershed since the 1970’s.

Vegetation coverage of Miyun watershed has increased from 44.39 % of the total watershed land area in 1970’s to 65.10% in 2008, with particular increase in broadleaf forest and mix-forest and a decrease in grassland and agriculture land.

But despite the improved forest landscape, ecosystems are continually becoming more fragmented and isolated in the last 40 years. The research found that the forests in Miyun watershed are young, and has relatively low species diversity as most of the forests are monoculture conifers.

The researches also reveal that there are significant income differences between rural and urban populations within the watershed. One of the researches then identifies areas that need development assistance by assessing the gaps between the livelihood potentials and current income levels of these areas. It also propose some innovative ideas for establishing payment for ecosystem services schemes as one of the ways to appreciate the watershed values of forest ecosystems provide, and to provide greater economic incentives of resource conservation and sustainable development in the watershed.

These researches on Miyun watershed land-use change and geographic information analysis are part of the Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy (LLS), a global project that began in 2007 in China to restore the biodiversity and productivity of forest landscapes through Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR).

Using raw data on forest resources, landscape, water, soil information, as well as social economic conditions of the watershed, a GIS database is being established to support decision makers coordinated efforts in managing the Miyun reservoir watershed. These findings are significant supplements to the LLS pilot project in Miyun watershed, with its reservoir supplying water to 70 percent of the 17 billion people in Beijing, China.

The LLS pilot project which began in 2007 in Huayuan Village, Miyun, is aimed to reducing poverty through community forestry management and promotion of access to forest products and markets. Villages in and around the watershed is critical in nurturing the forests biodiversity, and contribute to the wellbeing of Miyun watershed.

This research will prepare the ground for the establishment of a multi-stakeholder group for cross-departmental and cross-provincial negotiation, is a key goal of LLS China before the end of 2010.

For more details of the report, please contact the IUCN China Office forestry program officer, Li Jia (lijia@iucn.org.cn).