Problems and Prospects of the Chongming Dontan Ramsar Site

Problems and Prospects of the Chongming Dontan Ramsar Site

Name: Su Zhelong UtasNum: 144362 SOUNum: 0991340 Word Count: 1846 KGA 378 Long Essay: Pressures, Problems and Prospects of the Chongming Dontan Ramsar Site I. Introduction From the pre-industrial period to post-industrial period, the problems caused by environment deterioration always come with the great economic growth and significant technical promotion. To equilibrate social development and environmental health puzzles people all over the world at present while poverty still affect one fifth of human population after the population explosion and accelerating urbanization.

The contradiction typically occurs in the coastal zones, which are under the pressure from population growth, pollution, over-exploitation of resources and habitat degradation due to these areas hold approximately half of the world’s population. In China, the whole country is fueled by “powerful social and economic forces” that are “promoting individual development and land reclamation” (Yang, 1999; Yang et al. , 2001 cited in Zhao et al. , 2004). This author focused on the Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site as a case to discuss its pressures, problems and prospects in the development dilemma of the changing world.

Chongming Island is the third largest island in China(1200km2) and the largest alluvial island in the world that located in north of Shanghai city. As a migratory staging and wintering site for millions of birds and spawning and feeding grounds for 63 species of fish, Chongming Dongtan provides important ecological services with its extraordinary resources. (Zhao et al. , 2004) The essay used SWOT analysis process to evaluate the ecological situation of Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site, therefore, the article discussed this issue from four main aspects: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

II. SWOT Analysis: Strengths The strengths of Chongming Dongtan Ramsar site can be concluded as three respects: geographic advantages, abundant resources and biological diversity. Firstly, the Chongming Dongtan is the most large-scaled and well-developed tidal wetland and the mouth of the river. It is located in the easternmost Chongming Island that formed by the sediment accumulation from the runoff of Yangzi River. Moreover, the Dongtan is still increasing in size by about 500 ha annually to the East Ocean through the deposition of sand. (Zhao et al. 2004) This position, the coastal area in the center of Yangzi Delta, is the midpoint along the only way that must be passed of migratory birds in Pacific Asia that many birds stop here to take rest and food when they pass by in spring and summer. Besides, it is also a wintering site for millions of birds because of its moderate climate (Shi et al. , 2001). Secondly, the extensive tidal-flat area and hierarchical distribution make the Dongtan rich in both inorganic and organic resources. The luxuriant aquatic plant and massive plankton provide adequate food for birds and reptiles.

As a habitat, especially in winter, the widely flourishingly growing reed is very suitable to perch and hatch for birds. Lastly, the Dongtan site has amazing biological diversity that 63 species of fish including the rare animal which is on the verge of extinction – Chinese sturgeon and 108 species of migratory birds. The total number of the birds aggregates three million which is the tenth of China and quarter of Shanghai area. III. SWOT Analysis: Weaknesses Since 1960s the Chinese, both government and civilians, started to exploit the Chongming Island, the total annual ecosystem service values in Dongtan keep declining until today.

Especially after the reform and open, the fast industrialization and economic development accelerate the environmental degradation in Dongtan. Just between 1990 and 2000, the total ecosystem service values had reduced 62%, which was largerly attributable to the 71% loss of wetlands and tidal flats. (Zhao et al. , 2004) According to relative research, the main reasons, also the weakness, of Dongtan are mostly from two aspects: the depletion caused by overdevelopment and inning and the water discharge pollution. From 1964 to 2001, there were more than 20 times of inning activity that occupied over 14198. hm. The inning activities becomes increasingly frequent and large-scaled that result in the wetlands/tidal flats shrunk from 12,432 ha in 1990 to 7915ha in 1997, and 3856 ha in 2000. In contrast, the orchard /plant nursery had increased from 80 ha in 1990 to 3863 ha in 2000. (Zhao et al. , 2004) The detailed situation of land structure changes had been listed in the following tables: Tables from Zhao B. , Kreuter U. , Li B. , Ma Z. , Chen J. & Nakagoshi N. , 2004, An Ecosystem Service Value Assessment of Land-use Change on Chongming Island, China, Land Use Policy, Volume 21, pages 139-148.

In addition, the reed regions area fell off from 2039. 78 hm to 810. 17 hm and the salt marsh area decreased from 539. 27 hm to 391. 43 hm. Influenced by the changes, many birds are forced to leave the original habitat so that the total number of birds dropped with the tidal reduction. These irrational distributions of land use broke up the ecosystem balance and caused high rate of environmental services loss that will bring serious negative ecological consequences in long term. The shortsighted activities will finally limit the development of the area and lead to economically costly outcomes.

The other weakness of Dongtan site is the water quality degradation because of the sewage discharge. There are 16 township enterprises use 166. 67 tidal lands to initiate ship dismantlement factories, which produced serious water pollution with waste oil and Toxic chemical substances that make the large-area reed withered or dead. Particularly in the combined concentrated sewage discharge outlets, the water quality of both the intertidal and offshore was polluted by the heavy metal contamination and organic pollution (PAHs and LABs). Shi et al. , 2001) from almost three million m3 sewage per day is discharged to the coastal zone water body. Compared with the industrial centralized sewage discharge, the non-point pollution from urban runoff, agriculture and aquaculture contributes much more significant percentage of the total pollution. Despite these two factors, poaching activities and wetland grazing also wreck the environmental heath of Dongtan site in different degrees. IV. SWOT Analysis: Opportunities

In 1992, the Chongming Dongtan had been put in the Chinese Protected Wetland Dictionary while it was brought into The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and other international important wetland lists. The Dongtan sites undertake the functions of environmental damage resisting, environment purifying and maintain the biological diversity. Due to its great meaning for sustainable development of multiple regions, the Shanghai City made decisions of constructing Chongming Island into the largest ecological island in China.

The Chongming Dongtan Wetland Nature Protection Area, Chongming Dongtan Migratory Birds Nature Protection Area of Shanghai and Chongming Dongtan Wetland Park had been established in succession. The foundation of these protection areas will effectively retard the environmental degradation in Dongtan site and promote the environmental quality through policy and integrated management. At the same time, in order to lighten the pressure of exploit on the wetland, the government has built a convenient communication network to stimulate the tourist industry and economic growth.

The overall plan of Dongtan transport system development has four parts: * Freeway traffic: the G40 line, important part of national highway network that connects East China and North China, will cross the Chongming Island through Shanghai Yangzi River Tunnel; * Rail transit: the subway 9th line will reach the Chengjia Town in Chongming Island across the Yangzi River; * Water traffic: dork construction along the south band of the Yangzi River; * Air traffic: the parking apron for helicopter in the International Forum Island, which is in the south of Dongtan Avenue, has been built already.

To deal with the water pollution from sewage discharge, the Chongming ecological construction plan states that the wetland sewage treatment project is under building. This project aims to concentrate both industrial and sanitary sewage to purge before discharge to improve the water quality of the area. Three of the 9 programmed sewage disposal works had been accomplished and come into service. The total sewage treatment system includes sewage collection network, preprocessing system and artificial wetland processing system. The treated water can be directly discharge into the farmland or irrigate plants.

This sewage treatment system can handle 6 million tons of water per day that is the biggest sewage disposal work in Chongming Island. V. SWOT Analysis: Threats The last section is to analysis the potential problems or threats to the future development of the Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site. As the arguer had mentioned before, the Chongming Dongtan is formed by the sand sedimentation from the water flow of the Yangzi River. Thus the area of the wetland/tidal flats still keeps increasing because the sedimentation process continues to bring solid matter.

However, the water conservancy construction in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, like the Three Gorges Hydropower Station and . projects to divert water from the south to the north, substantially diminishes the sediment charge of the current while the water flow does not change. Less sediment concentration slows down the speed of wetland and tidal flats increasing. Corresponding, affected by the storm surge, many coastal areas have been widespread eroded. The problem will become more and more serious if no measures are taken.

Every year, thousands of fishing vessels gather from different provinces to Chongming Dongtan to fish for eels. The massive fishery activity invades and occupies the habitat of birds and brings significant pollution like noise of motor and engine oil. The geese and ducks overwintering has been serious disturbed that they could not foraging and perch safely and peacefully. The frail ecosystem that is lack of unified management has been wantonly destroyed from the immoderate seining. (Yin, Jiang & Li, 2008)

In addition, the local plants like scirpus mariqueter and reed provide necessary food and habitat for migratory birds. Notwithstanding, the invasive alien species like spartina is growing in extreme abundance and snatching resources from local plants while these invasive alien species cannot take place of the local plants’ functions. (Yuan et al. , 2003) Therefore, if the reed has be instead of the invasive alien species, the species and quantity of the bird will sharply decrease thus the environmental services of tidal flats are not functioning properly.

VI. Conclusion In conclusion, after the SWOT analysis of the Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site, the author had summarized the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The pressures of the Dongtan mostly come from over exploit, resource depletion and human-made pollution from many aspects especially the sewage discharge. The reduction of wetlands/tidal flats caused by enclose tideland for cultivation and less sediment concentration in water flow of Yangzi River and immoderate seining are the major problems for the protection area.

However, a number of measures taken by the government of Shanghai City, for instance, the foundation of three natural protection areas, integrated high speed communication network and sewage treatment works, will make remarkable difference to the present situation. The author considered the poor management of Dongtan site as the primary restriction to limit its development. Thus, applying the integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) will be a proper solution to develop and protect the Dongtan and its resources.

By uniforming a common objective of national and local authorities, the ICZM will promote the way of coastal area using and balance the demands from natural, economic, cultural and social needs. (Shi et al. , 2001) VII. Reference O? Connell M. , 2000. , Threats to Waterbirds and Wetlands: Implications for Conservation, Inventory and Research, Wildfowl, Volume 51, pages 1-15. Shi C. , Hutchinson S. M. , Yu L. & Xu S. , 2001, Towards a Sustainable Coast: An Integrated Coastal Zone Management Framework for Shanghai, People? Republic of China, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 44, pages 411-427. Tian B. , Zhang L. , Wang X. , Zhou Y. & Zhang W. , 2010, Forecasting the effects of sea-level rise at Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve in the Yangtze Delta, Shanghai, China, Available at: http://www. sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/S0925857410001709 [Access at May 15th 2012] Yin H. , Jiang W. & Li J. , 2008, Simulation of Non-Point Pollutants Evolution in Coastal Plain Island-A Case Study of Chongming Island, Available at: http://www. sciencedirect. om/science/article/pii/S1001605808600530 [Access at May 15th 2012] Yuan W. , James P. , Hodgson K. , Hutchinson S. M. & Shi C. , 2003, Development of sustainability indicators by communities in China: a case study of Chongming County, Shanghai, Available at: http://www. sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/S030147970300063X [Access at May 15th 2012] Zhao B. , Kreuter U. , Li B. , Ma Z. , Chen J. & Nakagoshi N. , 2004, An Ecosystem Service Value Assessment of Land-use Change on Chongming Island, China, Land Use Policy, Volume 21, pages 139-148.