The Yellow River basin is the cradle of the Chinese civilization. The middle and lower reaches of the basin have sustained large human populations and rich biodiversity for millennia. This video summarizes the challenges of balancing development and conservation, detailing the results of a two-year project (2022-2023) supported by the Asian Development Bank to prepare the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for the Yellow River in Henan Province.


Originating in the Bayankala Mountains in the far west of the People’s Republic of China, the Yellow River flows for more than 5,000 kilometers before reaching the Sea.

The Yellow River is an example of the urgent need for environmental protection and sustainable development.

Of its total length, about 711 km of the river flow through Henan Province, where it supports urban and rural communities. 

The Henan section of the river basin supports vital breeding and wintering habitat for many plants and wild animals, especially for rare migratory waterbirds.

However, these important values are facing severe challenges, from decades of intensive development, excessive utilization of water resources, climate change, and other pressures.

The Henan government has strengthened environmental governance, focused on ecological restoration, supported scientific research and smart monitoring, to conserve the Yellow River’s unique ecosystem and to help achieve sustainable development.

Supported by a grant from the Asian Development Bank, the Henan Forestry Administration has been executing a transformative project from 2021 to 2023.

This has enabled a team of national and international experts to analyze the biodiversity values of the Yellow River basin in Henan Province, and to prepare a biodiversity strategy and action plan for this exceptional area.

This initiative is the first of its kind for the basin. It includes a range of actions to improve policies and regulations for biodiversity conservation, to strengthen the connectivity of protected areas, and to enhance the capacity of local agencies for conservation.

It will provide guidance and a strong framework for biodiversity conservation elsewhere along the Yellow River.

Biodiversity conservation also relies on the support and participation of the public.

There are many opportunities for the public to be involved, to help record waterbirds and volunteer efforts to help ecological restoration. 

The project is part of a large program between the Government and ADB, called the Yellow River Ecological Corridor Program. This program is assisting the Government to strengthen the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin.

The innovative project work in Henan Province and the basin program will provide a model example for other basins in the People’s Republic of China and also Asia and the Pacific region.