China, People's Republic of : Sanjiang Plain Wetlands Protection
The Sanjiang Plain comprises 108,900 square kilometers, where the Heilongjiang, Songhua, and Wusuli rivers are confluent in a vast alluvial floodplain in the northeast of Heilongjiang Province. The Plain is one of the most important grain production areas in the PRC. Supporting rich biological diversity, which includes 23 species listed in the World Conservation Union as globally threatened, the wetlands in the Sanjiang Plain are some of the most species-rich and endemic-rich ecosystems in Asia. However, the wetlands and forestlands have shrunk to one fifth of their original size in the last five decades because of increasing population and grain production, and flora and fauna in the wetland nature reserves (NRs) are threatened by farmland encroachment and water resource exploitation.
East Asia Department
Request for information
China, People's Republic of
- Agriculture, natural resources and rural development
|Project Name||Sanjiang Plain Wetlands Protection|
|Country / Economy||China, People's Republic of
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Grant
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Governance and capacity development
|Sector / Subsector||
Agriculture, natural resources and rural development / Water-based natural resources management
|Gender||No gender elements|
|Description||The Sanjiang Plain comprises 108,900 square kilometers, where the Heilongjiang, Songhua, and Wusuli rivers are confluent in a vast alluvial floodplain in the northeast of Heilongjiang Province. The Plain is one of the most important grain production areas in the PRC. Supporting rich biological diversity, which includes 23 species listed in the World Conservation Union as globally threatened, the wetlands in the Sanjiang Plain are some of the most species-rich and endemic-rich ecosystems in Asia. However, the wetlands and forestlands have shrunk to one fifth of their original size in the last five decades because of increasing population and grain production, and flora and fauna in the wetland nature reserves (NRs) are threatened by farmland encroachment and water resource exploitation. To protect these ecosystems while supporting the sustainable development of the area, the Project adopts a holistic model framework of watershed management by (i) rehabilitating and protecting degraded forests in the upper watershed areas, (ii) restoring and protecting wetlands NRs in the downstream areas, (iii) providing alternative livelihood to farmers, and (iv) strengthening the capacities of local agencies in charge of watershed wetland and NRs management. By developing and pilot-testing a model framework to protect wetland biodiversity while promoting the sustainable development of the areas, the Project will be instrumental in establishing a wetland protection program in the PRC that protects wildlife biodiversity effectively and generates employment and income in a sustainable manner.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||In the PRC, the Sanjiang Plain wetlands are one of the richest areas with globally significant flora and fauna, which are mostly concentrated in NRs. However, over time, they have lost their self-cleaning and generation capacity with a resultant decline in plant and animal biodiversity of global significance. Further, the wetlands' biodiversity is under constant threat by local communities exploiting biological resources for their livelihood through unsustainable farming practices at NRs, and the limited management capacity of NR staff. Recent government policies and plans are aimed at halting and reversing environmental degradation in the area. However, the policies need improvement to achieve a 'model for sustainable management of the wetland ecosystem as part of an integrated river-basin management policy. Heilongjiang is designated as one of the three environmental provinces in the PRC, and the provincial government (HPG) is looking for development opportunities that integrate watershed and wetland management in a sustainable way and that can be replicated throughout the Sanjiang wetland NRs and other areas with similar environmental conditions. The proposed Project will adopt integrated watershed management in the Sanjiang Plain for wetland and forest conservation, based on their potential to support ecologically sustainable economic development. It will provide a model framework that can be expanded for comprehensive, longer-term management of wetlands and biodiversity on a large river-basin scale.|
Improved management of natural resources to protect globally significant species and to sustain economic development.
|Description of Outcome||
Established integrated conservation and development model to protect natural resources of the Sanjiang Plain wetlands and their watersheds
|Progress Toward Outcome||An integrated conservation and development model to protect natural resources of the Sanjiang Plain wetlands and their watersheds was formulated.|
|Description of Project Outputs||
1. Watershed Management
1.1 Forest Improvement
Increased forest cover
Increased forestry-based income
Improved forest stand health and performance
1.2. Local (NR) Level Water Resource Management
Strengthened water resources management at the local level
Improved coordination among local stakeholder agencies for management of water resources
1.3. Watershed-Level Water Allocation Planning
Provision of adequate water to meet ecological water requirements in NRs
Integration of management of water resources at the watershed level
Incorporation of wetland protection criteria into flood management plans
2. Wetland Nature Reserve Management
2.1. Conservation Management
Improved conservation management practices with respect to wetlands and wildlife in NRs
2.2. Pilot Wetland Restoration
Decreased farmland area in core and buffer zones; increased total wetland area in NRs
Development of model for farmland to wetland restoration
2.3. Wildlife Species Recovery
Increased numbers of key threatened species in the six pilot NRs
Improved condition of wetland habitats and increased wildlife populations
Reduction in over-utilization of wildlife and plants in NRs, relative to the baseline
2.4. Reduction of Resource Exploitation
Reduction in illegal exploitation of targeted wetland species, and recovery of populations of target species in 6 NRs
Reduction in Illegal international trade in endangered species (closely linked with awareness activities in 4.2)
3. Alternative Livelihoods
3.1 Intercropping and NTFP
Sustainable income-generating opportunities for the persons affected by farmland-to-forest restoration program through intercropping
3.2. Ecologically Sustainable Alternative Livelihoods (for Wetland Protection)
Sustainable income- generating opportunities for the villagers affected by farmland-to-wetland restoration program
Creation of ecotourism opportunities for communities and NRs, without adverse effects on wetland habitats or key species
4. Capacity Building
4.1. Conservation Education (schools)
Increased knowledge about conservation issues, and about local NRs, among schoolchildren and teachers
Increased knowledge of conservation among general public around 6 NRs, including appreciation of importance of protecting endangered species
4.3.Wetland Management Training
Short-Term Technical Staff at six NRs and community leaders (including women leaders) with enhanced conservation knowledge and skills
Long-Term Professional NR managers in the northeastern PRC prepared to assume responsibility for ongoing management by end of the Project
4.4.Institutional and Behavioral Change
Internalization of sustainable environment principles and wetland conservation principles by key economic policy-makers and development planners at national, provincial, and county level
Changes in attitude and behavior among teachers, students, and community members
NR managers with greater sense of stewardship, strengthened conservation ethic
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)||
1.Component 1: Watershed management. This component funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) was generally successfully completed. A total of 10,090 hectare (ha) of new forestry plantations were completed, which is 85% of the total targeted area; and out of which 3,853 ha was farmland-to-forest conversion. 39,769 ha of existing young trees on existing forestry was treated and maintained, which is 91% of the total targeted area. The reason for the achievement less than the targets is the appreciation of Chinese yuan (CNY) against US dollar. Water resources management plans were incorporated in the master plans of all the six nature reserves. A water resources coordination leading group, including all stakeholders, was established at each of the six nature reserves; and functioned as a stakeholder working group for coordination for the inclusion of a water resources management plan into the nature reserves master plan. Discussions with the water authorities were conducted at an early stage, and local water allocation plan for the nature reserves and wetland protection criteria and management requirements were included in water allocation plans and/or water resources plans of relevant cities and counties. Through interagency coordination meetings organized by the Heilongjiang Provincial Water Resources Department, the Heilongjiang Provincial Forestry Department made recommendations on wetlands protection criteria, wetlands management, and water allocation; and these recommendations were reflected into two watershed-level water resources management plans: the Sanjiang Plain Water Resources Master Plan (which covers all six nature reserves) and the Songhua River Master Plan (which covers Anbanghe nature reserve). The two watershed-level water resources management plans were prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Water Resources for approval.
2.Component 2: Wetland nature reserve management. This component funded by GEF was generally successfully completed, although some performance targets and indicators were difficult to measure. Pilot farmland-to-wetland restoration was implemented in the six model nature reserves, and 3,441 ha of farmlands were restored to wetlands. Based on the pilot restoration, wetland restoration guideline manual was prepared and disseminated to all nature reserves in the Sanjiang Plain; and wetland restoration was conducted in six nature reserves other than the six model nature reserves using the manual. In the six model nature reserves, wetland restoration continued after the pilot wetland restoration; and wetland areas increased by 5%. Wild species monitoring was improved through provision of monitoring equipment and training; establishment of permanent monitoring stations, geographic information system, and database; and development of monitoring method and manual. More than 6,000 records of wild species were collected. Recovery plans for 18 water birds were prepared and provided to all nature reserves. About 220 stork nests were installed in the six nature reserves, and 57% of the nests were occupied. Based on lessons learned from this component, conservation management components of the six nature reserve master plans were improved. Based on proposals made under the project, animal grazing and fishing inside all the nature reserves in the Sanjiang Plain are prohibited. Numbers of birds monitored in the six nature reserves are 510,559 in 2008, 1,081,353 in 2009, 1,063,532 in 2010, and 683,612 in 2011. In Xingkaihu nature reserve where monitoring data allow an accurate analysis of changes of species populations because of continuous monitoring for many years, the number of stork pairs occupying nesting territories increased from 9 to 44 nests over a 6-year period from 2005 to 2011, mainly due to increased numbers in man-made nests; and the number of bird species included in the name list increased from 238 to 287. In Qixinghe and Xingkaihu nature reserves covered by Baoping, Qixinghe, and Xidapao management stations where a new artificial feeding programme was implemented, the recorded numbers of red-crowned cranes increased from 30 in 2004 to 44 in 2011; while for white-naped cranes, it increased from 17 in 2004 to 58 in 2011. No illegal international trade in animal species originating in project area has been reported.
3.Component 3: Alternative livelihoods. This component funded by ADB and GEF was generally successfully completed. Income levels of persons affected by farmland-to-forest conversion under component 1 were increased throughout the life of the project by planting 923 ha of nontimber forest produsts (24% of the lands converted from farmland to forest) and conducting 663 ha of intercropping. A water- and land-intensive eco-agriculture pilot project was conducted in the experimental zone of the Qixinghe nature reserve. The nature reserve constructed 40 greenhouses for the eco-agriculture in a 9-ha area in the experimental zone. The nature reserve leased out the greenhouses to 40 farmer households who had conducted traditional large-scale agriculture on about 400 ha of lands rented from the nature reserve in the experimental zone. The lands that had been used by the farmers were returned to the nature reserve for wetland restoration. A total of about 400 ha of farmlands were reduced, and agricultural water use will be reduced in the experimental zone by introducing the water- and land-intensive eco-agriculture without reducing income of the farmers. The nature reserve that used to collect income by renting the 400 ha of lands to the farmers can maintain its income by leasing out the greenhouses to the farmers. Ecotourism pilot projects were also implemented in the Xingkaihu and Zhenbaodao nature reserves. Discussions with the tourism authorities were conducted at an early stage, and the Heilongjiang Provincial Tourism Department adopted the proposals for the ecotourism pilot projects. Under the pilot projects, ecotourism activities such as bird watching, fishing, boating, hiking, and camping were conducted. Estimated annual net profits from the pilot projects were CNY2.73 million in the Xingkaihu nature reserve and CNY2.33 million in the Zhenbaodao nature reserve; and the nature reserves' incomes from the pilot projects are being used for wetlands protection, farmland-to-wetland conversion, improvement of facilities and equipment for ecotourism and nature reserve management, and training for the staff. In the Xingkaihu nature reserve, about 280 farmers and fishermen changed their livelihoods to ecotourism; and stopped farming on 525 ha of lands, out of which 427 ha have been converted to wetlands; and catch of fish was reduced by about 500 tons. In the Zhenbaodao nature reserve, about 50 farmers and fishermen changed their livelihoods to ecotourism; and stopped farming on 1,025 ha of lands, out of which 899 ha were converted to wetlands; and catch of fish was reduced by 5 tons. Income levels of the farmers and fishermen who changed their livelihoods to ecotourism were maintained or increased.
4.Component 4: Capacity building. This component funded by GEF was successfully completed. Wetland protection education was included in the curriculum of selected 12 schools, and teachers are giving lectures on wetland protection. A public awareness master plan was produced, and a public awareness manual was distributed to community residents and schools. Seven conservation awareness activities were conducted in more than 20 communities. In the six model nature reserves, a public awareness manual and profile of the project were printed and distributed to community residents and schools. During project implementation, 38 short- and long-term training courses, study tours, and workshops were conducted for more than 1,000 people, including government stafflocal forestry bureau staff and project management office (PMO) staff; most nature reserve staffdirectors, professional level staff, and technical staff; and community leaders and residents, for project management, financial management, project performance evaluation, forest improvement, wetland protection, wild species monitoring and recovery, wetland restoration, alternative livelihood development, public awareness raising, environmental protection, and social safeguards.
5.Component 5: Project management. For this component funded by GEF, a considerable number of capacity building activities have been conducted for project management since commencement of the project. Consultants engaged under the project drew up guidelines for project monitoring and evaluation (M&E); prepared detailed work plans identifying key activities for each component; established an M&E database, including books, maps, reports, and related documents; and built up internal M&E channel. The consultants produced monthly and semiannual M&E reports. Vehicles and equipment for project management were procured. The PMO procured civil works and equipment, and recruited international consultants fully in line with ADB and domestic requirements. The PMO submitted to ADB quarterly progress reports and a project completion report that were acceptable to ADB.
|Geographical Location||Baoqing Xian, Boli Xian, Fuyuan Xian, Hegang Shi, Heilongjiang Sheng, Huanan Xian, Hulin Shi, Jidong Xian, Jixian Xian, Linkou Xian, Luobei Xian, Mishan Shi, Ning'an Shi, Qitaihe Shi, Raohe Xian|
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Environmental Aspects||The Project fells under environmental category B. An overall initial environmental examination (IEE) was undertaken to assess the generic impact of each Project component. The IEE showed that the Project would bring significant environmental benefits and have a positive impact on both the project area environment and globally important biodiversity by increasing forest cover, improving wetland hydrology, restoring degraded wetlands, improving the status of threatened wildlife, providing wetland conservation education, and establishing wetland management capacity. The IEE also showed that the potential negative effects on the environment were localized and short-term but not significant.|
|Involuntary Resettlement||For all six pilot farmland-to-wetland restoration sites, land acquisition and resettlement were completed. For all six sites, necessary resettlement plans and due diligence reports were approved by ADB. Two independent monitoring agencies carried o external resettlement monitoring and evaluation. Internal resettlement monitoring was also conducted.|
|Indigenous Peoples||The Project's components and locations were all identified, and no significant adverse impact on ethnic minority villages or groups was envisaged. Based on ADB's Policy on Indigenous Peoples, a full plan was not required but a specific action for indigenous peoples is included in the resettlement framework.|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design||A stakeholder analysis was conducted during the project preparatory technical assistance (PPTA) and roles of each stakeholder were well-defined. The stakeholders at each level were consulted during the PPTA: government ministries/agencies at the national to local levels, local governments from provincial down to village levels, state-owned and local forest/agriculture farm leaders, workers, women, rural community leaders, the poor farmer households, minorities, and nongovernment organizations. Their expectations and needs were identified, the potential project impacts on them were identified, and the resettlement plans, gender development plans, minority development plans, and public participation plans were developed in consultation with the stakeholders.|
|During Project Implementation||Environmental monitoring, updating of existing resettlement plans, and preparation of remaining resettlement plans and alternative livelihoods development plans involved extensive public consultations with affected people.|
Consultants will be selected and engaged by an international consulting firm in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants. The consulting firm will be selected using ADB's quality-and-cost-based selection method. This international consulting firm will be responsible for providing all individual international and domestic consultants to the PMO. The total consultant input for the Project is estimated at 640 person-months of consulting services: 112 international and 528 domestic. Consultants will be required for water resources, wetland biodiversity and nature reserve management; ecotourism, conservation education, and public awareness sub-components under GEF grant funding. National government will support national consultants in resettlement, non-timber forest products and environmental mitigation. The Project will also engage qualified academic/research institutes for several studies, surveys and long-term training programs, including those in water resources and in long-term training. These institutes will be selected by the PMO in accordance with competitive selection criteria and procedures acceptable to ADB.
Expression of Interests due on or before 30 May 2005.
|Procurement||All supplies, equipment, and services to be financed by ADB will be procured in accordance with ADB's Guidelines for Procurement. Most of the items to be procured, such as basic equipment and materials (seeds and fertilizers) will be spread over a wide area in various counties subproject areas, and therefore will be procured centrally for cost efficiency. They will be procured in accordance with the Government's domestic procurement procedures acceptable to ADB. Supply contracts for equipment or materials not anticipated to exceed the equivalent of $500,000 but above $100,000 will be carried out through international shopping. Other miscellaneous equipment and supplies, with each package valued below the equivalent of $100,000 will be procured by direct purchase procedures. Given that the value of each civil works contract will be less than $1 million, and in view of the competitiveness of such construction works in the PRC, civil works contracts are not expected to be of interest to international bidders. Thus, all civil works contracts will be awarded to pre qualified private sector contractors under local competitive bidding procedures acceptable to ADB, and for the treatment of plantations of small size below $50,000 under State Forestry Farms' force account.|
|Responsible ADB Officer||Kobayashi, Yoshiaki|
|Responsible ADB Department||East Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, EARD|
|Concept Clearance||08 Mar 2001|
|Fact Finding||15 Apr 2004 to 12 May 2004|
|MRM||29 Jun 2004|
|Approval||14 Mar 2005|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|PDS Creation Date||26 Jan 2007|
|Last PDS Update||26 Sep 2013|
|Financing Plan||Grant Utilization|
|Total (Amount in US$ million)||Date||ADB||Others||Net Percentage|
|Project Cost||12.14||Cumulative Contract Awards|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|14 Mar 2005||18 Jul 2005||09 Dec 2005||31 Dec 2010||31 Aug 2012||30 May 2013|
|Financing Plan||Loan Utilization|
|Total (Amount in US$ million)||Date||ADB||Others||Net Percentage|
|Project Cost||39.37||Cumulative Contract Awards|
|ADB||15.00||17 Jun 2022||14.99||0.00||100%|
|Cofinancing||0.00||17 Jun 2022||14.99||0.00||100%|
|Status of Covenants|
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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.
Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation
|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|People’s Republic of China: Sanjiang Plain Wetlands Protection Project||Project Performance Evaluation Reports||Jan 2016|
|People’s Republic of China: Sanjiang Plain Wetlands Protection Project||Validations of Project Completion Reports||Sep 2014|
|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Reviving Lakes and Wetlands in the People's Republic of China, Volume 3: Best Practices and Prospects for the Sanjiang Plain Wetlands||Reports||May 2016|
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