China, People's Republic of: Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project

Sovereign Project | 39321-013 Status: Active


ADB is helping the People's Republic of China protect endangered species while providing sustainable livelihoods in the Qinling Mountains, an internationally important biodiversity hot spot. The project involves ecotourism and agriculture development, and biodiversity conservation. Ecotourism attractions, such as a center for giant pandas, will be developed to help fund conservation efforts.

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Project Name Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project
Project Number 39321-013
Country China, People's Republic of
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0169-PRC: Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project
Global Environment Facility US$ 4.27 million
Loan 2572-PRC: Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project
Ordinary capital resources US$ 40.00 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Partnerships
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development - Forestry

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Some gender elements

The Qinling Mountains are an internationally important biodiversity hot spot and represent about 70% of the PRC's biodiversity, including an estimated 300 giant pandas. The Qinling Mountains are central to soil and water management of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. The Project will improve biodiversity conservation and management by restoring forest habitat, improving endangered species management and providing sustainable livelihoods for the population of the project area, and demonstrating the benefits to the rest of the Qinling Mountains and other similar areas in the PRC. The Project will provide significant environmental, economic, and social benefitsthroughout the project area. It will address underlying causes and effects of historical and contemporary resource degradation.

The project area is 458 square kilometers (km2), about 45 kilometers southwest of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi, and is identified as the birthplace of the Taoist religion. The project area is divided into a plains area for ecotourism and agriculture development, and a mountainous area for biodiversity conservation. It is home to about 20,400 people. The plains have about 15,800 residents (77% of the total) who live on about 58 km2 (13% of the total project area) bordering the northern end of the project area. The poverty incidence is about 23%. This area also includes the township of Louguantai; several Taoist temples; the Qinling National Botanical Garden (QNBG) and nursery; the Shaanxi Animal Rescue Center (SARC), which includes threatened species of giant panda, golden monkey, golden takin, and crested ibis; and the Louguantai Forest Farm. About 71 million tourists visit Shaanxi province annually, of which about 400,000 visit the project area and about 1 million visit the Qinling Mountains. The larger but scarcely populated mountainous area is called the Qinling Biological Conservation and Demonstration Area (QBCDA), where the management objective is low-impact development that supports the conservation of biodiversity and provides sustainable livelihoods for about 4,600 residents (23% of total) on about 400 km2 (87% of project area).

The Project will produce three primary outputs: (i) participatory biodiversity management in the mountainous area, (ii) enhancement of biodiversity conservation in the plains area, and (iii) improved project management. Using sustainable financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, the habitat of the mountainous area, QBCDA, will be improved to promote mixed forest coverage, and flora and fauna species expansion. The small population lives in scattered settlements in QBCDA and will be encouraged to support biodiversity conservation objectives and minimize unsustainable farming and other activities.

The Project will develop biodiversity-based attractions that will generate funds for the management and enhancement of QBCDA. The commercial activities will involve a botanical garden, wildlife breeding and research (including a giant panda center second only to Sichuan province's Wolong Nature Reserve), and related ecotourism. QNBG will address a major weakness of the many past biodiversity projects by ensuring sustainable financing using part of the ecotourism revenue. Links with the Qinling Mountains nature reserves and an increase in biodiversity corridors will be pursued.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Qinling Mountains is biologically rich with many endangered, threatened, and endemic animal and plant species that need to be protected. The Qinling Mountains have about 25 national and provincial nature and forest reserves, many of which have received assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Bank, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The geography is dominated by mountains, rivers, streams, and forests. The major environmental issues are related to land and environmental degradation, endangered animals and plants, the presence of some exotic tree species, and the need for long-term animal and plant species regeneration and expansion as well as sustainable conservation and preservation management techniques. Other issues include employment and income-generating opportunities for the inhabitants, the availability of financing for biodiversity conservation in the project area and Qinling Mountains, and basic rural services in the project area. About 37% of the population in the project area is poor, with poverty increasing markedly from Louguantai south into the rugged mountain and forest terrain.

Because of the prevailing poverty, the project area and nature reserves in Qinling Mountains are subject to a high level of competing land-use pressure. This is a major reason why the sustainable management of biodiversity resources is important to the Shaanxi government, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), GEF, and WWF. However, the financial sustainability of biodiversity conservation is precarious, because conservation cannot compete financially with other less environment-friendly forms of land use. Species diversity is largely a public good, and the revenue generated from ecotourism often does not cover the costs of creation and management. To improve the funding situation, protected areas must generate their own revenue. Because of its favorable location in relation to Xi'an, the project area will be able to generate revenues to cover most, if not all, of its operational and management costs.

The Project will pursue a market-based approach to biodiversity conservation, featuring sustainable revenue generation and use, land maangement, and conservation management. Biodiversity conservation is a high priority of the Government, as reflected in the 11th Five-Year Plan, the State Environmental Protection Agency's biodiversity strategy, and the QM Ecosystem Function Conservation Plan. The Project will strengthen the management of nature reserve areas in QM through integrated approaches including market-oriented measures to sustain environmental and biodiversity objectives while increasing rural incomes and reducing poverty. The public sector is required to ensure preservation of the natural and cultural heritage sites in the project area.

The lessons learned from previous integrated agriculture and rural development and environment projects in the PRC and Shaanxi province, as well as other major provinces with biodiversity activities, including Sichuan and Yunnan, have been incorporated in the Project. The provincial government and the implementing agency (IA), QNBG, have strong commitment and ownership of the Project. All major stakeholders have been extensively consulted. Linking biodiversity conservation with revenue generation in the PA and QM is fully supported. The Project is well-focused in terms of area coverage and the outputs are well-defined, closely linked, and within the capacities of the IAs to effectively manage. The Shaanxi Provincial Government (SPG) has successfully implemented three ADB-financed projects in environmental protection, roads, and railways. It has also successfully implemented 14 World Bank-financed projects in forestry, water, agriculture, poverty reduction, and environmental protection, several of which are co-financed with GEF. Many of the successful features of WWF assistance in biodiversity conservation and income generation have been included in the Project.

Impact Sustainable biodiversity conservation protected for globally-significant species and increased economic growth

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome The expected outcome of the Project is improved and integrated biodiversity management that provides sustainable livelihoods for the population of the project area.
Progress Toward Outcome The project has made progress in establishing botanical garden in in-situ and ex-situ areas. Various activities involving local communities were also started.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Participatory Biodiversity Management in the Mountainous Area

1. Demonstrating conservation of biodiversity

2. Improved village and forest-based livelihoods

Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation in the Plains Area

1. Develop the national botanical garden

2. Improve the animal rescue center

Improved Project Management

1. Strengthened PMO and IA

2. Strengthened biodiversity safeguards

3. Conservation dissemination program

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Component 1: Participatory Biodiversity Management in the Mountainous Area. The component progress is about 42%. (i) Under the biodiversity conservation demonstrating subcomponent, habitat restoration and management for 2,000 ha of state forest land was completed by about 50% using government funds. The rest of them will be supported under the GEF. Certificates for 5,000 ha of collective forests have been awarded. Endangered species management plan is under the GEF program and is expected to start in March 2016. (ii) Under the improved village and forest-based livelihoods subcomponent, technical design for village development plans and livelihood facilities have been completed and construction is expected to start in early 2015. Small businesses are developing well. Conservation forestry planting on 5,000 ha has been completed by 25% and the rest of plantation will be undertaken under the loan by community participation.

Component 2: Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation in the Plains Area. The component progress is about 45%. (i) For QNBG part, specialized gardens are being developed effectively. Four out of 23 gardens have been completed. Multifunction building contract was procured and construction is ongoing. Feasibility studies and/or engineering design for other buildings and facilities were completed and are currently under review for approval. (ii) For SARC part, Giant Panda captive ground has been in operation since January 2015. Technical design for breeding and nursery houses and wild animal exhibit and exposition facilities are completed and contract awards are expected in January 2016.

Component 3: Improved Project Management. The component progress is about 35%. PMO and PIAs are functioning. Consultants for safeguards and project management have started work. Strengthened biodiversity safeguards and conservation dissemination program are financed under the GEF grant.

Geographical Location Qinling Mountains are located 40 km south of Xian

Safeguard Categories

Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement A
Indigenous Peoples C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects Most project impacts will be environmentally friendly, including improvements to long-term biodiversity conservation, improvement in the welfare of animals in SARC and QBCDA, advancement of science on endangered species, genetic collection and protection, public awareness and education regarding biodiversity conservation in the Qinling mountains, increased forest cover and density, improved environmental quality of water systems, and conservation of Taoist religious sites in the protected area. Some adverse impacts may occur due to invasive species and release of species in the wild, but mitigation measures have been taken to minimize these impacts.
Involuntary Resettlement A resettlement plan has been prepared and the land acquisition and resettlment plan has been discussed and agreed with the affected persons. Mitigation measures include new housing provided in the same village area that meets the expectations of the villagers affected, cash compensation, land lease agreements, and sharing the gate revenues from ecotourism to the botanical gardens.
Indigenous Peoples There are no indigenous people in the project area.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design Consultation with stakeholders, beneficiaries, and affected persons has been undertaken and will continue during implementation. During project design, a detailed survey took place of households, discussions were held with project stakeholders at all levels, key informant interviews were conducted in rural communities, stakeholder workshops were conducted, and interviews were held with key government staff, nongovernment organizations, villagers, and women.
During Project Implementation The project involves large amount of construction and plantation activities which are delivered by local communities. All resettlement plans are implemented through close consultation and participation of local farmers and governments. Monitoring reports for safeguard are disclosed in the ADB website.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services Consultants are recruited in line with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants 2013. All consulting service packages are to be recruited under GEF grant. Under the program of GEF-funded components, all proposed consultant inputs have been recruited except for QNBG ecotourism and marketing. The engaged consultants include two international experts (one for SARC design and animal exhibition and the other for project management) and five national specialists for environment management, resettlement safeguard, social baseline, project impact monitoring and review, and SARC exhibition. The expert to support QNBG ecotourism and marketing will be recruited by May 2016 to be in line with the updated implementation schedule. Consulting service recruitment for the proposed Qinling Study started in March 2016 and a national study coordinator was recruited in November 2015 to assist the executing agency in managing and organizing activities to carry out the study.
Procurement All procurement of goods and works are carried out in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines 2015. Contracts for goods estimated to exceed $3.0 million and contracts for works estimated to exceed $40.0 million will be procured using international competitive bidding procedures. Contracts for goods and works estimated to cost less than the international competitive bidding values, but more than $100,000, will be procured through national competitive bidding procedures in accordance with the PRC Tendering and Bidding Law, 1999, subject to modifications agreed upon with ADB. Contracts for goods and works estimated to cost $100,000 or less shall be procured using shopping procedures. The relevant sections of ADB's Anticorruption Policy (1998, as amended to date) will be included in all procurement documents and contracts.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Zhiming Niu
Responsible ADB Department East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division PRC Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Shaanxi Provincial Government
Mr. Wang Shuancang
[email protected]
Xian, Shaanxi province


Concept Clearance 10 Aug 2007
Fact Finding 13 Aug 2007 to 25 Aug 2007
MRM 21 May 2008
Approval 22 Oct 2009
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 10 May 2006
Last PDS Update 31 Mar 2016

Grant 0169-PRC

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
22 Oct 2009 02 Jul 2010 15 Oct 2010 31 Oct 2015 31 Oct 2017 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 4.27 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 22 Oct 2009 0.00 1.40 33%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 4.27 22 Oct 2009 0.00 1.12 26%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - - - Satisfactory

Loan 2572-PRC

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
22 Oct 2009 02 Jul 2010 15 Oct 2010 31 Oct 2015 31 Oct 2017 -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 128.37 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 40.00 22 Oct 2009 13.15 0.00 33%
Counterpart 88.37 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 22 Oct 2009 11.12 0.00 28%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - - - - - Satisfactory

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.

Title Document Type Document Date
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Environmental Monitoring Report (January-July 2015) Environmental Monitoring Reports Jul 2015
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Social Monitoring Report Social Monitoring Reports Jun 2015
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Screening of Environment Impacts Environmental and Social Impacts Matrix Jun 2015
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Environmental Monitoring Report (2014) Environmental Monitoring Reports Mar 2015
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Mt. Qinling National Botanical Garden Sub-component Resettlement Planning Documents Dec 2014
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Environmental Monitoring Report (2013) Environmental Monitoring Reports Dec 2013
亚行贷款陕西秦岭生态和生物资源保护项目 : 征迁安置监测报告 (第一期) Social Monitoring Reports Dec 2013
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Shaanxi Animal Rescue Center Sub-component Resettlement Planning Documents Aug 2008
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project Summary Initial Environmental Examination May 2008
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project: Mt. Qinling National Botanical Garden Sub-component Resettlement Planning Documents May 2008
Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project (Draft) Resettlement Plans May 2008

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

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