China, People's Republic of : Hunan South Dongting Lake Wetland Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Project

Sovereign Project | 56216-001

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) proposed a project loan PRC (56216-001): South Dongting Lake Wetland Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Project. Dongting Lake with its wetland ecosystems is the second-largest freshwater lake in the People's Republic of China (PRC) (2,652 km2). Situated entirely within Hunan Province in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River basin, Dongting Lake is among the 200 global ecoregions and it is one of the highest priority wetlands identified in the PRC through ADB's flagship Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI). The lakes wetlands are divided into three administrative areas (municipalities) containing four nature reserves. Located in the southwest part of Dongting Lake downstream of the Three Gorges Dam, South Dongting Lake (SDL) was established as a nature reserve in 1991. In 2002, it was accredited as a Ramsar site (with an area of 168,000 hectares) and it became a provincial nature reserve in 2018.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Cardascia, Silvia
    East Asia Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
    China, People's Republic of
  • Sector
    • Agriculture, natural resources and rural development
Project Name
Hunan South Dongting Lake Wetland Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Project
Project Number
56216-001
Country / Economy
  • China, People's Republic of
Project Status
Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance
  • Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan: Hunan South Dongting Lake Wetland Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Project
Source Amount
Ordinary capital resources US$ 150.00 million
Agence Francaise de Developpement US$ 65.00 million
Operational Priorities
  • OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
  • OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
  • OP4: Making cities more livable
  • OP5: Promoting rural development and food security
  • OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
  • OP7: Fostering regional cooperation and integration
Sector / Subsector
  • Agriculture, natural resources and rural development / Agricultural policy, institutional and capacity development - Agricultural production - Fishery - Land-based natural resources management - Water-based natural resources management

  • Water and other urban infrastructure and services / Urban flood protection

Gender
Effective gender mainstreaming
Description
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) proposed a project loan PRC (56216-001): South Dongting Lake Wetland Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Project. Dongting Lake with its wetland ecosystems is the second-largest freshwater lake in the People's Republic of China (PRC) (2,652 km2). Situated entirely within Hunan Province in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River basin, Dongting Lake is among the 200 global ecoregions and it is one of the highest priority wetlands identified in the PRC through ADB's flagship Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI). The lakes wetlands are divided into three administrative areas (municipalities) containing four nature reserves. Located in the southwest part of Dongting Lake downstream of the Three Gorges Dam, South Dongting Lake (SDL) was established as a nature reserve in 1991. In 2002, it was accredited as a Ramsar site (with an area of 168,000 hectares) and it became a provincial nature reserve in 2018. About 90% of SDL is located in Yuanjiang city, accounting for 40% of its municipal land area.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Dongting Lake in the Yangtze River Basin. Dongting Lake is the People Republic of China's (PRC) second largest freshwater lake, with a core area of about 2,625 square km. It is located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in the northeast of Hunan Province. It bears the important function of regulating and storing the water of the Yangtze River with which it forms a complex hydrological river-lake system. Identified among the 200 global ecoregions, Dongting Lake represents an important staging, wintering and feeding ground for migratory waterbirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. It comprises two National Nature Reserves (NRs) in the East and West Dongting and two provincial NRs in the South Dongting and Hengling Lake, with a total area of 432,000 hectares . Dongting Lake plays an irreplaceable role in ensuring climate regulation and ecological security in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It provides key ecosystem services to people living in the region, including soil fertility, drinking water, freshwater for agriculture, and waterways for transport. The livelihoods of 16 million people (nearly 20% of Hunan's total population) depend on it.

Dongting Lake is an internationally important wetland and was one of the highest priority wetlands identified in the PRC through ADB's flagship Regional Flyway Initiative (RFI). The lake is administratively subdivided into three Ramsar sites with East and West Dongting Lake interconnecting through South Dongting Lake (SDL) which is where the project is located. The SDL nature reserve was accredited as a Ramsar Site in 2002, with a total area of 168,000 ha and it is extremely rich in biodiversity. It is an important spawning and feeding ground for fishes, and a wintering habitat for migrating waterflows and rare migratory birds worldwide. SDL is home to 35 species of national protected animals, including 11 species of first-class protected animals, such as the Pere David's Deer, the Yangtze Finless Porpoise, and the Black Stork, and 11 species of national second-class protected animals. About 90% of SDL nature reserve is located in Yuanjiang City. Qionghu Lake is an urban National Wetland Park (of which 51.83% is a protected area) located in Yuanjiang City at the intersection of SDL and West Dongting Lake Nature Reserve. It includes seven lakes, of which five are in Yuanjiang City. The Yuanjiang River is densely distributed, with nine main rivers. Together with the seven lakes, they form a complex and interconnected river network system in the Dongting Lake plain, which eventually converges into the Yangtze River through the SDL and East Dongting Lake. Protecting the river-lake system is critical to safeguarding the SDL basin's ecological security.

Weak interagency coordination and planning for South Dongting Lake basin management. The Hunan SDL nature reserve administration issued a master plan (2018-2027) for management, conservation, and restoration in the nature reserve. However, (i) the plan is outdated and does not include cross-sector site management for functional coordination among sectors (i.e., natural resources, forestry, and wetland, water resources, and environmental protection); (ii) local stakeholders, including surrounding communities, residents, civil society organizations, and the private sector, are not engaged in wetland management; (iii) big data technology for real-time monitoring of the ecological environment and early warning systems are not adequately deployed; (iv) the local government does not have the tools to integrate natural capital investment into policy, planning and financing for wetland management.

Climate and land use changes as drivers of ecological insecurity. Despite its recognized ecological importance, rapid economic development compounded with climate change impacts had notable impacts on the health of the wetland ecosystem in the SLD basin. Key drivers of habitat loss and general decline in the health of the wetlands include: (i) the planting of poplar trees both in the nature reserve core zone and on the islands with the nature reserve. (ii) land use changes, conversion of wetlands to croplands, and agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution in the rural areas of SDL; (iii) decreasing urban water quality, poor ecological connectivity in the river-lake system, sediment accumulation and flooding; (iv) altered discharge characteristics and increased sediment loads due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam upstream in 2003. Furthermore, temperature warming and changing precipitation patterns are the two primary climatic drivers of wetland ecosystem and hydrological changes observed in SDL. During 2007-2020, the water temperature in the Yuanjiang River increased considerably. Projected climate change is likely to exacerbate this trend. Between 2020 and 2039, annual maximum temperatures could rise between 0.9 and 1.1 oC in Hunan province. Such pronounced warming would aggravate heatwaves and drought conditions and undermine the water purification functions of the SDL. Moreover, annual precipitation could increase by nearly 15% under the higher emissions scenarios, which is likely to increase the intensity of droughts and floods.

Limited investment for ecological restoration and climate resilience. The Dongting plain is highly populated, and most of the population is rural. Historically, the economy has relied on crop agriculture and fisheries. One of the most thriving sectors in the SDL basin is the shipbuilding industry in Yuanjiang City. Although the industrial and agricultural sectors are striving to shift to low-carbon production, incentive mechanisms for pollution prevention and low-carbon investment are still lacking. A sector that remains underdeveloped is ecotourism.

Limited knowledge on wetland management and climate change adaptation. Despite the SDL's ecological significance, (i) government officers and protected area and patrol personnel have limited capacity for wetland conservation and restoration in SDL nature reserve and surrounding areas; (ii) fishermen and farmers lack the skills for transitioning to low-carbon production; and (iii) communities are not fully aware or do not have adequate tools to recognize the livelihood opportunities that healthy ecosystem services can provide.

Ecological restoration and climate-resilient development approach. Restoring wetland and freshwater ecosystems while building long-term climate resilience is the proposed project's approach. Identified project measures will enhance resilience by reducing exposure and sensitivity to climate risks and strengthening the adaptive capacity in the SDL basin. The project will be focused to improving the protection and sustainable management of SDL and the species it supports and it will be the first major investment project for the RFI and significantly contribute to ADBs nature positive agenda.

The project will incorporate lessons from ADB-financed projects on ecological protection and lake environmental protection in PRC's Hunan province. Lessons from other ADB-financed projects on biodiversity conservation and green financing mechanisms in other PRC provinces will also inform the project design. Past experiences and lessons include (i) eco-compensation programs to incentivize local farmers and households to adopt eco-farming and wetland-friendly farming practices; (ii) institutional strengthening and interagency coordination for effective and basin-wide wetland and freshwater ecosystem protection; (iii) use of nature-based solutions (NBS) to improve conservation and restoration practices; (iv) design of incentive mechanisms to promote private sector investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient solutions.

Impact

Ecological and environmental restoration in Dongting Lake improved (The Yangtze River Protection Law of the People's Republic of China, 2020)

Outcome

Resilience and ecological security of freshwater ecosystems and livelihoods in the SDL basin increased

Outputs

Institutional capacity for Dongting Lake integrated wetland management enhanced

Geographical Location
Dongting Lake

Safeguard Categories

Environment
B
Involuntary Resettlement
B
Indigenous Peoples
C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation

During Project Design
During Project Implementation

Contact

Responsible ADB Officer
Cardascia, Silvia
Responsible ADB Department
East Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division
Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, EARD
Executing Agencies
Yuanjiang Municipal Government

Timetable

Concept Clearance
22 Sep 2023
Fact Finding
20 May 2024 to 28 May 2024
MRM
-
Approval
-
Last Review Mission
-
Last PDS Update
07 Feb 2024

Funding

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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

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Tenders

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Contracts Awarded

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Procurement Plan

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