China plans to create a national park system to better protect the environment while growing the tourism industry, the Financial Times reported on Monday. The Paulson Institute in Chicago signed an agreement with China’s National Development and Reform Commission on Monday to help guide the park system’s development.
Though the country has protected about 18 percent of its land, it spends less per acre on conservation than Thailand and Nepal and has a reputation for weak enforcement of existing policies. “There are a lot of areas where they just draw a line on a map, but no real system is set up,” Rose Niu, director of conservation programs at the Paulson Institute, told the Financial Times.
A national park system is expected to reduce the budgetary burden of conservation on local governments and strike a better balance between economic growth and environmental protections, the Financial Times notes.