The Introduction of Jiangxi Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve


Poyang Lake, the largest fresh water lake in China, is located on the south bank of the Yangtze River, in northern Jiangxi Province. It is a lake taking in and sending out water. It is totally different in size in dry and raining seasons, forming the unique landscape of “being lakelike at the high water level, and riverlike at the low one”. Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve is located in the Northwestern part of Poyang Lake, with an area of 224 sq. km. It is one of the first six important wetlands joined the Ramsar Convention in China. The reserve was established in 1983. Its main function is to protect the rare and endangered migratory birds represented by the Siberian Cranes and the wetland eco-environment in Poyang Lake, to develop relevant scientific research on ecological protection and to use the natural resources scientifically and sustainably.

 Poyang Lake in raining season taken by Poyang Lake Reserve.

There is an integrated wetland ecosystem structure in the reserve and the biodiversity is abundant, with 45 species of mammals, 310 species of birds, 48 species of reptiles, 136 species of fish, 227 species of insects, 40 species of shellfishes, 46 species of zooplankton, 50 species of phytoplankton and 476 species of higher plants. The highest number of the Siberian Cranes wintering in the reserve is more than 4,000, accounting for 98 % of the global number. And more than 80 % of the global Oriental White Storks and 70 % of the global White-naped Cranes winter in the reserve. It is also the wintering site for the largest population of the Swan Geese in the world (the highest number is more than 60,000) and the Tundra Swans in China (the highest number is more than 80,000). Meanwhile, it is important flyway and stopover site for a large number of rare and endangered migrants.

 The Siberian Cranes taken by Yu Huigong.

Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve successively joined the North East Asia Crane Site Network, the network of Chinese biosphere reserves, the East Asian-Australasian Shorebirds Site Network and the Middle and Lower Yangtze River Wetland Protection Network of China. It was designated by WWF, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention and relevant departments and media as the global A-class Reserve, the Wetland of International Importance, the Priority Biodiversity Region of China, the Scientific and Technologic Education Base for the Youth of Jiangxi Province, one of the Ten Beautiful Sceneries of Jiangxi, the Pilot Unit of the National Nature Reserve, the National Ecological Civilization Education Base and the Most Beautiful Wetland of China. It won the prize of the Best Protection Practice of 11th World Living Lake Convention, the Advanced Collective of Subaru Ecological Protection Award and the Advanced Collective of the Yangtze River Wetland Protection.


In recent years, Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve has carried out a lot of fruitful work on wetland and migratory bird protection and monitoring, and public education. For protection and management, the reserve has established 7 protection stations in 7 counties in the lake area, making the number of stations increase to 11, the staffing increase to 100. Every winter, the reserve also employs dozens of bird protection members from the local communities. At present, the whole Poyang Lake wetland and migratory bird protection and management system has preliminarily been established. To promote the wetland and migratory bird protection work of counties around the lake and relevant departments, Poyang Lake Area Wintering Bird and Wetland Joint Protection Committee has been established in 2010. The duty of this committee is to supervise and assess wintering migratory bird and wetland protection work of counties around the lake. Every year, Jiangxi Forestry Department takes out 1 million Yuan (about 160,000 $) to award the units and individuals who are active in protection. For scientific research and monitoring, the reserve regularly monitors wintering migratory birds, especially those rare and endangered ones to ascertain the species, number and distribution of them and situation of their habitats. According to monitoring of many years, the total number of wintering water birds in the reserve is 180,000 to 300,000, and the Siberian Cranes’ population is 2,000 to 4,000. In 2011, the number of wintering water birds is 283,000. And the number of the Siberian Cranes is 4,000 on Dec. 18th, 2011. Besides, every year the reserve also carries out aero survey and ground survey on wintering water birds in the whole lake area. The reserve has cooperated with ICF, some universities and research institutions in China to develop monitoring and research on large water birds, aquatic plants, fish, zoobenthos, hydrology, meteorological, etc. For public education, the reserve has proposed the slogan of “Publicity is protection”. In order to improve the effect of public education, it has produced and distributed calendars, posters, manuals, umbrellas and other materials with the slogan on them. In addition, the reserve has also promoted a series of public education activities in local communities with WWF, NGOs and volunteers at home and some news media to arouse the awareness of protection on Poyang Lake.

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