“China’s wetlands have shrunk nearly 9 percent since 2003, forestry officials said on Monday, aggravating water scarcity in a country where food production, energy output and industrial activity are already under pressure from water shortages.
China has more than a fifth of the world’s population but only 6 percent of its freshwater resources, and large swathes of the nation, especially in the north, face severe water distress.
Since 2003, wetlands sprawling across 340,000 sq. km. – an area larger than the Netherlands – have disappeared, officials of China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) told reporters.
“The investigation shows that China is facing various problems with wetlands protections,” Zhang Yongli, vice director of the forestry body, told a news conference, adding that loopholes in protection laws imperil the shrinking wetlands.
The lost wetland areas have been converted to agricultural lands, swallowed by large infrastructure projects or degraded by climate change, the forestry administration said.
Wetlands lost to infrastructure projects have increased tenfold since the government’s last survey in 2003, Zhang added.”
Read more: Reuters