New Project Uses Big Data to Help Protect China’s Coastal Habitats

Building on its work developing the first national blueprint of China’s coastal wetlands, the Paulson Institute and several partners kicked off a project in Beijing on June 27 to create data sets and information platforms that can be used to protect and manage coastal waterbirds and their habitats.

The China Coastal Waterbirds and Habitats Database Project (“China eBird Project”) will use data collected from official surveys and citizen scientists to examine trends and stresses for migratory coastal waterbirds; assess the current status of habitats previously identified in the national blueprint; and provide policy options and practical management tools for policy makers and implementation authorities by filling in gaps from patchy monitoring and the lack of a central data repository.

“The China-eBird Project is an important step for protecting and managing coastal waterbirds and their habitats in China. It will help protect the integrity of China’s coastal wetlands and global biodiversity to the largest extent possible and make a positive contribution to promoting ecological progress in China,” said Bao Daming, chief engineer of the Wetland Conservation and Management Center at the State Forestry and Grassland Administration at the launch event in Beijing.

“Accurate and reliable data provide the basis for smart policy-making.” said Rose Niu, chief conservation officer at the Paulson Institute. “The Paulson Institute gives top priority to the China-eBird Project, and we will ensure the project benefits from international best practice by communicating and coordinating with international partners.”

Yu Guirui, deputy director-general, the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the project partners, pledged that IGSNRR will, “leverage its technical advantages in terms of its ecosystem monitoring network, remote sensing-based monitoring, database development, operation and maintenance, etc. to ensure successful implementation of the project.”

“We are so thrilled to support the work of conserving waterbirds and their habitats provided by these professional institutions,” said Lan Keqi, project manager, Laoniu Foundation, another project partner. “We expect the project will be a great success.”

Other project partners include: Beijing Normal University; Beijing Forestry University; the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth under the Chinese Academy of Sciences; the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership; International Crane Foundation Beijing Representative Office; Wetlands International-China; SEE Foundation; China Bird-watching Association; the Tianjin Binhai New Area Jiangbei Wetland Conservation Center; and the China Coastal Waterbird Census Team.