Rethinking China’s new great wall
The new “Great Wall of China” – the recently built seawall that encloses vast areas of coastal wetlands in China – now exceeds the ancient Great Wall in length, and has drastic implications for wetland biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. In a recent article in Science (21 Nov, 2014, Vol 346 issue 6212), Zhijun Ma, David S. Melville, Jianguo Liu, Ying Chen, Hongyan Yang, Wenwei Ren, Zhengwang Zhang, Theunis Piersma & Bo Li draw analogies between the ancient Great Wall of China and the much more recent seawall that encloses vast areas of coastal wetlands. This new “Great Wall” exceeds the ancient one in length and is now covering 60% of the total length of coastline along mainland China. The authors discuss the resulting dramatic decline in internationally shared biodiversity and associated ecosystem services and propose measures for effective wetland management.