Program: Conservation for the crane flyway from the Hulunbeier steppe to Bohai Sea
Partner: International Crane Foundation
Date Established: April 2012
Over the past decade, the International Crane Foundation ("ICF") has worked with local partners along the crane flyways across eastern China to conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend. Since April 2012, ConocoPhillips has invested RMB 3.7 million (approx. US $600,000) working with the ICF in two at-risk areas::
- Northeast Inner Mongolia and adjacent parts of Jilin Province where variable rainfall, water diversions and climate change has created recurring stress conditions on crane habitats;
- The coastal plain along Bohai where development puts strains on wetland ecosystems, to the detriment of water birds and local communities dependent on wetland resources.
The program will work with people dependent on the resources of wetlands and their watersheds to devise economic strategies that safeguard their resource base, while being simultaneously compatible with water fowl and ecosystem protection. At two pilot locations, one in Songnen Plain where cranes breed and the other on the coastal plain near Bohai, the project will implement demonstration activities for sustainable economic development that protect wetland resources.
Northeast China, with adjacent parts of far eastern Russia and Inner Mongolia, supports six species of cranes, the greatest diversity of cranes on earth. Four of these species are threatened with extinction, including the critically endangered Siberian Crane and the endangered Red-crowned Crane, a symbol of good fortune and long life across East Asia. Wetlands of this region provide a breeding habitat for most of the world’s Red-crowned, White-naped and Hooded Cranes, and an essential stopover habitat for almost all the world’s Siberian Cranes.
Since the 1980s, ICF has emphasized a flyway approach to crane and water fowl conservation, facilitating communication and coordinated activities involving wetland sites along the crane flyways in China, and also north into Mongolia and Russia. The coastal plain between the Bohai Sea and mountains to the west are a migration corridor with huge numbers of water fowl funneled across lowland areas heavily populated and developed. Over the past decade, ICF has sponsored research, education programs, and strengthening of wetland conservation and protected areas.
For more information about the International Crane Foundation, visit savingcranes.org.