200330 Hubei
A man wearing a face mask walks at a park in Wuhan, Hubei province [File image used for illustrative purposes only] Image Credit: Reuters

BEIJING: China announced setting out a plan that envisages the creation of the world's largest national park system by 2035, state news agency (Xinhua) reported.

Starting in 2015, China launched ten pilot national parks to protect the natural environment and biodiversity. In October 2021, the country officially designated five of these pilot projects as national parks, further improving the national park system. In December 2022, it took another step and announced that it would build the world's largest national park system by 2035.

The spatial layout plan for national parks was issued jointly by several government bodies, including the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The plan includes a total of 49 candidate sites for the construction of national parks.

These candidate sites, including the five that have already been developed into national parks, cover an area of around 1.1 million square kilometres in 28 provincial-level regions. The sites were selected based on their ecological importance, unique natural landscapes and rich biodiversity, said the plan.

The parks envisaged in the plan will feature various ecosystems, spanning from forests and grasslands to wetlands and deserts, involving over 700 existing nature reserves, as well as 10 world natural heritage sites.