Problems and Prospects of the Chongming Dontan Ramsar Site

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Name: Su Zhelong UtasNum: 144362 SOUNum: 0991340 Word Count: 1846 KGA 378 Long Essay: Pressures, Problems and Prospects of the Chongming Dontan Ramsar Site

I. Introduction
From the pre-industrial period to post-industrial period, the problems caused by environment deterioration always come with the great economic growth and significant technical promotion. To equilibrate social development and environmental health puzzles people all over the world at present while poverty still affect one fifth of human population after the population explosion and accelerating urbanization. The contradiction typically occurs in the coastal zones, which are under the pressure from population growth, pollution, over-exploitation of resources and habitat degradation due to these areas hold approximately half of the world’s population. In China, the whole country is fueled by “powerful social and economic forces” that are “promoting individual development and land reclamation” (Yang, 1999; Yang et al., 2001 cited in Zhao et al., 2004). This author focused on the Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site as a case to discuss its pressures, problems and prospects in the development dilemma of the changing world. Chongming Island is the third largest island in China(1200km2) and the largest alluvial island in the world that located in north of Shanghai city. As a migratory staging and wintering site for millions of birds and spawning and feeding grounds for 63 species of fish, Chongming Dongtan provides important ecological services with its extraordinary resources. (Zhao et al., 2004) The essay used SWOT analysis process to evaluate the ecological situation of Chongming Dongtan Ramsar Site, therefore, the article discussed this issue from four main aspects: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

II. SWOT Analysis: Strengths
The strengths of Chongming Dongtan Ramsar site can be concluded as three respects: geographic advantages, abundant resources and biological diversity. Firstly, the Chongming Dongtan is the most large-scaled and well-developed tidal wetland and the mouth of the river. It is located in the easternmost Chongming Island that formed by the sediment accumulation from the runoff of Yangzi River. Moreover, the Dongtan is still increasing in size by about 500 ha annually to the East Ocean through the deposition of sand. (Zhao et al., 2004) This position, the coastal area in the center of Yangzi Delta, is the midpoint along the only way that must be passed of migratory birds in Pacific Asia that many birds stop here to take rest and food when they pass by in spring and summer. Besides, it is also a wintering site for millions of birds because of its moderate climate (Shi et al., 2001).

Secondly, the extensive tidal-flat area and hierarchical distribution make the Dongtan rich in both inorganic and organic resources. The luxuriant aquatic plant and massive plankton provide adequate food for birds and reptiles. As a habitat, especially in winter, the widely flourishingly growing reed is very suitable to perch and hatch for birds. Lastly, the Dongtan site has amazing biological diversity that 63 species of fish including the rare animal which is on the verge of extinction – Chinese sturgeon and 108 species of migratory birds. The total number of the birds aggregates three million which is the tenth of China and quarter of Shanghai area.

III. SWOT Analysis: Weaknesses
Since 1960s the Chinese, both government and civilians, started to exploit the Chongming Island, the total annual ecosystem service values in Dongtan keep declining until today. Especially after the reform and open, the fast industrialization and economic development accelerate the environmental degradation in Dongtan. Just between 1990 and 2000, the total ecosystem service values had reduced 62%, which was largerly attributable to the 71% loss of wetlands and tidal flats. (Zhao et al., 2004) According to relative research, the main reasons, also...
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