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Identification of Priority Conservation Areas for Protected Rivers Based on Ecosystem Integrity and Authenticity: A Case Study of the Qingzhu River, Southwest China

by 1,2,3, 2,4, 5, 2,4,* and 2,4
1
School of Business and Tourism Management, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
2
National Park Administration of China, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Planning and Research Center of National Park, Kunming 650216, China
3
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Server, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
4
School of Architecture and Planning, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
5
Yunnan Meteorological Service, Kunming 650034, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010323
Received: 2 December 2020 / Revised: 23 December 2020 / Accepted: 25 December 2020 / Published: 31 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durable Protections for Free-Flowing Rivers)
The establishment of protected areas for a river (PARs) is an efficient approach for the conservation of its ecosystem and biodiversity. This study selected the free-flowing Qingzhu River, located in the mountains of southwest China and one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots, as a case study. This study applied the ecosystem approach to develop a model for identifying priority conservation areas for a river (PCARs) based on integrity and authenticity. Three model elements were selected, namely streams, forest and human activity, characterized by three indicators: irreplaceability, tree cover and human activity, respectively. The spatial distributions of these indicators were overlaid according to different weights to generate a map (SCPV) of comprehensive protected value (CPV), which was used to indicate ecosystem integrity and authenticity in the study catchment. Lastly, PCARs were identified by comparing existing protected areas with the calculated SCPV. The application of the model to the Qingzhu River indicated the area of PCARs to be ~71.88 km2, accounting for 15.13% of the total PAR area. Priority reaches for protection were then identified, with many falling within the mainstem of the river in the middle and lower reaches. The total length of priority protected reaches was ~75.97 km, accounting for 49.33% of the total length of the river mainstem within Qingchuan County. This study validated the model at both the theoretical and practical level, confirming that the model is useful for facilitating the precise protection and smart management of rivers. View Full-Text
Keywords: protected areas for river (PARs); priority conservation areas; ecosystem integrity; ecosystem authenticity; ecosystem approach; free-flowing river protected areas for river (PARs); priority conservation areas; ecosystem integrity; ecosystem authenticity; ecosystem approach; free-flowing river
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, P.; Zhang, Y.; Lu, W.; Zhao, M.; Zhu, M. Identification of Priority Conservation Areas for Protected Rivers Based on Ecosystem Integrity and Authenticity: A Case Study of the Qingzhu River, Southwest China. Sustainability 2021, 13, 323. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010323

AMA Style

Li P, Zhang Y, Lu W, Zhao M, Zhu M. Identification of Priority Conservation Areas for Protected Rivers Based on Ecosystem Integrity and Authenticity: A Case Study of the Qingzhu River, Southwest China. Sustainability. 2021; 13(1):323. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010323

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Peng, Yuxiao Zhang, Weikun Lu, Min Zhao, and Meng Zhu. 2021. "Identification of Priority Conservation Areas for Protected Rivers Based on Ecosystem Integrity and Authenticity: A Case Study of the Qingzhu River, Southwest China" Sustainability 13, no. 1: 323. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010323

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