Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched a global partnership initiative for the conservation and adaptive management of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in 2002. China is one of the first countries that responded to the GIAHS initiative, witnessed by the designation of Qingtian Rice-Fish Culture by FAO in June 2005. It is also the first country that identifies and conserves agricultural heritage systems at the national level, demonstrated by the initiation of China-Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (China-NIAHS) by Chinese Ministry of Agriculture in March 2012. In the past five years, progress on the identification, conservation and management of China-NIAHS has been widely achieved in China; however, challenges such as lack of adequate mastery of potential agricultural heritage systems, lack of local popularization of their concept and connotations, and lack of endogenous motives for their conservation and development are also in front of China. This paper reviewed the progress and discussed the challenges, aiming to help formulate suggestions for the future conservation and management of agricultural heritage systems and also to provide an opportunity for other countries to understand the nation’s efforts on the conservation and management of agricultural heritage systems.
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