Mutual learning in conservation of biodiversity in China and South Africa – The role of national parks

  • Meryl Burgess


Introduction The increase in depletion and extinction of the world‟s biodiversity has led to a greater interest from the global community to protect the environment and safeguard natural habitats and thousands of species. In developing countries like China and South Africa, factors like the growth and development of urban and rural spaces – with negative effects of industrialisation on the environment – as well as high population growth have added extra pressures to both countries‟ biodiversity and natural environments. Consequently, protected areas and specifically national parks have become increasingly important for conservation purposes. Beyond the conservation value of national parks, they are, however, also a place for activities such as education, tourism and relaxation. National parks have a crucial role in the protected areas system in the world, as they provide important environmental protection services for the natural growth and life of ecological processes and habitats. For this reason, this study focused on national parks as protected areas in China and South Africa, their roles in biodiversity conservation, and the implementation of regulation in light of current challenges as well as the special case of tourism. Regulation and management of parks are critical as parks need to uphold the laws and policy on biodiversity conservation and environmental protection. Most national parks, like other protected areas such as nature reserves and national heritage sites, fall within the laws and regulations of the state. They are important to regulate as these areas are essential for the conservation of a country‟s biodiversity. Moreover, laws and regulation on biodiversity conservation ensure that the proper management of the parks are ensured. This paper looked at where China could learn from South Africa as well as vice versa in terms of protected areas and dealing with current challenges.