Documentation:Open Case Studies/FRST522/Analysis of the History and Evolution of Potatso (Pudacuo) National Park in Yunnan Province, China

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Contents

Keywords

Potatso; National park; History; Evolution.

Summary

The case study focuses on the history and the evolution of tenure arrangements and administration scenarios in Potatso (Pudacuo) National Park. The study identifies seven stakeholders involved in the case, and the justification, power, and interest analysis are made to clarify the relationships among stakeholders. Discussion focuses on the progress, issues, and current situations of the national park. Finally, the study provides three potential suggestions to solve the issues.

Figure 1. The scenery of Potatso National Park.

Introduction

Potatso National Park

Location, Land Use, and Environments

Potatso National Park, which is 22 kilometres from Shangri-la County, is located in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China (Bai & Lai, 2011). It is established in "Three Parallel Rivers" of the Yunnan Protected Area (Bai & Lai, 2011). The total area of the national park is 1993km2 (Bai & Lai, 2011; Yan & Zhu, 2014), which is developed into seven modules according to the plan (Yan & Zhu, 2014). The total area of protection takes up 99.81% of the land, while the recreation area is 0.19% (Yan & Zhu, 2014). The park has different geological landforms, including lakes and wetlands, forest meadows, river valleys and streams, which are also the habitat of rare animals and plant species (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhou, 2013). The original natural environment is well preserved and has a great potential for tourism and future development.

History

Potatso National Park was the first national park established in China according to the definition “Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities” given by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2019). Using the definition given by IUCN to set up the national park is due to the influence on the government from the Nature Conservancy (TNC), a US-based NGO. Since the late 20th century, TNC had begun the plan to introduce the concept of national parks in China (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019). In 1998, TNC persuaded the provincial government that it is feasible to set up national parks in Yunnan Province to balance the need for economic growth and conservation (Ma, 2013). From 2004 to 2006, the location of the national park and the preliminary plans were determined (Kram et al., 2012). In 2006, Potatso National Park was established (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2011; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhou, 2013).

Local Community in the Region of National Park

Basic Information

There are two townships, three villagers' committees and twenty-nine production cooperatives in the region where the national park is located (Bai & Lai, 2011; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang, Sun, Tang, & Yang, 2012; Zhou, 2013). The two major nationalities of local residents are Yi and Tibetan nationalities (Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012). The local people are poorly educated. It has been estimated that nearly 80% of local people are illiterate or semiliterate (Yan & Zhu, 2014).

Economic Status

A timeline is shown to illustrate the history and evolution trend of local people's economic status:

Before 1995

Villagers in the region made a living by keeping livestock, and gathering herbal medicines, and matsutake mushrooms (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhou, 2013).

1995 to 2006

Tourism developed in the region. Horse-leading became the major source of income for local communities and provides 3000-5000 yuan per household every year (Bai & Lai, 2011; Wang, 2019; Zhou, 2013).

2006 to present

Eco-compensation is the major source of income after the foundation of the national park (Zhang et al., 2012).

Tenure Arrangements

Provincial Tenure History

The change in tenure in Yunnan Province can be categorized into three stages from the 1980s to the present. Chinese literature gave detailed information on those changes. A brief timeline is used to illustrate the different tenure policies:

The 1980s to 1993

In 1980, the Government of Yunnan Province implemented the agricultural household responsibility system (AHRS), which was a ten- to fifteen- year contract on owning cropland for individual households (Zheng, 2006; Liu & Yuan, 2007). Three years later, the policy expanded to the forestry area. On the one hand, deforested areas of forest were given to individual households as freehold hills (Zheng, 2006). On the other hand, in the lands that are known as shared responsibility hills, households were assigned management rights under contracts, but the tree and land tenure were retained to be communal properties (Zheng, 2006).  

1993 to 2003

This decade marked a transition stage between the 1980s and the enactment of the Rural Land Contract Law in 2003 (Zheng, 2006). Several auctions of policies for the bare land emerged in this decade. For example, the utilization rights of bare land and shrublands are given to individual households in Yiliang County (Zheng, 2006).

2003 to Present

The Chinese government enacted the Rural Land Contract Law in 2003 to secure the tenure rights of local farmers in rural areas (Zheng, 2006; Wang & Du, 2009). It defined the duration of land tenures in different land types: 30 years for bare lands (Zheng, 2006); 30 to 70 years for forestry land (Zheng, 2006; Liu & Yuan, 2007); and 30 to 50 years for grassland (Zheng, 2006). According to Zheng (2006), four kinds of land use rights are used: Freehold hills (Individual rural households), shared responsibility hills (individual households), collective responsibility hills (Villagers' groups or villagers' committees), and contracted operation and management hills (From the auction of use rights for bare lands).

Tenure Change in the Region of Potatso National Park

The land tenure type is the collective responsibility forest in the region that follows the Rural Land Contract Law before the foundation of the national park (Zhou & Grumbine, 2011). However, different voices emerged from the investigation of Colchester (2004) which stated that the land in Yunnan Province is state-owned. The land right changed differently after the foundation of the national park due to the special locations of communities which proved the voice. The right to the forest is limited in the region of the national park. Local people can get forest products like mushrooms in the forest and lead horse riding tours (Ma, 2013; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011; Zhou, 2013), which is the representation of operational rights. However, the local access to the forest is strictly controlled by the government after the foundation of the national park (Ma, 2013; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011; Zhou, 2013). The “Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)” right is not protected. This can be proved by the dissatisfaction of the local community about compensation although the Park provides subsidies, employment, and franchises to local communities every year (Zhang et al., 2012).

Comparison Table between Potatso and Jozani Forest, Zanzibar

According to the information given by Menzies (2007), a comparison table is shown below to address the difference between Potatso and Jozani Forest:

Operational level rights Collective choice rights Duration of rights Rights to compensation Land sovereignty FPIC
Pudacuo Restricted No. No. Only a few parts of the ticket income was provided to local communities (Wang, 2019). Local communities were not satisfied with it (Zhang et al., 2012). No. Negotiations were not enough (Zhang et al., 2012). No boundaries were set at the beginning of the foundation (Zhou & Grumbine, 2011).
Jozani Forest Yes. Local people can access to the forest. No. Relatively long-term, secured. The national park provided employment, and benefits are shared. The national park provided employment, and benefits are shared. Good negotiations. JECA and VCC helped to define boundaries.

Reasons and Analysis

There are two reasons that underlie the current tenure of local communities. First, the land-use scenario has a close relationship with the current political regime of China. This means that the government controls everything, including the land (Colchester, 2004). Hence, local people get used to the top-down administration pattern, which on the other hand, shows limited effects of possible bottom-up approaches (Wang, 2019). Second, the educational level is low among the villagers (Yan & Zhu, 2014). All they care about are economic benefits (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhang et al., 2012). Hence, they cannot win or lead in the negotiation with the government. The government might have the advantage, which led to the current situation.

Governance

History of Administration in the Region

The administration underwent five distinct stages in the history of the region. As illustrated by Colchester (2004) in the land tenure section, the land is state-controlled to some degree. The government took part in the management evolution in the history of the region. The article by Tian & Yang (2009) gave a clear illustration of the management changes:

Co-management with local communities (1984 to 1993)

In the 1980s, the forest tenure type is under AHRS and its extension (Zheng, 2006). The tenure type in the region belonged to the collective responsibility forest (Zhou & Grumbine, 2011). In 1984, the Bita Lake Natural Reserve was founded (Tian & Yang, 2009), which is shown in figure 2. However, the less developed forest attracted few visitors (Tian & Yang, 2009). Hence, management practices were loose.

Figure 2. Potatso National Park Map (Travel China Guide, 2019).

Independent exploitation (1994 to 1996)

In 1993, Bita Lake Natural Reserve began to sell entrance tickets due to the beautiful scenery, which was approved by the government (Tian & Yang, 2009). Also, the auction of land rights for rural people (Zheng, 2006) increased the access of local people to the forest (Tian & Yang, 2009) and local tourism services (e.g. horse-leading). The region was exploited and managed by local people.

Monopolized operation of state-owned enterprises (1997 to 1999)

As tourism increased, tourism was controlled by state-owned enterprises. A state-owned ticket management center was founded by the local government. 25% of the entrance ticket income was given to the local people (Tian & Yang, 2009). For the compensation of ticket income, the horse-leading team was under the management of local government after the negotiation (Tian & Yang, 2009).

Chartered operation of private companies (2000 to 2003)

Two private companies took control of ticket management through a contract with the local government (Tian & Yang, 2009). However, the companies cared about economic income rather than the local environment, so the private management was banned by the government in 2003 (Tian & Yang, 2009).

Managed by the national park (2004 to present)

Two local administrative agencies were set up additionally in the process of national park foundation. In 2005, the government set up Potatso National Park Management Bureau (PNPMB) (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2009, 2011). Also, the Potatso National Park Tourism Company was set up by the government (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2009, 2011). As well as the pre-existing Bita Lake Natural Reserve Station, the tourism company and PNPMB share the same administrative level Zinda (2012), which forms the current management scenario.

Reasons for the Change in Administration Practices

The reason for the changes is economic-oriented, which can be interpreted as “It is humans' instinct to pursue profits” (Tian & Yang, 2009). From stage 2 to 4, local people as well as government and companies, gained benefits from the region (Tian & Yang, 2009). However, the development mode's emphasis on economic benefits cannot last long. The local environment crashed due to over-exploitation (Tian & Yang, 2009), and the lack of monitoring procedures (Zhang et al., 2012) is the core issue, which is of great significance to the country's administration system (Zinda, 2012). Therefore, the second reason is ecology-oriented, which means that the administration, as well as the national park model, should balance the development and environment (Ma, 2013; Wang et al., 2012). The combination of development and environment is the future orientation of national park management.

Current Administration Scenario of Potatso National Park

It can be concluded from Ma (2013) that Bita Lake Natural Reserve Station, Pudacuo National Park Tourism Company, and PNPMB are the three major institutions in the current scenario. There are three distinct levels of administration: State Forest Administration (SFA), National Park Management Office (NPMO, established by Provincial Forestry Department in 2008), and PNPMB (Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2011). The role of PNPMB is conservation, land use planning, implementing forest policies, and community negotiation. The role of the tourism company is the investment, operation of the national park; the role of Bita Lake Natural Reserve Station is conservation and implementing forest policies (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2011). As interpreted, there are overlaps in the roles between the Bita Lake Natural Reserve Station and PNPMB.

Issues in the Scenario

Three issues are detected from the current scenario. First, if the enactment and implementation of national park law are compared to a pillar from the top to bottom, there are problems that where the pillar should be, and the bottom of the pillar is rotting. The human society and bureaucratism in China are the hotbeds of corruption (Ma, 2013; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011; Zinda, 2012), which may undermine the management efficiency. Also, there is a debate in the high levels of government about which department (SFA and others) should lead Potatso National Park after the huge economic benefits emerged (Ma, 2013). The mess of the position of power also affected management practices (Ma, 2013).

Second, according to Ma (2013), the three institutions that manage the national park directly are all originated from the government, which means that they are state-controlled to some extent. The conflation of administration rights and operational rights illustrates that the rights are not exclusive (Bai & Lai, 2011; Tian & Yang, 2011), which results in low efficiency and bad collaboration between institutions (Bai & Lai, 2011). One of the examples is the buck-passing by institutions after the wildfire at the edge of the national park in 2007 (Tian & Yang, 2011).

Third, the excessive involvement of the government caused limited involvement of local people (Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011). The limited involvement is another reason for losing the negotiation with the government. The consequence of the dominance of government is top-down management (Wang, 2019). Local people should have more participation.

Social Actors --- Justifications of Affected and Interested Stakeholders

In the case of Potatso National Park, there are seven major stakeholders identified in the literature (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Wang, 2010; Zhang et al., 2012; Zinda, 2012). In detail, they are Government sectors (Yunnan Forestry Department, NPMO, and PNPMB), non-governmental organizations (NGO, TNC), local communities, research institutions, tourists. The detailed justification is shown below for each stakeholder.

Government Sectors (Yunnan Forestry Department, NPMO, and PNPMB)

Stakeholder type: Interested

Justification: There are three major institutions in the current management scenario (Ma, 2013). Each institution has its superior institutions (e.g. Yunnan Forestry Department leads NPMO that leads PNPMB.) (Ma, 2013). However, as the governmental institution at the same level shares the same power (Zinda, 2012), the analysis of government can be simplified into one branch of those institutions. All the levels of governments should be interested stakeholders in this case. This is because the staff of the government are financed by taxes (You & Zhang, 2016), so the staff have no dependency on the region.

NGO, TNC

Stakeholder type: Interested

Justification: In fact, TNC had already closed the office located near Potatso National Park in 2009 (Zinda, 2012). The reason to include TNC into the analysis is that the TNC took part in the foundation of the national park (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019), and there is a future possibility that an NGO takes part in the affairs of the national park. Since the TNC has already closed the office near the national park, there is no dependency of TNC on Potatso National Park. Hence, TNC is interested stakeholder.

Local Communities

Stakeholder type: Affected

Justification: As introduced, local communities lived by livestock, herbal medicines, and matsutakes in the forest before the foundation of the national park (Bai & Lai, 2011; Wang, 2019; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou, 2013). After the foundation of the park, the local communities received eco-compensations of several thousand yuan (Zhang et al., 2012). However, they will lose the compensation if they move away from the park. In the investigation given by Zhang et al. (2012), the villagers are not satisfied with the national park to some extent, which shows the emotional link to the land. All the evidence proves that local communities have a high dependency on the region. Hence, they are affected stakeholder.

Research Institutions

Stakeholder type: Interested

Justification: As Wang (2010) illustrated in his Master's thesis, Potatso is a place of high biodiversity (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhou, 2013) which attracts the interests of outside researchers. For example, Zhang et al. (2018) investigated the influence of precipitation and temperature on the growth of conifers in Potatso National Park, which was ecological-oriented. However, the researchers can carry on research projects in other places, not only in Potatso National Park. The researchers have no dependencies on this area. Hence, they are interested stakeholders.

Tourists

Stakeholder type: Interested

Justification: Potatso National Park provides great recreational values to the tourists (Wang et al., 2012). However, it is not an emotional link to the land. Also, many tourists come from urban area that has other jobs (Wang et al., 2012). They have neither emotional links nor dependency on the national park. Hence, they are interested stakeholders.

Social Actors --- Power Assessment

According to Ma (2013), two conclusions of relative power and interest analysis can be drawn from the government institutions. First, there is a positive relationship between the level of the Chinese government and the relative power. It is common sense that the higher level of government holds bigger power. Second, the relative interest decreases with the increasing level of governments. The higher level of governments is in charge of different institutions at lower levels (Ma, 2013). Hence, the interest of the higher-level government will be divided. That is the reason for the negative relationship between levels and interests. In terms of those two conclusions, there is a negative relationship between the relative power and relative interest, which is the basis for the power analysis figure below. The relative power and interest are qualitative data used for comparisons.

Figure 3. The relative power and interest for different stakeholders.

Government Sectors (Yunnan Forestry Department, NPMO, and PNPMB)

As introduced before, the relative interest of the government institutions decreases with the relative power, which positively relates to the government level. The government institutions manage the park by different levels, which confer on PNPMB the power of conservation, land use planning, implementing forest policies, and community negotiation (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2011). However, the power of the government is greater than what it should be. The ownership of the land is seized by the government (Colchester, 2004). The power of NGOs is restricted and strictly monitored by governmental power (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019; Zinda, 2012). Also, the power of the government is greater than the power of local communities (Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011), which caused the inferior position of the local communities.

NGO, TNC

TNC collaborated with the government to establish Potatso National Park (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019). Hence, it may have bigger power than tourists and local communities in this case. However, since the power is controlled by the government, the power of a US based NGO like TNC is limited (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019; Zinda, 2012). As an environment-oriented organization, TNC has more interest than the PNPMB since TNC was trying to use the IUCN's definition of national park to construct Potatso (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019). However, it has less interest than researchers since they closed the office in 2009 (Zinda, 2012). The power of NGOs is limited in this case. Hence, it might be difficult to implement bottom-up approaches (Wang, 2019). This is not a good signal because the voice of introducing an environment-oriented model of national parks would be neglected, and the major voice remaining is economic development (Ma, 2013), which might be the reason that TNC withdrew from the national park.

Local Communities

As an affected stakeholder, no one cares more about their land than themselves. However, the dominance of government (Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou & Grumbine, 2011) makes the power of local communities in Pudacuo even less than the lowest level of the government institution. As the villagers are poorly educated (Yan & Zhu, 2014), they care about economic benefits (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhang et al., 2012) and that is the cause of low power. In consequence, the low power of local communities caused the deficiency in FPIC that results in low participation of local communities (Bai & Lai, 2011; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou, 2013). According to the investigation given by Zhang et al. (2012), the local community can only create disturbances to express their dissatisfaction, rather than voicing their concerns in a more structured and effective way. 

Research Institutions

As indicated before, the researchers have a higher interest than tourists, government institutions, and NGOs since many of them are ecology-oriented (Zhang et al., 2018). However, as interested stakeholders, the researchers have less interest than local people. As more and more forest landscape approaches are science-embedded (Langston et al., 2019), the power of the researchers is variable which has a huge potential. Many researchers in Potatso collaborate with local government institutions (Wang, 2010), so the power of researchers is regarded the same as PNPMB. Moreover, the collaboration between academia and government in high levels indicates that researchers may have big power and affect the policies-making for the government in a way of ecology-oriented (Langston et al., 2019), which is beneficial to the local environment.

Tourists

Tourists who visit the national park are normal citizens. Hence, they have the lowest power, which might be the same as local people. Also, they have the lowest interests as outsiders, and might share the same interest levels as staff and leaders in the high-level government institutions. Hence, tourists may have both low interests and low power.

Discussions of Potatso National Park

Different Perspectives: Aims of the National Park from Stakeholders.

TNC helped in the establishment of Potatso National Park with the introduction of IUCN's concept of the national park (Ma, 2013) that is environment-oriented. Hence, Potatso National Park is environment-oriented in TNC's point of view (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019). However, the local community is economy-oriented, and they care about compensations and employment (Bai & Lai, 2011; Zhang et al., 2012). Hence, the government was stuck in a dilemma of conflicting goals for environmental conservation and economic development. The government made trade-offs in those aims. A new model combining IUCN's concept and economic development was put in place (Ma, 2013; Wang et al., 2012), which is the aim from the perspective of the government. The current administration scenario that the institutions have both the economic and environmental protection functions (Bai & Lai, 2011; Ma, 2013; Tian & Yang, 2011) is the evidence for the combined model.

Progress, Core Issues, and Current Situations

The establishment of Potatso National Park is partially successful due to the current progress and core issues illustrated below.

Progress

Figure 4. The economic income evolution of tourism from 2006 to 2015. Data source: (Liu, 2017).

The first success of Potatso National Park is the increasing income from tourism according to figure 4. The income in 2015 was seven times as much as the income in 2006, which provides huge benefits to the region. Second, the combined model of Potatso National Park implemented good land use design to conserve forest resources for the application of the IUCN concept. The protection area takes up 99.81% of the land (Yan & Zhu, 2014). Third, published literature reviewed that the employment of local communities (Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou, 2013) increased and infrastructure improved (Ma, 2013; Zhou, 2013) after the foundation of the national park.

Core Issues

As stated before, the major objective of the government to establish the national park was to balance the need for economic growth and ecosystem conservation. However, issues emerged from both aspects.

First, tourism exerts pressure on local ecosystems. Tourists threw trash and caused disturbance to the forest (Wang et al., 2012). The boating recreational program in Shudu Lake significantly affects the living environment of Schizothoracin shudu, a native fish species that can only be found in Shudu Lake (Wang, 2019). Additionally, the lack of monitoring of franchises to the local community results in the degradation of forest areas due to the barbecue and the destruction of public facilities by local villagers (Zhou, 2013).

Second, although economic benefits increase with years, there are issues in the economic aspect. The issues originate from the power overlap between the government institutions at the lower level. Poor collaboration between the institutions may trigger the problem when the cash flows through institutions. For instance, Potatso National Park Tourism Company gives 4.7 million yuan to PNPMB for the compensation of local communities every year (Zhang et al., 2012). However, according to Tian & Yang's (2011) article, only 2 million yuan is for the local communities. Hence, there is a 2.7 million-yuan disparity, which is quite notable. The difference in cash illustrates the limited eco-compensation for the local communities.

Current Situations

As issues emerged, the recent document provided by People's Government of Yunnan Province (2019) gave out current solutions on those issues: First, a uniform standard for the tourists will be formed to control waste dump in forest area of national park; Second, the government will segregate the power of government institutions to increase the efficiency. Third, the government will invest and increase the amount of eco-compensation for the local communities.

Suggestions for the Future

According to the issues introduced, there are three possible solutions to deal with the issues.

First, it is important to reintroduce a role played by the NGO. Although TNC quit the program of managing Potatso National Park (Zinda, 2012), the collaboration between TNC and the government provides a useful template to the future scenario of NGOs' involvement. A negotiation can be made between government and NGO in the current scenario. On the one hand, since the power is controlled by the government (Ma, 2013; Wang, 2019; Zinda, 2012), decentralization is needed to some extent to entitle NGOs to play a bigger role in park management. Also, increasing investment for national park management by the government (Tian & Yang, 2011)is necessary for NGOs. On the other hand, TNC failed to reach an agreement with the tourism company due to its insistence on environmental protection (Zinda, 2012). In the negotiation, NGOs can compromise and try to admit the importance of economic development and follow the combined model of the national park (Ma, 2013; Wang et al., 2012) to reach the agreement. The compromise from both sides of the negotiation can increase the role of NGOs that can work with researchers (Zinda, 2012) to provide ideas of future development to the government, which forms good collaboration.

Second, forming the bottom-up scenario in the Potatso National Park is necessary for the participation of local communities. Since the educational level of villagers is low in the region (Yan & Zhu, 2014), it is necessary to involve appropriate education for the villagers (Ma, 2013; Zhou, 2013). High penetration of compulsory education is needed in the area, which can be achieved by launching the long-term teaching program by university students in the national park. Zhou (2013) indicated that learning Mandarin is necessary for the villagers to have a better understanding of policies and conservation practices, learning other languages is also an option to improve the international popularity of the national park. Decentralization is also important for the villagers and their rights, which are the basis for the bottom-up approach. The rate of local communities taking part in park management should be determined (Yan & Zhu, 2014) to secure the participation of local communities. Villagers can be involved in the current management scenario (Wang, 2019; Yan & Zhu, 2014; Zhang et al., 2012; Zhou, 2013), forming the organization like the Village Conservation Committee (Menzies, 2007) to ensure the implementation of the bottom-up approach.

Third, the power of each institution should be clearly defined to avoid the conflation of rights. Administration rights and operation rights need to be segregated (Bai & Lai, 2011; Tian & Yang, 2011). According to the official document, the government is trying to increase the collaboration between institutions and power segregation (People's Government of Yunnan Province, 2019). Also, the auction of franchise rights (Tian & Yang, 2011) can increase the involvement of the private sector which avoids government control on all the institutions. An appropriate monitoring process is needed to safeguard the environmental values of this globally significant ecosystem and national treasure (Ma, 2013; Zhang et al., 2012; Zinda, 2012).

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