Save Songshan-Haituo National Nature Reserves from becoming 2022 Winter Olympic Site.
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Established in 1985, Songshan is the first and only national level nature reserve in the Beijing municipality. With an area of 4660 ha, Songshan is located in the Yanshan mountain range, lying just south of Dahaituo Mountain (2198 m), the second highest peak in Beijing. Along with its rich variety of wildlife, its close proximity to the urban center of Beijing also adds value to its important ecological functions and services such as water retention, dust storm prevention, and air cleansing. On top of this, the nature reserve also provides a unique place for the millions of regional urban residents to experience nature.
Songshan is the largest habitat area for natural stands of Chinese pine in the Huabei region, while the unique secondary natural Chinese pine forest of Songshan is also a very important ecosystem type. Other regionally characteristic forest types found at Songshan include Manchurian walnut, linden, elm, and birch.
The reserve is also rich in biodiversity with 713 known plant species, 29 species of mammals, 143 species of birds, 15 species of reptile, 2 amphibian and 12 fish species. There are four Level 1 nationally protected animal species including the golden leopard (Panthera pardus Linnaeus), Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos kamtschatica Severtzov), Imperial eagle(Aquila heliaca heliaca Savigny), and Black stork (Ciconianigra), in which you are most likely to see a golden eagle.
Its evolution ever tied to human activities, Songshan can be seen as a historical museum of human interactions with natural systems. In just short walks through Songshan, you can see hundred year old Chinese pine forests, as well as mixed natural stands of broad-leaved forests with rich biodiversity and patches of planted forests composed of only one or two arbor species. Even the untrained eye can pick out distinct differences between these various forest stands, revealing a great deal about nature just with a walk through the woods.
This mixed range of forest types at Songshan provides another important service as an educational resource for both scientists studying biological evolution in the Huabei region and elementary school students learning about basic natural systems. Other important research fields that Songshan is a suitable host for include wildlife protection (rocky vegetation species), vegetation species reconstruction efforts, and field surveys.
Songshan has a complex ecosystem, which provides for a broad assortment of invertebrates, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. There are 98 faculty 540 insects, 68 faculty 216 vertebrates, including 15 faculty 29 mammals, 44 faculty 158 birds, 5 faculty 15 reptiles, 2 faculty 2 amphibians, and 2 faculty 12 fishes. Of these vertebrates, there are 4 national I listed protected species known to occur in the NR, including 3 birds and 1 mammal, namely, golden eagle, imperial eagle, black stork and leopard. Leopard was historically occurred in here, but their present status is unknown.
All kinds of birds, fish, frog, squirrel and butterfly are the most visible animals in Songshan, many visitors have met with them here. If you were interested with watching birds, Songshan would be the best place in Beijing. You can see more than 50 kinds of birds in one day, if you are lucky enough. And you will see the fish and polliwog in stream at the right season. In Summer and the early Autumn, there are a great number of butterflies here. They will fly near the flowers and stay on your shoulder. It’s an amazing experience.
However, many big mammals in Songshan are difficult to encounter, which are prefer to stay in the undisturbed area such as the core zone. In 2005, the paw print of a leopard was discovered in Songshan, brining exciting news that the highly endangered mammal might be returning to the nature reserve area.
Vegetation is diverse, reflecting the varied climatic and environmental conditions encountered across the park’s 1600-meter elevation gradient. Approximately 83 percent of the NR is forested, 12 percent is shrub land, 3 percent is subalpine meadow.
(Above quotes from Beijing Songshan National Nature Reserve)
Chinese environmental advocates are expressing fear that construction and snowmaking projects associated with Beijing’s successful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics could damage one of the region’s few nature reserves, according to a new report Monday. The International Olympic Committee’s decision to select China’s bid sparked an outcry on the country’s Internet forums and social media platforms that government censors quickly silenced.
The Beijing 2022 committee’s plan for the event called for the construction of Alpine skiing courses and buildings on and near China’s Xiao Haituo Mountain in Yanqing, the proposed site of the Olympic village. Using satellite photos and IOC documents related to the proposed construction sites, critics discovered that some buildings would be placed within the Songshan National Nature Reserve, which could damage its delicate ecosystem, the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong reported.
Chinese Internet censors removed posts that criticized the construction plan from social media sites and forums. “We may not be able to see the same Haituo if winter sports venues are built there,” one user wrote, according to the South China Morning Post.
Aside from its status as one of the few nature reserves near the Chinese capital, the Songshan National Nature Preserve helps protect the local water supply and shields Beijing, a city beset by smog, from dust storms, according to the Nature Conservancy’s website. Critics argue the Olympic project will force widespread tree removals, while artificial snow production could damage the preserve’s soil.
The International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission report identified environmental concerns associated with the Yanqing site’s proximity to the nature reserve as one of the main “challenges” Beijing’s bid posed.
“The proposed Alpine skiing and sliding venues and the Olympic Village at Yanqing would be adjacent to the 4,600-hectare Songshan National Nature Reserve and is part of the same mountain ecosystem. This would impose a number of environmental requirements that would have to be taken into consideration during the detailed planning phase,” the IOC’s report said.
Above quotes from International Business Times
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