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Daweishan Community Protected Area, China

Daweishan Community Protected Area (CPA) is located in Yunnan Province, China. It is a place of vital importance to the Yi and Miao people, where they can practice their unique culture and traditions, inherently linked to the biodiversity of the area. This biodiversity is significant: the CPA is located in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Indo-Burma hotspot. Since the CPA is mountainous, the local forests vary with altitude, encompassing humid rainforest, montane rainforest, monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest, mossy evergreen broad-leaved forest, and mossy dwarf forest. This diversity of habitats gives rise to a multitude of species, including the Assam macaque (Macaca assamensis), greater slow loris (Nycticebus coucang), pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), binturong (Arctictis binturong), green peafowl (Pavo muticus), golden pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus), common water monitor (Varanus salvator), and Burmese python (Python molurus). Notable plant species include Cycas multipinnata, Cycas micholitzii, Cycas diannanensis, Parashorea chinensis, Alcimandra cathcartii, Bretschneidera sinensis, Dipterocarpus retusus and Amentotaxus yunnanensis, among other endemic and endangered species.

The formalisation of Daweishan as a CPA was initiated by the Nature Conservation Association Pingbian in 2013 and was supported by Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme. The primary reason for establishing the CPA was to integrate conservation activities across the three villages in the reserve, and ensure that previously unprotected areas were brought under active management. This management has been strongly influenced by the traditional laws of the three villages, such as rules governing the hunting of wildlife and felling of trees. The rules enable the community to protect and benefit from their environment, while leaving it in-tact for future generations. Decisions about the management of the CPA are made in a highly participatory way, with all villagers being consulted on important issues.

Although the CPA faces threats from an increasing population and pressure on natural resources, a range of measures are in place to mitigate these threats. The first of these is the introduction of sustainable livelihoods, such as beekeeping and organic agriculture, reducing pressure on wild resources. The second is the establishment of a biodiversity committee and patrol team, carrying out regular patrols to identify transgressions and raise awareness. As a result of the patrol team’s activities, no illegal deforestation or hunting has been recorded in the past five years. In addition, the community has switched from burning wood to cleaner sources of energy, and has reduced its use of harmful pesticides by 40% in three years. The reduction in pesticide use has coincided with an observed increase in the numbers of insects and birds.

Increasingly, the government has been supporting the CPA by providing training and capacity-building, covering rangers’ salaries and electricity charges, and supporting sustainable livelihoods. The border of the CPA has been formally demarcated by the government through a Forest Rights Certificate and Land Certificate.

Looking to the future, the priorities for the CPA include establishing a sustainable financing mechanism; obtaining external support; cooperating with companies on the development to eco-friendly products and ecotourism; raising awareness among local people; and further capacity-building activities. In particular, the community would like to develop a seed bank, reduce waste and implement a recycling scheme, and establish a rescue centre for wildlife.

This case study was originally published by UNEP-WCMC in October 2019. The content was provided by the custodians of this ICCA. The ICCA has been self-declared and has not been through a peer-review process to verify its status. More details on this process can be found here. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of UN Environment Programme or WCMC.