(East-West Question) Li Zhenji: What does China's Yuheng system tell us about protecting biodiversity?

  China News Service, Fuzhou, May 20th: To protect biodiversity, what does China's Yuheng system tell us?

——Interview with Li Zhenji, professor of the School of Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University

  China News Agency reporter Zhang Lijun

  The International Day for Biological Diversity is approaching, and this year's slogan is "Building a Shared Future for All Life".

In fact, promoting the harmonious coexistence of man and nature has been a tradition in China since ancient times.

As early as thousands of years ago, China raised the concept of natural ecology into a national management system, and specially set up an agency in charge of mountains, forests and rivers to formulate policies and laws; many dynasties had laws to protect nature and severely punished those who violated them. punish.

The Yuheng system is a prominent representative.

  Today, in the face of the accelerated loss of global biodiversity, what does the Yuheng system tell us?

How should we draw wisdom from China's ancient ecological culture and build an ecological civilization?

Li Zhenji, an evaluation expert of national parks and national nature reserves and a professor at the School of Environment and Ecology of Xiamen University, recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency "East-West Question" to interpret this.

The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

China News Service: What explorations and practices have China made in the history of biodiversity conservation?

Li Zhenji: Looking

back on history, the Chinese nation has always respected and loved nature. The Chinese civilization that lasted for more than 5,000 years has nurtured a rich ecological culture.

This can be seen from the following aspects:

  In terms of cognition, ancient China had a profound understanding of biodiversity.

Books such as "Shan Hai Jing", "Guanzi Diyuan Chapter", "Book of Songs", "Shen Nong's Herbal Classic", "Shui Jing Zhu", "Huainanzi" and other books have recorded more than 300 species of animals and plants, as well as descriptions of many famous mountains, rivers and forests .

"Guanzi Land Member" fully understands the trees in the mountains and the wetland plants in the swamp, and requires dialectical compliance with the laws of nature, harmonious development between man and nature, and allowing all kinds of wild animals to live freely—" Birds and beasts are provided with shelter, and there are many deer and deer.” The protection of natural resources is achieved through the method of moderate request and “prohibition of issuance” to achieve the purpose of sustainable utilization.

Herds of dwarf deer frolic in the grasslands of Qilian Mountains National Park.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Ma Mingyan

  At the level of consciousness, Huang-Lao, Confucian, Buddhist and ethnic minorities all share the same view on biodiversity conservation.

In ancient times, when Xia Yu was in power, he promulgated a ban: "In the third month of spring, the mountains and forests do not climb the axes, so that the grass and trees grow. In the third month of summer, the rivers and lakes do not enter the nets, so as to grow the length of fish and turtles." In "Lao Tzu" "Man follows the earth, the earth follows the sky, the heaven follows the Tao, and the Tao follows the nature", and regards the laws of nature as the supreme laws of all things in the universe and the human world.

In "The Analects of Confucius, Shu'er", "fishing without framing, yi without shooting for accommodation", that is, do not intercept the current when fishing, and do not shoot overnight birds when hunting, which reflects the simple ecological and moral thinking of the ancients.

In "Mencius: The Heart of the Heart", "knowing relatives and benevolent to the people, benevolent to the people and loving things" means not only to care for one's own compatriots, but also to care for all kinds of animals, plants and other natural life.

Since the Tang Dynasty, many famous mountains, such as Mount Emei, Mount Lu, Mount Jizu, Mount Yuelu, Mount Yunju, Mount Qingcheng and Mount Wudang, have built Zen temples and Taoist temples, all of which focus on protecting forests.

Many ethnic minorities also have Shenshan culture.

  In terms of enforcement, systems, laws and regulations for the protection of biodiversity, and institutions for implementing the nature protection system, that is, the "Yuheng" system, began to appear in China more than 4,000 years ago.

"Book of History, Yao Dian" records that Shun appointed Boyi to serve as the official position of "Yu", with Zhu Hu and Xiong Zhi as his assistants.

"Yu" is the earliest nature protection agency in China and the world. For example, "Zeyu" is responsible for managing and protecting the animals and plants of lakes and wetlands, "Shanyu" is responsible for managing and protecting wild animal and plant resources in mountain forests, and "Linheng" is responsible for inspecting forest trees , Check the forest protection situation of forest rangers, "Chuanheng" is responsible for patrolling rivers and lakes, "Jiren" manages hunting areas and supervises the implementation of hunting bans.

China News Service reporter: What is the historical value and practical significance of the Yuheng system and its development?

What enlightenment does China's rich ecological culture have on building an ecological civilization and building a community of life on earth?

Li Zhenji:

It can be seen from ancient books such as "Shangshu" and "Records of the Grand Historian" that China has begun to investigate the landscape and products of the whole country since the day when Yu controlled the flood.

The Yuheng system and its development show that China has formed a relatively complete biodiversity protection system since ancient times. Through strict laws and regulations, large areas of forests and wild animals have been protected.

  The Yuheng system has also laid a good foundation for the inheritance of traditional Chinese culture and today's biodiversity conservation.

The vast area south of the Central Plains of China is full of mountains and mountains. Since the exile and migration of the Xia Dynasty, Chaohu Lake in Anhui, the upper reaches of the Danjiang River, Kuaiji Mountain, Huizhou, Bamin, Dali and other vast mountainous areas have lived in seclusion. Chao, Danzhu descendants, Dayu descendants, etc. , Different clans inherited the culture of different dynasties.

Despite the increase in population, foreign invasions, successive wars, the replacement of dynasties, and floods and droughts, many mountainous areas are like peach blossoms, and have not been severely impacted for hundreds of years and thousands of years.

In the later development process, the cultures of different clans in these regions merged with the mainstream culture, which made the traditional Chinese culture extensive and profound.

Wuyi Mountain, Fujian.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Wang Dongming

  The traditional Chinese ecological culture emphasizes the unity of man and nature, linking mountains and rivers with the development of towns.

Laozi, Confucius, etc., from the height of the unity of nature and man, realized that biodiversity is closely related to human civilization, and emphasized protection.

From the perspective of sustainable utilization, "Guanzi Landman" and others recognize the ecological significance of groundwater levels and soils in different forests for agricultural development, and suggest that forests, trees, and animals should be protected as national resources, and privatization should be avoided. Plants grow, and some trees can be cut down in the mountains in autumn. There are also regulations for hunting time.

  China has attached great importance to the sacrifice and protection of mountains since ancient times.

Kunlun Mountain, Xuanyuan Mountain, Taishan Mountain, Huashan Mountain and many other famous mountains and rivers in China can be said to be the remains of ancient national parks in the East.

The construction of the national park system started in recent years can be said to be the inheritance of the Yuheng system since ancient times in China.

In the process of construction, it is necessary to uphold the traditional Chinese Yuheng system, use the past for the present, and bring forth the new, learn from the management experience of Western national parks, and use the foreign for the Chinese, so as to achieve better development of biodiversity conservation.

Yunnan snub-nosed monkey in Yunnan snub-nosed monkey National Park, Weixi county, Diqing prefecture, Yunnan.

Photo by Chen Xianlin issued by China News Agency

China News Service reporter: Compared with the development of Western ecological protection concepts and systems, what kind of Eastern wisdom does the Yuheng system and its development show?

Li Zhenji:

In the West, modern national parks such as Yellowstone National Park have gone through a disorderly stage and a detour in the exploratory stage in the development process, and gradually formed a relatively complete planning establishment, operation management, scientific research monitoring, tourism development, interpretation system, and volunteer participation. , laws and regulations, etc.

For example, the US National Park Service has a planning and design center with a protected area planning and design team composed of experts and scholars in many fields. The ecological environment, natural environment, social environment and other aspects cause damage.

Many national parks recruit volunteers for the society. Volunteers can participate in the collection and recording of natural resource information, participate in national park resource monitoring projects, and participate in public education and natural interpretation.

Yellowstone National Park, USA.

China News Agency reporter Chen Wenshe

  The construction of modern national parks in China started relatively late, but in terms of biodiversity protection, the ancient Yuheng system has the wisdom of the unity of nature and man, protecting forests and rare animals and plants as national resources, and at the same time working with famous mountain monasteries around the world. Taoist temples, the prosperity of village clans, etc. are closely related, and there are harsh punishments to ensure.

It is precisely because of the top-level design that under the guidance of the ideology of the community of life between man and nature (the unity of man and nature), biodiversity protection has been implemented, which is impressive.

  If there is any difference between Eastern and Western cultures, Western culture pays attention to the details of mesoscopic and microscopic aspects, and uses a mold to set different things, while Eastern culture focuses on the overall concept and solves problems from the macro level, which will be different according to China. local conditions to develop approaches to protect biodiversity.

In April 2019, 566 giant salamanders were released into Longyu Bay, Henan Funiu Mountain National Nature Reserve.

Photo by Yang Zhenghua issued by China News Agency

China News Service reporter: What challenges does global biodiversity face today?

In response to the challenges, how can we build consensus and act together to build a more just and reasonable global biodiversity conservation system?

Li Zhenji:

Since entering industrial civilization, global biodiversity has faced many challenges such as deforestation, global change, trade in rare species, etc. We should realize that the world is a community of life, avoid deforestation of virgin forests, avoid trade in rare animals and plants, and avoid wars , avoid unsustainable fishing, etc.

  Man and nature are a community of life.

At present, Western thinking is a dualistic thinking of subject and object, that is, people are protecting nature or people are using nature.

The Dongfang Yuheng system embodies the thinking that man and nature are a community of life, the thinking of the unity of man and nature, the thinking of oneness and unity, the earth is like the goddess Gaia, and every tree in the forest is like a different human body. Hair, rivers are like blood, hundreds of rivers returning to the sea are like blood recovered from human veins, and precipitation is like arteries that inject fresh blood into every part of the human body.

  The Chinese Taoist "Tai Ping Jing" has the understanding that "the spring is the blood of the earth; the stone is the bone of the earth; the good soil is the flesh of the earth", and many ethnic groups have similar views.

  The world is a community with a shared future for mankind and a complex ecosystem. The direct and indirect influences of various organisms in the ecosystem are intertwined, and each country cannot survive alone.

Therefore, large-scale deforestation, species trade, war, pollution, hunting, etc. will hurt this large ecosystem, and the injured earth will in turn affect every life on the earth.

On October 11, 2021, the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity opened in Kunming, Yunnan.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Ranyang

  Although China has participated in modern biodiversity conservation for a short period of time, due to its subtle traditional oriental wisdom, since China joined the "Convention on Biological Diversity" in 1992, it has not only precipitated the achievements of biodiversity conservation in mainland China, but has also It plays an important role in the arena of international biodiversity conservation.


Interviewee Profile:

  Li Zhenji, an expert in assessment of national parks and national nature reserves, a professor at the School of Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, executive director of the Ecological Society of China, and chairman of the Fujian Ecological Society.

He has been engaged in forest ecology and biodiversity conservation and research for a long time. He has undertaken or mainly participated in the biodiversity inspection tasks in Taining World Natural Heritage, Daiyun Mountain in Fujian, Wuyuan in Jiangxi and many other nature reserves. He has published "Ecology" "Community Ecology", "Taining World Natural Heritage Biodiversity Research", "Plant Wisdom" and many other works.