The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is helping China set up botanical gardens, wild-life parks and a giant panda center in the northwestern Qinling Mountains to protect the region’s biological diversity.
It will provide a $40 million loan to fund the Shaanxi Qinling Biodiversity Conservation and Demonstration Project, which aims to use ecotourism to generate a sustainable source of funds to protect and restore the environment.
About 300 giant pandas, along with other threatened species, can be found in the mountains, but destructive land use practices driven by poverty threaten the habitats of many rare plants and animals, and previous conservation efforts were hampered by a lack of financial sustainability.
The project will also support the restoration of forest land, provide forest-based livelihood opportunities, develop endangered species management programs, repair and modernize an animal rescue shelter and develop a comprehensive biodiversity data collection system. The project can also provide conservation-linked jobs and business opportunities.
Window of China reports that ADB’s loan has a 25-year term. The Shaanxi provincial government is the executing agency for the project which is due for completion by April 2015.