|Environment Hong Kong 2009|
|Vision & Mission | Foreword | Permanent Secretary / Director's Message | Contents | Feedback | 繁體 | 简体 | HTML | PDF|
|Introduction | Cross-boundary and International Co-operation | Community Awareness | Customer Service and Partnerships | Environmental Assessment and Planning | Air | Noise | Waste | Water | Nature Conservation | Environmental Compliance | Energy | Sustainable Development|
Chapter 10 Nature Conservation
To conserve natural resources and the bio-diversity of Hong Kong in a sustainable manner, taking into account social and economic considerations, for the benefit of the present and future generations of the community.
HONG Kong is commonly regarded as a crowded, highly urbanised city. But beyond the high-rises and highways is a place of stunning natural beauty, of pristine beaches, wooded valleys, steep green hillsides and craggy coastlines. These are Hong Kong's natural resources and the Government is working hard to protect and conserve these most precious sites.
Photo - This map shows the extent of country parks in Hong Kong, as well as built-up areas.
Some 40 per cent of Hong Kong's total land area is country parkland, where development is restricted or prohibited. In 2008 we pushed that boundary further with the opening of the Lantau North (Extension) Country Park. We also proposed establishing a geopark to protect and showcase some of our remarkable rock formations and other geological features, and approved a private-public partnership project to enhance conservation in Sha Lo Tung while allowing for limited development.
Geopark is a concept launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2004 to protect geological sites of special scientific significance, rarity or beauty that also have high archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural value. So far, 57 sites are recognised by the UNESCO, including 20 in Mainland China.
Photo - This rock formation on High Island in Sai Kung illustrates the geological history of Hong Kong.
Our intention is to develop the Geopark under the framework of the Country Parks Ordinance and the Marine Parks Ordinance. Preparation is underway to acquire national geopark status from the Ministry of Land and Resources, hopefully by the end of 2009. The initiative will be supported by promotional activities to increase awareness and interest in geological conservation, including geopark visitor centres at suitable sites, geowalks, guidebooks and educational packages for schools.
Country parks benefit the environment by establishing safe zones where the natural ecology is largely untouched. They also provide the community with much needed open space. About 44 000 hectares of Hong Kong land area is country parkland, a sum that was increased in 2008 with the addition of the Lantau North (Extension) Country Park.
Photo - The Lantau North (Extension) Country Park is easily accessible from Tung Chung.
The new park covers 2 360 hectares with high conservation and landscape value. The park is mainly mountainous and upland valleys covered with natural woodland, shrubland, grassland and unspoiled streams. It is also a scenic backdrop to urban Tung Chung, with magnificent views of the airport to the north and rural and wilderness areas to the south.
Conflicting demands for land inevitably arise in small city like Hong Kong. This creates special challenges for nature conservation, particularly on privately-held land which is not subject to the same development restrictions as protected areas such as country parks. The Government announced the New Nature Conservation Policy in 2004 to balance the demands of those who want to develop sensitive privately-held sites, with the need to protect these sites.
Photo - A variety of bird and mammal species can be found in the natural environment of Hong Kong.