In 2002, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a decision “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss.” Comprehensive assessment of the progress toward this “significant reduction” is rare at the national level. We therefore developed national indicators and time-series data sets to evaluate whether China had made progress toward the 2010 biodiversity target, and found that considerable progress has been made: Forest resources have increased stably since 1989, the integrity of marine ecosystems has improved since 1997, water quality has remained stable, and desertified land is less extensive than it used to be as a result of various conservation initiatives. However, trends toward the loss of grasslands, threatened species, and genetic resources were not effectively checked. It is imperative that China undertake a more active and integrated strategy for biodiversity conservation to stem projected increases in wastewater discharges, nutrient loading, invasive alien species, and climate change.
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Vol. 59 • No. 10