COURTESY OF MARK WHITE
Nature reserve managers from China visited the Waikamoi Preserve in East Maui yesterday as part of a tour to learn about conservation efforts in the United States.
Maui offers land tips to Chinese
A delegation uses a tour to learn how to manage resources
HALEAKALA, Maui » A Chinese delegation visited an East Maui watershed and Haleakala National Park on the last part of its monthlong tour to learn about conservation efforts in the United States.
Lucy Yu, representing the Beijing office of the Nature Conservancy, said China recognizes the importance of preserving its natural and cultural heritage.
"It's one of the main objectives for the whole nation," she said. "They are totally focused on it."
Yu said the objective of the tour was to learn about conservation practices and to develop a close partnership with various conservation groups in the United States.
Some 30 nature reserve managers from China hiked yesterday morning into the Waikamoi Preserve, a 5,230-acre watershed that is home to an ohia forest and native birds including the amakihi, apapane and iiwi.
The group later visited Haleakala National Park, where they learned about efforts to control alien species and restore native areas.
Earlier this month the group toured a number of parks and reserves on the mainland, including the Adirondacks in northern New York and Yosemite National Park in California.
China forestry official Guo Hongyan, chief of the Chinese delegation, said she was glad to be in the United States and to learn about the country's conservation efforts.
Guo said China has been making strides in protecting nature areas but was aware it needed to learn more to acquire the skills and knowledge to manage its resources.
She said the group was deeply impressed with the U.S. legal framework of environmental laws.
During the tour at Haleakala, park officials emphasized the need to preserve a native ecosystem, including plants.
Ron Nagata, chief of the park's resource management, said part of the strategy included the elimination of alien species plants that would block the growth of native plants.
Nagata said once the alien plants are eliminated, the native plants begin to flower and attract native insects and birds.
The visit is part of the China Protected Areas Leadership Alliance Project, a training partnership involving the China State Forestry Administration, the Nature Conservancy China Program, East-West Center and Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management.
The Chinese government has set aside 15 percent of its land as "protected areas," including nature reserves and national parks. China has some 2,369 nature reserves, Yu said.