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2016-01-13 18:54 ChineseTime

China Home to Most Geoparks in the World

A file photo of Alxa Desert Geopark located in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. [Photo:]

China has more global geoparks than any other country in the world, an official said Wednesday.

Of the world's 120 global geoparks listed by the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), assisted by the UNESCO, 33 are in China, Guan Fengjun, an official with the Ministry of Land and Resources, told attendees of a training program on geoparks management and development in Beijing.

A geopark is an area that protects geological heritage in a sustainable way, while maintaining the economic wellbeing of people in its vicinity. There are national geoparks and global geoparks, with the latter of international significance.

China launched a campaign to build national geoparks in the 1990s, and has issued a series of laws and regulations in the years that followed, effectively enhancing their quality and management. There are currently 189 national geoparks in the country, while another 52 have been approved for construction, according to Guan.

"Over the years, geoparks have played a significant role in geology research, protection, economic growth and improving people's livelihoods," Guan said.

China is one of the founding members of the GGN. It began applying for global geoparks in 2003.

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