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Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220


Natural resources planning, management, and sustainable use in

Zhong Ziran
Department of Planning, Ministry of Land and Resources, 37 Guaningyuan West Area, West District, Beijing 10035, People’s Republic of

Received 14 July 1999; received in revised form 15 September 1999; accepted 19 September 1999


Almost all the issues of sustainable development in China relate to natural resources. Sustainable development as one of the
most important strategies has been incorporated into all the actions related to the planning and management of natural resources
in China. This paper gives an overview of the contributions of natural resources and the challenges facing the natural resource
sectors. It contributes a series of proposals on the planning and management of natural resources. It also outlines the general
framework of the planning system for natural resources and summarizes the Great Survey of Natural Resources Program that the
Ministry of Land and Resources is implementing.  2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Natural resources; Sustainable development; Planning; Management; Natural resources survey

Introduction of laws relating to natural resources and environmental

protection, such as the Law on Mineral Resources2, the
Natural resources—land, mineral, water, and mar- Law on Land Management3, the Law on Environmental
ine1—are fundamental to the existence and development Protection, the Law on Marine Environmental Protec-
of human beings. Cultivated land resources are the basis tion4 and the Law on Water and Soil Conservation. The
of agriculture. Mineral resources are the “food” of indus- State Council has taken a number of measures to enforce
try. Water resources are the “blood” of both agriculture the laws and regulations for the conservation of natural
and industry. China has a high population density and a resources and environmental protection. Since the World
relative shortage of those natural resources that Environment and Development Congress in 1992, the
importantly influence sustainable social and economic Chinese Government has taken sustainable development
development. The shortage of natural resources resulting as a basic strategy for economic growth and social pro-
from the pressure of ever-growing population has caused gress, and worked out CHINA’S AGENDA 21 and put
great environmental problems. Almost all problems in it into effect. The newly established Ministry of Land
sustainable development in China relate to natural and Resources (MOLAR) has been authorized to oversee
resources. the planning, management, conservation and rational uti-
The Chinese Congress and the Chinese Government lization of land resources, mineral resources and marine
have paid much attention to the conservation and rational resources. The Chinese Government announced that
development and utilization of natural resources, and “China must get the population growth under control,
ecologically sound environmental protection. The Stand- conserve natural resources and keep an ecologically
ing Commission of the People’s Congress issued a series sound environment while it keeps sustainable economic
growth, which is a fundamental national policy of
* Tel.: +86-10-6612-7067; fax: +86-10-6612-7075.
E-mail address: zrzhong@mail.mlr.gov.cn (Z. Ziran)
1 2
Mineral resources, land resources and marine resources are under It was first issued in 1986 and amended in 1996.
the jurisdiction of the newly established Ministry of Land and It was first issued in 1986, amended in 1988 and in 1998.
Resources (MOLAR). It is under amendment.

0301-4207/00/$ - see front matter  2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 3 0 1 - 4 2 0 7 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 2 8 - 8
212 Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220

China”. It is no doubt that sustainable development as a resources. Reclamation of wasteland and capital con-
very important strategy has been incorporated into all struction on farmland effectively restrained the culti-
actions relating to the planning and management of natu- vated land from great reduction and improved the quality
ral resources in China. of the cultivated land. The area of cultivated land
increased through reclamation of wasteland amounts to
33.33 million hectares (MOLAR, 1999). In addition to
Contributions of natural resources to economic and the increase in the cultivated land, the past five decades
social development also saw the expansion of the area of other types of farm-
land, such as garden plots, forest land and grassland. The
The development and utilization of natural resources area of the non-farmland has also increased during the
have greatly contributed to the sustainable economic same period. At present, the non-farmland—including
growth and social progress during the past five decades. land used for urban construction, for industries and
Land development and land use have met the require- mines, for rural residential areas, and for transpor-
ments of cultivated land for food production, and tation—accounts for about 3 percent of the total area of
requirements of land uses for urban and rural construc- land which has been developed and utilized, while the
tion and for construction of infrastructure like energy, percentage was 1 percent in 1949 (MOLAR, 1999).
transportation, and communications. Grain needed by The Chinese Government has done much to organize
the population of China, accounting for 22 percent of the comprehensive preparation and management of terri-
the whole population worldwide, has been supplied by torial land. The State organized to a large-scale the com-
the Chinese people using the limited cultivated land, prehensive preparation and management of hilly areas,
accounting for 10 percent of the total in the world (Zhou waters, farmland areas, forest land areas and roads. Up
Rongkang, 1998)5, which is a miracle created by the to the end of 1998, the area of land suffering from water
Chinese people (Li Yuan, 1999). The mineral industries loss and soil erosion that has been improved through
fed the energy industry, iron and steel industry, nonfer- preparation and management amounts to 780,000 square
rous industry, electric power industry, chemical industry, kilometers. The area of the farmland increased through
construction materials industry and textile industry, and turning the wasteland into terraces and dam fields and
agriculture with energy, industrial raw materials and turning sand into cultivated land amounts to 11.87
other materials. Ninety-five percent of primary energy, million hectares (State Environment Administration,
80 percent of industrial raw materials, 70 percent of agri- 1999). The state funded the demonstration projects on
cultural productive materials, over 30 percent of water preparation and management of land in 16 key regions.
used for irrigating farmland and over one third of drink- Since 1978, the Chinese Government has made great
ing water are supplied by the mineral industries efforts to conduct forest cultivation and afforestation
(MOLAR, 1999). Since the early 1980s, the annual aver- programs—constructing large systems of comprehensive
age rate of marine economic growth has kept at 22 per- shelter forest in the North-Western, Northern and North-
cent (Zhou Rongkang, 1998). Total output in value of Eastern regions, and in the upper- and middle-stream of
major marine industries accounts for 3–5 percent of the Yantze River, in the coastal areas, in agricultural areas
GDP (Li Yuan, 1999)6. in plains and in Taihan Mountains areas, which greatly
upgraded the ecological environment in China. Great
Land resources attention has also been given to improving low- and
medium-yield fields and land reclamation, turning 18.6
Great achievements have been seen in the surveying, million hectares of water-logged land, 46 million hec-
evaluation, development and utilization of land resources tares of saline and alkaline land and 3.5 million hectares
during the past 50 years. Demands for the cultivated land of land suffering from floodwater into high quality culti-
necessary to produce grain for all the population and the vated land, and turning over 400,000 hectares of a var-
land used for capital construction have been met through iety of wasteland into farmland through land reclamation
planned land development and management. The Chi- (MOLAR, 1999)7.
nese Government had organized three circles of the
national land-use survey and soil-reconnaissance survey, Mineral resources
made clear the types, area, location and use status of
land nationwide, which provides a scientific basis for Exploration and exploitation of mineral resources
development, utilization, and management of land have successfully met the requirements of national econ-

Mr Zhou Rongkang is the Minister of the MOLAR.
6 7
It is obtained from China Marine Yearbook 1995, 1996, 1997, These data are obtained from The Development and Management
compiled by The State Oceanographic Bureau that is under the Minis- of Natural Resources in RESOURCES and INDUSTRY journal, no.
try of Land and Resources since 1998. 6, 1999, p23-24.
Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220 213

omic and social development. Up to the end of 1998, 171 tons, crude salt 29.28 million tons in 1997, ranking num-
varieties of mineral resources located in 200,000 mineral ber one in the world. The handling capacity of major
occurrences had been discovered, and 153 varieties of coastal seaports amounted to 90,500 tons, and compre-
mineral resources located in 20,000 mineral deposits had hensive tonnage of ships built 2.39 million tons, ranking
been identified through detailed geological works8. In the second position in the world. The freight volume of
1998, the total output of solid mineral commodities goods for international trade through shipping accounts
amounted to 3.23 billion tons. Crude oil output equaled for 70 percent of the total in China12. The output of mar-
161 million tons, and natural gas 22 billion cubic met- ine crude oil was 16 million tons, and natural gas 4.0
ers9. The output in value of the mineral industries was billion cubic meters in 199813. An exploration area with
340.7 billion RMB yuan, accounting for 4.3 percent of 75,000 square kilometers targeting multi-metallic nodule
the GDP10, and the output value of the mineral industries resources has been successfully delineated in an inter-
as well as the mineral-based industries accounted for national seabed region in the Pacific Ocean as a result
about 30 percent of the GDP last year. The amount in of great efforts during the past 10 years (Information
value of international trade of minerals and mineral- Office of the State Council of China, 1998)14. China will
based commodities was 47.4 billion US dollars, account- have privileged priority to conduct commercial develop-
ing for about 15 percent of total international trade in ment of that region in the future.
the country in 199811. The amount of imported mineral
products was 27.5 billion US dollars, with exports equal Geological environment
to 19.9 US dollars. In 1997, foreign investment for min-
eral projects amounted to 7.15 billion US dollars, Geological environment management is a function
accounting for 6.3 percent of all mineral investment in conferred to the former Ministry of Geology and Mineral
China’s mineral industries, both domestic and inter- Resources (MGMR) as of the reorganization of the State
national. The scale and scope of exploration and devel- Council of China in 1988. The past decade has seen great
opment of mineral resources overseas has expanded year progress in planning, legislation and enforcement of geo-
by year. More than 300 mining cities and towns, such logical environmental protection. In 1990, the former
as Daqing (oil and natural gas), Jixi, Pindingshan (coal), MGMR, jointly with the State Planning Commission
Jingchuan (nickel), Gejiu (tin), have been established (SPC) and the State Science and Technology Com-
with mineral development. mission, issued the Outline of the National Plan for Pre-
Since 1995, as a result of the Special Program for venting and Controlling Geological Disasters. Geologi-
Discovering Underground Water in the North-Western cal environmental protection has been included in the
Region, high quality underground water has been disco- Ninth Five-year-plan (1996–2000) for National Environ-
vered in desert and other dry areas in Xinjiang, Gansu, ment Protection and Perspective Objectives by the Year
Qinghai, Ningxia and the Western part of Inner Mongo- 2010. The former MGMR issued the Provisions on Man-
lia, which achieves the breakthrough of discovering agement of Geological Relics Protection under which 51
underground water in the North-Western region of China natural reserves for geological relics have been estab-
both in theory and in practice. lished. In recent years, the former MGMR successfully
conducted a number of projects on the prevention and
Marine resources mitigation of great geological disasters, including the
well-known projects at Lianziya in the Three Gorges in
During the past decades, great achievements have Yantze River and at Huangnashi, strengthened the pre-
been reached in marine resources development and util- vention and mitigation of geological disasters during the
ization. The output in value of the marine industries was flood season, worked out the program for preventing and
6.4 billion RMB yuan in 1979, and reached 43.8 billion controlling geological disasters, publicized knowledge
RMB yuan in 1990 and 310.3 billion RMB yuan in 1997. on disaster resistant and provision of disaster relief, and
Output of marine aquatic products was 21.76 million conducted the monitoring and forecast of geological dis-
asters. The MOLAR successfully forecast 48 big land-
slides, mud-and-rock flows, and other types of geologi-
According to The Notification of the MOLAR on the Mineral cal disasters, avoiding casualties of at least 2 400 persons
Resources of China 1999.
According to China Mining Yearbook 1999, published by the
10 12
According to the Statistical Bulletin of the MOLAR on Natural Above figures in this paragraph are based the China Marine Stat-
Resources 1998, published by the MOLAR and China Statistics Year- istics Yearbook 1998.
book 1999, published by the State Statistics Bureau. According to the Statistical Bulletin of the MOLAR on Natural
It is based on The Statistical Communique of the People’s Repub- Resources 1998, published by the MOLAR in 1999.
lic of China on the 1998 National Economic and Social Development, It is based on The Development of China’s Marine Programs
issued by the State Statistics Bureau, People’s Daily, 28, February (White Book), published by the Information Office of the State Council
1999. of China 1998.
214 Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220

and reducing economic loss during the big flooding per- ing for 38 percent of all territorial land nationwide. The
iod in 1998 (Ministry of Land and Resources, 1999)15. area of the desertified land area amounts to 2.62 million
square kilometers20.

Current status and problems of natural resources B. Problems in mineral availability and development

China is quite short of cultivated land, mineral Oversupply and structural shortage of mineral pro-
resources and water due to overpopulation. Per capita ducts are both issues. Early next century will see a
area of cultivated land accounts for 43 percent of the decline in domestic-source supply capacity of important
average in the world 16, per capita tonnage of mineral mineral products if no further measures are taken. Min-
resources 58 percent (Zhou Rongkang, 1999)17, and per eral resources are exploited with quite low recovery.
capita amount of fresh water 25 percent18. Sustainable, Consumption of energy and minerals per unit of gdp is
speedy, and stable economic development has been much higher than in the developed nations, even higher
restricted by the shortage of natural resources mentioned than in other developing countries, for example, India
above. Furthermore, environmental problems have and Brazil. Mining activities have caused severe
become more and more severe with the recent high rates environmental pollution. According to statistics, 14,000–
of economic growth and expanding development of 20,000 square kilometers of land are encroached or dam-
natural resources. aged directly by open pit mining and the stockpiling of
all kinds of waste slag, waste rock and tailings. The area
A. Reduction of cultivated land, and water loss and of encroached or damaged land is increasing at a rate of
soil erosion 200 square kilometers per year. Eighty-seven thousand
hectares of collapsed surface of land have been caused
Forty million hectares of cultivated land had were by mining activities to date. The polluted water dis-
reduced by erosion during the period of 1958–198619. charged by the mineral industries accounts for over 10
That is to say, 1.4 million hectares of cultivated land percent of the total industrial waste water nationwide21.
were reduced each year during that period. The reduction
of cultivated land has been got under control as a result C. Shortage of fresh water and water pollution and
of implementation of the Law on Land Management disasters
since 1986. However, the reduced cultivated land still
was more than 130,000 hectares and 200,000 hectares, The total amount of continental fresh water is 3272.6
respectively, in 1997 and in 1998 (Zhou Rongkang, billion cubic meters per year, and underground water
1999). Reserve cultivated land resources are of shortage, 940 billion cubic meters per year in China (Ministry of
and mainly located in the areas short of water. Another Water Conservancy, 1999)22. However, per capita quan-
important issue is land deterioration. Twenty percent of tities of water are only 2732 cubic meters. Water
the cultivated land has been contaminated by polluted resources in China are characterized by richness in the
water, gas and waste slag derived from industrial activi- South and shortage in the North, richness in the East and
ties and pesticide. The area of the deteriorated, sandized shortage in the West. The concentration of water
and alkalized grassland amounts to 135 million hectares, location is greatly different from that of population and
and will increase at a rate of 2 million hectares per year. the cultivated land, which makes it necessary to convey
The area of land suffering from water loss and soil ero- water from distant areas straddling big river basins. The
sion amounts to 3.67 million square kilometers, account- quantity of water resources greatly changes from year to
year and from season to season within a year (as a result
of floods and droughts), which brings great difficulties
The data in this paragraph are obtained from The Development in developing and using water resources. Some sources
and Management of Natural Resources in RESOURCES and INDUS- of surface waters are severely polluted. Mud silting often
TRY journal, no. 6, 1999, p30. occurs in rivers, which brings difficulties in preventing
It is obtained from the Communique of the People’s Republic of and controlling floods.
China on the 1998 Environmental Status, issued by the State Environ-
ment Administration, 1999.
It is obtained from Zhou Rongkang, 1998, Natural resources and
sustainable development, RESOURCES and INDUSTRY, No. 6, These data in this paragraph are based on The National Program
1999, p8. for Integrated Planning for Land Use 1997–2010.
18 21
It is obtained from the Communique of the People’s Republic of These data in this paragraph are based on Mr Zhou Rongkang’s
China on the 1998 Environmental Status, issued by the State Environ- paper titled Natural Resources Must be Conserved and Rationally Util-
ment Administration, 1999. ized to Upgrade Ecological Environment, 1998.
19 22
It is obtained from Zhou Rongkang, 1998. Natural resources must The data are based on The Communique of the People’s Republic
be conserved and rationally utilized to upgrade ecological environ- of China on Water Resources, issued by the Ministry of Water Con-
ment. servancy in 1999.
Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220 215

It becomes increasing important to explore for and 500,000 damaged or destroyed dwellings, as well as the
develop underground water resources due to lack of sur- holding up of traffic on several main transportation lines
face fresh water. Water resources are not enough to meet for a few days—causing economic losses of over 10
requirements for supplying more than 400 cities in all billion RMB yuan24.
671 cities nationwide (Jiang Xiaofeng, 1999). Shortage
of water has resulted in a great amount of cultivated land
and grassland to be put aside as useless and in quick Managing natural resources for sustainable
expansion of the desertified land. Economic and social development
development has been restricted due to shortage of water
in dry areas in the North-Western region and in the karst- Generally speaking, the management system for natu-
stone mountainous areas in the South-Western region. ral resources has been kept in line with the requirements
The overuse of underground water causes land surface by the restructuring of the economic system, and effec-
sinking, subsidence, fissure, and leads to reduction or tive measures have been taken to reinforce the govern-
interception of spring water flows and encroachment of mental functions relating to management of land, min-
the sea water, especially in the coastal areas. The eral, and marine resources. The Ministry of Land and
recharged sources of underground water in the down- Resources (MOLAR) was estabblished out of the former
stream areas are reduced due to interception of surface MGMR, former State Bureau of Land Management,
water in the upstream areas. The polluted surface water State Oceanographic Bureau and State Bureau of Map-
leads to deteriorating quality of underground water in ping and Survey. The previously decentralized manage-
some areas. ment of the different varieties of natural resources in the
various government departments became relatively uni-
D. Irrational utilization of marine resources and fied and centralized under the jurisdiction of one govern-
environmental pollution in the neritic zones (offshore ment department. The MOLAR pays much attention to
areas) enforcing the strategy of sustainable development.

Recently, fishery resources in the neritic zones have A. Land management

decreased due to overcatching. Mangrove swamps and
coral reefs suffer from damages, and biodiversity falls. Great efforts have been made to protect the cultivated
The marine environment is polluted by 8 billion tons of land and improve the ecological environment. A number
the contaminated industrial and living water and a great of measures on land management have aimed at the run-
amount of industrial residue and contaminated oil, dis- ning balance of the total area of cultivated land. The
charged into the sea. Three hundred and eighty red tides integrated planning for land use at five levels has been
caused by marine pollution often occurred in the coastal worked out to get the existing area of cultivated land
waters in China seas during the period 1980–1997. In under strict control. Land uses for capital construction
the 1990s, more than 30 red tides occurred each year and land registration must be subject to the integrated
(Zhou Rongkang, 1998). Economic loss caused by mar- planning for land use. The use of cultivated land for vari-
ine disasters accounts for about 10 percent of that caused ous urban and rural construction projects is strictly
by all kinds of natural disasters23. restricted; the use of unused land is encouraged. The
rules and regulations on protecting fundamental farm-
E. Geological disasters land will be further updated and perfected to reach the
objective set by the newly amended Law on Land Man-
China is one of the nations in the world that suffers agement. The ratio of the area of fundamental farmland
most from geological disasters. Thousands of people to the area of cultivated land must exceed 80% in any
died of geological disasters each year in China, province nationwide. It is encouraged to expand land
exceeding mortality due to flooding. Economic loss arrangement and moderately develop the land to be used
caused by geological disasters averages 27 billion RMB to increase the area of the cultivated land. The traditional
yuan each year, accounting for about 25 percent econ- land use mechanism will be reformed to set up and per-
omic loss caused by all natural disasters (Zhou Rong- fect new mechanisms aimed at protecting the cultivated
kang, 1998). In 1998, 80,000 geological disasters, land and intensive use of land. It is under way to conduct
including landslides, mud-and-rock flows, etc., occurred, dynamic monitoring of land use of the whole country
causing 1573 deaths, 10,000 injured persons, and and conduct direct monitoring over the expansion of the

23 24
It is based on The Development of China’s Marine Programs It is obtained from the Communique of the People’s Republic of
(White Book), published by the Information Office of the State Council China on the 1998 Environmental Status, issued by the State Environ-
of China, 1998. ment Administration, 1999.
216 Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220

land used for urban construction. The information environmental pollution and ecological damages in off-
derived from monitoring will be open to the public. In shore areas; improve environmental quality in some
addition, it is planned to return the farmland formed in major river mouths, gulf and sea areas suffering from
the mode of excessive reclamation and enclosing tide- severe pollution; avoid the occurrence of new ecological
land for cultivation to forest land, pasture land, and damages; and minimize the effects of marine disasters.
lakes. It is strengthened to carry out research and development
of marine science and technology, establish comprehen-
B. Mineral resources management sive marine management mechanisms and participate in
international cooperation in marine fields.
Mineral resources will be utilized and managed such
that they are protected and rationally developed. The D. Geological environment management
Ministry is organizing the drafting of mineral resources
plans so as to get effective control of the exploration and Prevention and control of geological disasters must be
exploitation of mineral resources. It is required to use reinforced as one of the most important tasks of the Min-
“two sources of resources and two markets”, both dom- istry. It is planned to conduct the program on survey and
estic and international, to guarantee the supply of energy assessment of geological disasters nationwide to find out
and minerals demanded by national economic and social the patterns of occurrence and location of geological dis-
development early in the next century, which will be asters and delineate the frequently occurring areas of
incorporated in formulating national mineral planning geological disasters. It is planned to work out the
and mineral policy. It is planned to reinforce mineral national planning for prevention and control of geologi-
rights management targeting the establishment of a nor- cal disasters and the planning for prevention and control
mal order of the exploration and development of mineral of geological disasters in major areas. It is under way to
resources without illegal mining action. The mineral establish the system for monitoring, forecasting and pre-
rights management agencies must review mining plans warning geological disasters to release information on
and environmental impact statements when reviewing geological disasters to the public in a timely manner.
applications for mining rights, and conduct supervision
over mining operations at the stage of mine production,
both aiming at promoting rational and effective exploi- Natural resources planning
tation of mineral resources and protecting the ecological
environment. Effective economic policy and technology Natural resources planning (Zhong Ziran, 1999)25 is
policy must be formulated and enforced to encourage one of the most important tools that the state exercises
the holders of mineral rights to conduct comprehensive in overseeing the surveying, exploration, development,
exploration, comprehensive evaluation and comprehen- utilization, and conservation of natural resources, as a
sive utilization of mineral resources, and raise recovery basis for effective management. It is also one of most
of mineral resources. It is encouraged to lower consump- significant approaches to achieving the objective of sus-
tion of energy and minerals needed to produce each yuan tainable use of natural resources. The natural resources
of GDP, economize in raw materials, and conduct planning system of China consists of land resources
research and development of substitute products for min- planning, mineral resources planning, marine resources
eral resources. planning, geological environment planning and spatial
C. Marine resources management
A. Land resources planning
China’s Marine Agenda 21 has been and will be
implemented to rationally develop marine resources and Land resources planning consists of integrated plan-
protect the marine environment. It is strengthened to ning, yearly planning, and special planning for land use.
carry out comprehensive development and management The integrated planning for land use is worked out at
of the epilittoral zones, rationally develop the neritic five levels of government, i.e. the national, provincial,
zones, and participate in developing the international prefecture, county, and village-and-town levels. The spe-
seabed under the framework of United Nations Conven- cial planning for land use consists of planning for pro-
tion on the Law of the Sea. It is reinforced to get the tecting fundamental farmland, for land arrangement, for
land-sourced pollutants under strict control and set an
upper limit on total pollutants to avoid degradation of the
marine environment. It is reinforced to exercise marine 25
This part is based on Zhong Ziran’s Natural Resources Planning,
biological resources management, and to continue to set Chapter 13 of the advanced textbook for senior management titled
up and protect marine natural reserves. Great efforts will Natural Resources Management, edited by the MOLAR, Geological
be made to keep good quality of sea water; mitigate Publisher, 1999.
Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220 217

land reclamation, for developing the land to be used, and 앫 major uses of land;
for urban land use. 앫 the remaining area of cultivated land, nationwide and
Integrated planning for land use refers to the inte- in 31 provinces;
grated arrangements and layout in time and space for the 앫 the area of fundamental farmland, nationwide and in
development, utilization, arrangement and protection of 31 provinces;
land resources in an administrative region made under 앫 control of the total area of land used for newly
the specific natural, economic and social conditions in increased capital construction projects;
that region, according to the requirements for sustainable 앫 the area of cultivated land increased through land
social and economic development. The state will ration- arrangements and development of the land to be used;
ally allocate land resources among the different indus- 앫 the area of returning cultivated land to forest land,
trial sectors through integrated planning for land use. grassland and lakes;
The blocks of land designated for cultivated land in the 앫 the area of land increased through improving land suf-
integrated planning for land uses must be used for culti- fering from water loss and soil erosion;
vation, while the blocks of land designated for forest 앫 the area of the improved desertified land;
land must be used for forestry. As stipulated in the Law 앫 the area of remaking hillslide farmland; and
on Land Management, the state formulates the integrated 앫 the area of the improved deteriorated, sandized and
plans for land use to designate the uses of land and class- alkalized grassland.
ify land as the land used for agriculture, construction,
and other types of land. The state strictly controls the
turning of land used for agriculture into land used for B. Mineral resources planning
construction. The state strictly controls the total area of
land used for construction. The state protects cultivated
land. That is to say integrated planning for land use is The planning system for mineral resources consists of
the basis for land-use control. Every unit or individual national integrated planning for mineral resources and
must use land according to the land uses designated by also mineral resources planning at provincial, prefecture
integrated plan for land use. and mineral-rich county levels. Special planning—
In the middle 1980s, the Chinese Government began including national planning for geological exploration,
to formulate and enforce the Outline for National Inte- for developing and protecting mineral resources, and for
grated Planning for Land Use 1986–2000. Since 1996, protecting the mine environment—will be worked out
the Chinese Government has organized another circle of under national integrated planning for mineral resources.
integrated planning for land use. So far, the Outline for In China, the program for mineral resources planning
National Integrated Planning for Land Use 1997–2010 is just starting. The ministry is drafting the Outline for
was completed and approved by the State Council. The National Integrated Planning for Mineral Resources
integrated plans for land use 1997–2010 in 31 provinces 1999–2015. It is formulating the Provisions on Adminis-
have been completed and submitted to the State Council tration of Mineral Resources Planning and organizing
for approval one by one. The integrated plans for land the drafting of demonstration planning for provincial
use at the prefecture-level and lower are under formu- mineral resources planning.
lation or pre-review. Under the guide of the strategy on sustainable devel-
The major objectives of land use for the period 1997 opment, the Outline for the National Integrated Planning
to 2010 stipulated in the Outline for National Integrated for Mineral Resources will target three major objectives
Planning for Land Use 1997–2010 are: as follows:
(a) The land used for agriculture, especially cultivated
land, must be conserved, and kept under comprehensive 앫 to change the mode of the development and utilization
arrangement and management; of mineral resources from the extensive to the inten-
(b) The total area of land used for construction must sive, so as to achieve effective conservation and
be effectively controlled under the precondition of rational development and utilization of mineral
guaranteeing the supply of land used for key capital con- resources;
struction projects and infrastructure construction pro- 앫 to use “two sources of resources and two markets”,
jects; both domestic and international, to guarantee the sup-
(c) It is required to conduct land arrangement pro- ply of energy and minerals needed by national econ-
grams in an all-round way and moderately develop the omic and social development; and
land to be used; and 앫 to upgrade the mine environment.
(d) The land ecological environment must be obvi-
ously upgraded. The following contents will be included in the Outline
The Outline for National Integrated Planning for Land for the National Integrated Planning for Mineral
Use 1997–2010 establishes indices or targets for: Resources:
218 Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220

앫 surveying and exploration for mineral resources, national plan for prevention and mitigation of geologi-
onshore and offshore; cal disasters.
앫 mineral development;
앫 introduction of foreign investment in the mineral E. Spatial planning
industries in China;
앫 import and export of mineral commodities; Spatial planning refers to the integrated arrangements
앫 exploration and development of mineral resources for comprehensive development of natural resources,
overseas; rational allocation of productive forces and mitigation
앫 conservation and rational development of mineral of environmental pollution, aiming at coordinating the
resources; and relationships among economic development and popu-
앫 protection of the mine environment. lation, natural resources and environment nationwide or
in a specific region.
As mentioned above, great efforts have been made to
C. Marine resources planning conduct the programs on territorial development and
management, and as a result, great achievements have
The State Oceanographic Bureau, jointly with the rel- been reached during the past five decades. However,
evant departments under the State Council and the coas- there were a number of problems in this field. Prior to
tal provinces, worked out China’s Marine Function Zon- 1980s, the works of territorial development and manage-
ing Program during the period 1989–1995, and worked ment were implemented by different sectors according
out the National Plan for Marine Development during to respective programs, without integrated planning and
the period 1991–1994. The Marine Function Zoning Pro- consolidated management. It was also less considered to
gram and the National Plan for Marine Development coordinate the relationships among economic develop-
greatly contribute to the scientific and effective manage- ment and population, natural resources and environment.
ment of marine resources. As well-known, China is characterized by vast territory,
Marine function zoning refers to a marine manage- high population density, a less developed economy and
ment program under which a specific sea region is div- culture, unbalanced economic and social development in
ided into different types of marine function units on the different regions, lower per capita use of natural
criteria for various function areas. A marine function resources, and natural resources and ecological environ-
area is the area having a specific main function, benefit- ment suffering from severe damages. Under such con-
ing rational development and utilization of marine ditions, it is necessary to conduct comprehensive terri-
resources and creating optimal effectiveness, delimited torial development and management, according to an
according to the natural conditions, environmental status integrated spatial plan to reach the objectives on scien-
and geographic location in that sea region and the adjac- tific and rational development and utilization, rational
ent continental region and in consideration of the current allocation of productive forces and coordinating the
situation of marine development and utilization and the relationship among economic growth and population,
requirements by economic and social development. natural resources and environment, benefiting the con-
China’s Marine Function Zoning Program designates temporaries and the future generations.
3 663 marine function areas, including the function areas In this regard, the Chinese Government decided to
for development and utilization, for environmental miti- conduct spatial planning (i.e. the planning for territorial
gation and protection, and for natural reserves, as well development and management) in 1981. As authorized
as special function areas and the reserved areas. by the State Council, the former State Construction
Commission started to make first-phase preparations for
D. Geological environment protection planning compiling the spatial plan. In April 1982, the former
State Construction Commission was dismissed. The
It is one of the new responsibilities conferred to the Bureau of Territorial Resources was established under
MOLAR to work out and implement the planning for the State Planning Commission to be responsible for ter-
geological environment protection. Geological environ- ritorial planning. During the period 1982–1984, the State
ment protection will mainly involve the prevention and Planning Commission (SPC) organized the drafting of
mitigation of geological disasters, protection of geologi- demonstration spatial plans in more than 20 regions.
cal relics and protection of geological environment in Beginning in 1985, the SPC compiled the Draft Outline
specific areas, such as mines, urban areas, agricultural for National Integrated Spatial Planning. Most provinces
areas, epilittoral zones and big river basins. Accordingly, and some prefectures and counties completed the compi-
the geological environment protection planning system lation of spatial plans. In addition, the SPC organized
consists of integrated and specific planning in these the compilation of spatial planning and regional planning
areas. At present, geological environment protection in the areas straddling administrative regions, mainly
planning is at its initial step. The Ministry is drafting the including the regional plans in the South-Western and
Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220 219

Southern areas, the Yantze River delta, and some areas The Great Survey of Natural Resources Program con-
bordering the Yantze River. Those plans played sists of one plan and five projects:
important roles in formulating the seventh, eighth and
ninth five-year plans for national economic and social Basic survey plan
According to the program on the reorganization of the A comprehensive survey and assessment is planned,
State Council in early 1998, the functions on spatial using techniques of regional geology, regional hydro-
planning and territorial development and management geology, regional engineering geology, regional environ-
transferred from the SPC to the MOLAR. We in mental geology, regional geophysical prospecting,
MOLAR are studying the experiences and lessons of ter- regional chemical prospecting and remote sensing. It will
ritorial development and management during the past 50 produce the base-map series, on the basis of previous
years and in spatial planning during the past 18 years. working results and according to new tasks and technical
We also are analysing the development and planning requirements. The map series will reflect the fruits from
issues facing us in the future so as to make preparations the survey and assessment of land resources, mineral and
necessary to compile the Outline for National Integrated marine resources, and ecological and geological environ-
Spatial Planning 2000–2020. ment, and the updating of existing base maps through
supplementing and revising the existing information
Great survey of natural resources program materials, to meet demands by land management, geo-
logical exploration, engineering construction, environ-
The MOLAR is implementing the Great Survey of mental management and geo-scientific research.
Natural Resources Program to conduct a comprehensive
survey and assessment of land resources, mineral Mineral resources survey and assessment project
resources, marine resources and geological environment
in the Chinese territory and the sea areas under the juris- This project will concentrate on the assessment of
diction of China for the period 1999 to 2010. geological potential for discovering mineral resources in
The Great Survey aims at providing a scientific basis important mineralized zones, and on the discovery and
for planning and management of natural resources, offer- assessment of a set of new mineral occurrences and
ing services in natural resources information for underground water sources in short-of-water regions.
decision-making by government agencies and for uses
by the public. Pre-warning of geological disasters project
The major tasks under the Great Survey of Natural
Resources Program are: This project will focus on working out the planning
(a) To further conduct comprehensive surveys and for the survey and prevention and control of geological
assessment of land resources, mineral resources, under- disasters in the frequently-occurring zones so as to min-
ground water and marine resources and basic mapping imize the effects of geological disasters; conducting the
and surveying on the basis of works in the previous assessment and pre-warning of geological disasters such
years; as landslides, mud-and-rock flows in important econ-
(b) To conduct surveys and assessment of land omic zones and along main transportation lines to put
resources to provide a scientific basis for reinforcing forward the measures for prevention and control and pro-
land management to reach the desired total area of culti- vide basis for drafting the plan for prevention and control
vated land; of geological disasters; establishing demonstration moni-
(c) To conduct surveys and evaluation of the potential toring stations and databases for typical geological disas-
for discovering mineral resources and ascertain the ters in key regions; and conducting research on the for-
potential for discovering the minerals of which China is mative mechanism of geological disasters, location of
urgently short; geological disasters in time and space and current crus-
(d) To conduct surveys of the geological and ecologi- tal deformation.
cal environment, aiming at ascertaining geological and The following subprojects will be included under
ecological background in the major economic zones and this project:
big river basins to work out measures for prevention and (a) a special survey of geological disasters in the
treatment of geological disasters; Three Gorges reservoir area;
(e) To conduct surveys and assessment of high risk (b) a survey, forecast, and pre-warning of the slowly-
areas for geological disasters and work out the program deforming geological disasters in Shanghai economic
on prevention and control of geological disasters; zones;
(f) To fully understand the general characteristics of (c) a special survey and assessment of geological dis-
marine territory and to conduct the survey and assess- asters in the frequently-occurring zones, and;
ment of marine mineral resources. (d) construction of a network of stations for demon-
220 Z. Ziran / Resources Policy 25 (1999) 211–220

stratively-monitoring geological disasters and a system the objective of sustainable economic and social devel-
for pre-warning of geological disasters. opment in China. The MOLAR is responsible for these
activities. As requested by the Central Government, the
Survey and monitoring of land resources project MOLAR has focused on (a) strengthening land manage-
This project will evaluate the potential for increasing ment, especially with respect to conserving cultivated
cultivated land through land arrangement, development, land; (b) reinforcing the survey, assessment, and scien-
and reclamation; conduct a survey and monitoring of tific planning for natural resources, to contribute to
land use; establish the national land use database; con- national economic and social development; (c) con-
duct an urban and rural cadastral survey; conduct a sur- structing an information system for natural resources to
vey and assessment of the quality and quantity of land; provide information services to the public; (d) estab-
complete the grading of land and evaluation of land costs lishing new systems and operating mechanisms for natu-
for agricultural lands and furnish the grading of land and ral resources management, in line with the deepening
the assessment and updating of reference land costs for reform of the socialist market-economy system; and (e)
urban land; conduct a survey on returning cultivated land strengthening legislation and administrative enforcement
into the previous class of land nationwide and on the to strive for normal and sound systems for land use man-
environmental problems caused by land use; and conduct agement and mining operations. It is believed that these
research on the theory and techniques for the classi- works will greatly contribute to the sustainable use of
fication and standardization of land resources, and natural resources into the next century.
changes in land use and the sustainable use of land
Numeralization of territory project
This project will analyze, screen, and numeralize the
existing natural resources information to provide infor-
mation services for decision-making by government Information Office of the State Council of China, 1998, The develop-
ment of China’s marine programs (White book).
agencies and the public; establish a natural resources dat-
Jiang Xiaofeng, 1999, On the issues of water resources in China and
abase and map base; and establish the rules and regu- policy options, China Geology, No.6 1999.
lations on submission and sharing of information. Li Yuan, 1999, Natural resources and economic allocation, Geological
Publisher, Beijing.
Technological development of natural resources survey Ministry of Water Conservancy, 1999, The communique of the
and utilization project People’s Republic of China on the 1998 water resources,
People’s Daily.
This project will focus on research and development Ministry of Land and Resources, 1999, The development and manage-
of advanced technology and instruments to improve ment of natural resources, Resources and Industry Journal, no. 6,
pp. 23–24.
techniques in surveying, exploration, development and State Environment Administration, 1999, Communique of the People’s
management of natural resources, including protection Republic of China on the 1998 environmental status.
of the ecological and geological environment. Zhong Ziran, 1999, Natural Resources Planning, Chapter 13 in Natural
Resources Management, edited by the MOLAR, Geological Pub-
lisher, 1999.
Conclusions Zhou Rongkang, 1998, Natural resources and sustainable development,
RESOURCES and INDUSTRY, No. 6, 1999, p6.
The planning, management, conservation and rational Zhou Rongkang, 1999, To achieve the running balance of the total
utilization of natural resources are critical to reaching area of the cultivated land, People’s Daily, 25 June 1999.