The country parks programme and countryside conservation in Hong Kong

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Urban and agricultural developments in Hong Kong are intensive and spatially concentrated in a quarter of the land, leaving a sizeable area of hilly countryside with unrestricted access, relatively empty and unspoilt. Care for this common heritage, in the past, focused on afforestation of the denuded hillslopes especially in reservoir catchments. The remaining parts, covered by grasses and shrubs, hardly received attention. The rapid population growth, urban encroachment and unplanned recreational use, threatened to engulf and ruin the countryside from the 1960s. A country parks programme was initiated belatedly in 1972, and was rapidly accomplished, so that in 1979 40 percent of the land was designated. The parks are broadly divided into high-intensity recreation, low-intensity recreation, and conservation zones. The programme has been successful in encouraging informal outdoor recreation, but has also engendered environmental problems which contradict the principal conservation goal. The overuse of sites and footpaths causes soil and vegetation damage. Hill fires, ignited by, and widely dispersed litter, left by, irresponsible and careless visitors, are additional forces of degradation. Long-term management should aim at containing these problems and plan for the anticipated changing recreational demands in the future. Copyright © 1986 Science and Technology Letters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
JournalThe Environmentalist
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1986


Jim, C. Y. (1986). The country parks programme and countryside conservation in Hong Kong. Environmentalist, 6(4), 259–270. doi: 10.1007/BF02238057


  • Environmental management
  • Population growth
  • Nature conservation
  • Environmental problem
  • Agricultural development


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