With an inordinately high man-land ratio of six-million population to 1076 km² of land, much of which is hilly and rugged, the pressure on the natural environment in Hong Kong is understandably intensive and pervasive. Fortunately, despite the relentless impacts of urbanization, a surprisingly large area covering some 40% of the land surface has been securely earmarked as protected areas by statute. Since 1975, a total of 21 country parks, 14 special areas have been designated. And 50 sites of special scientific interest have been recognized. In addition, two restricted areas have been designated for the protection of wild animals. Almost all of the scenic countryside except farmlands and villages have been included in a territory-wide system of protected areas. A wide range of habitats with varied flora, fauna, geology and landscape, and with high scenic-amenity as well as conservation values, are found largely in the hills. Some coastal waters of ecological significance will soon be designated as marine parks or marine reserves in an endeavour to extend protection beyond the hitherto land-based domain. The protected areas, especially the country parks, have to serve three somewhat conflicting objectives, namely conservation, recreation and education. The Country Parks authority, that is the Director of agriculture and Fisheries and his Department of the Hong Kong Government, is charged with the duties if planning, developing and managing the designated lands. Recreational patronage in the country parks has risen steadily to reach about 10 million visitors per annum in recent years. User impacts such as the spreading of litter, and the damage of vegetation and soil at localized honeypots of barbecue-picnic sites and footpaths, may erode ecological and amenity qualities. The frequent occurrence of hillfires, however, poses the most destructive threat. The need to augment protective measures whilst at the same time catering to the diversified and changing demands of the outdoor recreationists and other needs of the expanding city will constitute the greatest management challenge. Copyright © 1996 Joint Publishing (Hong Kong) Company Limited.
|Title of host publication||Protected areas and nature conservation in East Asia|
|Editors||C. Y. JIM, Bosheng LI|
|Place of Publication||Hong Kong|
|Publisher||Joint Publishing Hong Kong Company Ltd|
|ISBN (Print)||9620413296, 9789620413292|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|