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The ecological restoration of Wolong Lake
An ambitious ecological restoration project supported by AFD in northeast China has helped to revive a vital wetland while also developing new sustainable activities. The project is a success for Franco-Chinese cooperation for the protection of biodiversity.

Located on the border with Inner Mongolia, Wolong Lake plays an essential ecological role by curbing the advance of the Mongolian deserts. The lake is home to rich biodiversity and has long been used as a stopover for tens of thousands of birds in the migration corridor between East Asia and Australia.

However, due to water levels rising more than 1.5 meters, the wetlands have been greatly degraded. In two years, all natural habitats were lost, and migratory birds virtually disappeared from the area.


A restoration program for the ecosystems of this wetland area was launched in 2014 with support from AFD. The objective was to promote the development of rich biodiversity while encouraging ecotourism in order to provide the local residents with new sources of income.

Several actions were carried out by four consortiums of French and Chinese companies aimed at restoring the lake’s hydrological, ecological and biological functions. A 7.8 km-long dike equipped with watergates was built to enable the differentiated management of water resources according to the lake’s different uses. Technical assistance was provided for the close management of water levels and the monitoring of migratory bird populations. Thirty-six small bird islands were created.

In order to encourage green tourism and raise awareness about the environment, walking trails, two observation towers and an ecomuseum were created.

AFD is also supporting local authorities in their application for site’s inclusion on the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar List).

  • Restoration of a wetland of international importance spanning 2,500 hectares, a refuge for many endangered species;

  • Over 150,000 birds per day were again counted in 2020 during the peak of the migration season, including 3,000 Siberian cranes.

Project start date
Financing tool
15 000 000
Financing amount
Kangping local authorities