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Drawing on the French model for nature park management, Xianju National Park intends to establish a new management model for protected areas combining the preservation of natural and cultural heritage with development issues for local communities.

China has initiated a vast reform of protected areas in order to address climate change issues and preserve the country’s rich biodiversity. Xianju, “Home of the Immortals”, is located in the south-east of Zhejiang province, 350 km south of Shanghai. Located in a mid-altitude mountain area, it is home to 300 km2 of unique geological and landscape heritage. Recent road development has facilitated access to the area and led to the enhancement of the first tourist site in 2013. In 2014, it became the location for the first national park pilot project, with support from AFD.


This project includes the following actions:

  • conservation and restoration of the park’s biodiversity and landscapes, including forest ecosystems and geological formations;

  • development of ecotourism, revitalization of isolated villages and improvement of living conditions for inhabitants;

  • implementation of an effective park management system based on the French nature park model.

AFD initiated a partnership between the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park and Xianju district, which has led to progress in a wide range of areas, including the organization of visits, protection and enhancement of isolated villages, educational activities for young people and park governance. Franco-Chinese teams are also working to remediate soil contaminated by former lead mines and preparing for a future ecomuseum.

  • Ecological restoration and natural and cultural heritage preservation;

  • Development of ecotourism throughout the territory, resulting in additional economic benefits for inhabitants;

  • By combining housing, economic activities and nature preservation activities in the same territory, the project illustrates a new territorial organization model enabling humans to coexist harmoniously with their natural environment.

Project start date
20 ans
Duration of funding
Financing tool
75 000 000
Financing amount
Xianju local authorities