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A farmland biodiversity strategy is needed for China

Nationwide citizen science data show the importance of farmland outside protected areas for China’s avifauna. We urge the government of China to develop a national strategy for policy and research to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge of sustainable agriculture to meet the post-2020 goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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Fig. 1: Farmland bird species in China.

Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo (a).


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We are grateful to F. Hua, F. Fassnacht, D. Wilcove and F. Herzog for valuable discussions and comments. G. Gautschi helped us with the English editing of the manuscript.

Author information




Z.L., L.L., J.H. and M.B. conceptualized and framed the main perspective of the Comment. J.Z. organized nationwide birding records of China. R.H. conducted all species modelling and mapping and wrote the chapter of Supplementary Methods. Z.Z. reviewed the current agricultural policies of China. J.H. provided recommendations regarding agricultural policies. L.L. drafted the manuscript; M.B., Z.L. and J.H. revised the content and language of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zhi Lü.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Fig. 1 and references.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Table

Supplementary Table 1. List of potential habitat area for China’s avian species specifying farmland habitat percentage. Among the 1,111 species, 220 species use farmland as habitat, and 121 species have over 50% potential habitat in farmlands.

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Li, L., Hu, R., Huang, J. et al. A farmland biodiversity strategy is needed for China. Nat Ecol Evol 4, 772–774 (2020).

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