Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2011, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (5): 882-896.doi: 10.1007/s11442-011-0887-9

• Human-Environment Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

An exploration into a diversified world of national park systems: China’s prospects within a global context

WANG Lianyong1,2, CHEN Anze3, GAO Zhaofeng2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    2. National Parks Lab, College of Economics and Management, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China;
    3. Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100037, China
  • Received:2010-10-25 Revised:2011-05-10 Online:2011-10-15 Published:2011-10-03
  • About author:Wang Lianyong (1965-), Associate Professor and Ph.D Candidate, specialized in heritage conservation, protected area and sustainable tourism studies. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    Lab Construction Support Funding for Returned Oversea Scholars, Ministry of Education, No. [2003]18


A single nomenclature for national park terminology has evolved into a massive global data network from information gathered together from the past 140 years. This has been created using the most recent UNEP-WDPA data and its 98483 national designation records from 192 countries, two other customized databases accommodating 2638 records of officially designated national parks from 184 jurisdictions around the globe, and 2064 records of extended Chinese national park sites. However, mushrooming designations and growing databases are posing significant challenges even though the IUCN and UNEP have both devoted efforts to build and promote a common language called the “System of Management Categories for Protected Areas”. Thus conversely the best possible outcome and the worst confusion might have originated from the same objective that is known by the simple moniker as a national park. This is why much more work needs to be done to enhance communication among different stakeholders from the world. In this paper, the authors are intending to demonstrate that China’s government agencies should boost a dialogue with the UNEPWDPA operating staff in order that the current innovative national park programs are recognized by the global community. Meanwhile, the authors also recommend that IUCN needs to revise and refresh the current protected area classification system for the purpose of effectively servicing the diverse stakeholders in such a diversified world of national park systems around the globe.

Key words: national parks, protected areas, land use, nature conservation, environmental education, recreation and tourism, UNEP-WDPA, China