In 1986, the U.S. and China established the U.S.-China Nature Conservation Protocol in order to conserve species and their habitats. Under the Protocol, the two countries agree to establish and manage protected natural areas for conservation of wildlife and habitats, regulate trade of endangered species, and participate in cooperative research and management projects. The U.S.-China Nature Conservation Protocol establishes a system for informational and technical exchanges, in which delegates, study teams, and other individuals travel between the countries assisting in research, management, and project implementation.

Over the years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the People’s Republic of China have shared their insights and expertise on fish and wildlife conservation. Both countries have a long, extensive history of managing natural resources and unique perspectives. By learning from one another, we can share best practices and lessons learned in order to improve how both countries manage fish and wildlife populations for generations to come.      
Details of the most recent areas of exchange can be found in the Annex 12 of the Protocol.

Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Damon Yeh / USFWS


Recent Activities


Eld's Deer; Credit: Michelle Haynes

Wildlife Conservation in China

In January of 2018, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife delegation comprised of National Wildlife Refuge managers traveled to China to learn about improvements and new techniques in nature reserve management. One of the reserves visited provides habitat for the Eld’s deer (pictured left), which has a low birth rate of only one fawn per year. Their main predator is a python, which is also endangered. Management challenges there include protecting the fawns, prescribed fire to maintain savanna habitat, increasing public access, and wildlife monitoring. One of the other sites visited included a wetlands complex providing critical habitat for migratory birds, where discussion focused on innovative techniques to control invasive plants and restore native species. Unique perspectives can be gained by understanding a species in its native ecosystem. The exchange of technical ideas provides beneficial insights for improving nature reserve management in both the U.S. and China.


USFWS fisheries delegation discovers more about Asian carp biology

April 2018, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife delegation traveled to China to learn about fisheries management along the Yangtze River, with an emphasis on Asian carp biology and habitat preferences. The Chinese have an extensive history of studying and managing these fish, but the native fishery is currently threatened by over-harvesting and habitat loss. In the U.S., Asian carp is an invasive species and is over populating much of the Mississippi River basin. By traveling to China, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fisheries experts look to gain insight on how fish populations are negatively affected by changes in flow regimes due to the construction of dams. Understanding how spawning behavior changes due to changes in habitat will help the Service manage the invasive carp population in the Mississippi River.

During this trip, the delegation visited fish aquacultures, held meetings with the Bureau of Fisheries at the National and Provincial levels, and visited a fishing village to learn about how the government is working with local fisherman to better manage the fisheries. In the future, the two countries can collaborate on many topics to improve how we manage these two important rivers.

Big head carp. Credit: Damon Yeh / USFWS

Electrofishing. Credit: Brendan Tate / USFWS

Chinese protected areas land managers visit New England

July 2017, a delegation from China’s State Forestry Administration traveled to Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire on a technical exchange to learn how we manage land to enhance populations of species of concern. One common theme throughout the ten-day period was the importance of working with local partners to create a landscape that is suitable for wildlife. The delegation met with state officials from Vermont to learn about how they collaborate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and discussed how the Service works with individual landowners through conservation easements to achieve mutually beneficial conservation goals.

One topic of interest to the Chinese was the role of sport hunting in conservation. In China, hunting banned throughout the country due to over-harvesting of wildlife populations.  Sport hunting in the U.S. is both culturally and economically important, and is a critical component for managing wildlife populations that requires cooperation by Federal, State, and Local governments. While sport-hunting may not be viable in China, it serves as an example of science-based, collaborative natural resource management.


Chinese Asian Carp Experts Visit Upper Mississippi River

April 2017, a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences traveled through the Midwest to learn about our invasive Asian Carp problem. In China, these fish are highly valued and have been overharvested, while in the U.S., they are invading the Mississippi River and threaten to enter into the Great Lakes. These experts have extensive experience working with Asian carp and this trip provided the opportunity for the exchange of ideas to improve our management of these species.

During this trip, the delegation was able to learn monitoring and management techniques from the Service as well as other local partners. The Chinese are very interested in learning about what makes good habitat for these fish species and how to better measure presence in the river system. Through this exchange, both sides were able to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced in both countries and how we can better collaborate to meet our respective goals.  

Black carp. Credit: Damon Yeh / USFWS

Priority Species

Giant Panda; credit: Calvin Lee, Creative Commons Chinese Pangolin; credit: Gary Ades Asian Elephant; credit: Ganesh Ragunathan Amur Tiger; credit: Zervas, Creative Commons Saiga Antelope; credit: Daniel Rosengren