Yancheng / Dafeng National Nature Reserves






East Asian - Australasian flyway


WLI Asia


The project is run by the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Fund.

See www.wetland.org.cn and www.wetland-gef-cpr98.org

Yancheng is run by the Government (Municipal Government and State Environmental Protection Agency) – see http://www.yccrane.com/

Dafeng is run by the Government (Municipal Government and Forestry Agency)

Both reserves are funded by municipal, provincial and state government funds. They also receive funds from private activities within the reserves (tourism and land rent fees).


In 1983, Yancheng was established by the Central Government for conserving rare birds and their habitats. It was designated as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1992 and was admitted as Northeast Asian Crane Reserve Network site in 1997 and as an East Asian-Australian Migratory Shorebirds Network Site in 1999. The reserve was designated as a Ramsar site in 2001. In 1986, Dafeng Milu was found in Dafeng coastal area for the conservation and naturalisation of Pere David’s Deer. It was designated as a Ramsar site in 2001.


Yancheng Nature Reserve stretches along the shoreline of the Yellow Sea for 582 km from north to south. The total area is 453,000ha, composed of 17,400 of core area, 46,700 of buffer zone, and 388,900 ha of experimental zone. Dafeng Milu Nature Reserve is 2668 ha.

The intertidal systems of the reserves cover extensive mudflats, tidal creeks and river channels, saltmarshes, reedbeds and marshy grassland. The total area is 78,000ha, composed of 2,668 of core area, 2,222ha of buffer zone and 73,112ha of experimental zone.”

Work Areas

Key species/features

Yancheng: Red-crowned Cranes (Grus japonicus) and waterbirds
Dafeng Milu: Pere David’s Deer and waterbirds.

Interpretation and exhibitry

Both reserves are redesigning their educational centres at present. This will be co-funded and guided by the GEF-UNDP Wetland Project.
At present, most displays at both reserves are mainly composed of animal samples and pictures of flagship species, such as Red-crowned Crane and Milu deet.
The new centres will provide information on the importance of wetland habitats, demonstrate how coastal wetland ecosystems and communities work, the diversity and abundance of life, threats and problems facing conservation with unsustainable development, and the link between wetlands and coastal livelihoods.

Current features:

Yancheng includes a crane farm and crane exhibition centre, two museums with collections of marine shells and fossils, an educational museum, bird and butterfly specimens, parking space, conference room, offices a waterfowl lake and fish ponds.
Dafeng has an audiovisual room, specimen display hall of marine animals including birds, an educational museum, a hall dedicated to Milu deer, a boating service with an artificial lake, a bird garden enclosure, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.”

Formal (school and university) learning

At present, few schools visit the Nature Reserve Centres. There is neither a set of curriculum-based activities nor a teacher training programme.

Informal (general public) learning

None apart from exhibits and interpretation described above.


Both reserves welcome researchers and professionals to work in the area. Some conferences and meetings are organised every year.


GEF/UNDP – Dr Maria del Mar Otero Villaneuva, Conservation Specialist

E: maria.otero@public.un.org.cn m.otero@ctu.edu.vn

Yancheng – Mr ZhiDong Gao

E: gaozd0618@163.com

Dafeng – Mr Yijun Ren, Section Chief

E: yijunmilu@126.com

Ding Yuhua is Reserve Director and lead CEPA person – milu3391912@126.com