Environmental Governance in Asia series
We conclude our study by summarizing the main points of the argument. We then take a different slant by asking whether there are ‘Chinese characteristics’ to the governance of biodiversity conservation. SUMMARY In this volume we have explored the problems and prospects of biodiversity loss and conservation in mainland China and Taiwan. The topic is an important one because China is a mega-diversity country, and China and Taiwan together are thought to possess 10–13 percent of the world’s known species. How both states approach problems of biodiversity loss thus has global as well as national repercussions. The perspective of governance underlies our approach to the topic. Not only have we treated political institutions and administrative agencies; we also have paid attention to the actions of individuals, groups (especially environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs)), and communities as they have sought to influence policy and are in turn influenced by it. The methodology we have used is explicitly comparative, and one of our objectives has been to understand the impacts, if any, of the sharply different political and economic systems of capitalist, democratic Taiwan and authoritarian China with its socialist market economy. China and Taiwan share the world’s oldest continuous civilization. Traditional China produced a rich skein of interpretations about human relationships with the environment, including anthropocentric, sentientist, and ecocentric views. Although Confucianism and Legalism were the orthodoxy, with the greatest impact on the behavior of leaders, Taoism, Buddhism, and a host of animistic beliefs taught reverence for nature and even endowed...
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