The country's first forest biodiversity insurance providing compensation for environmental damage caused by a range of factors from natural disasters to invasive species was introduced in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, in July, the local government said.
The pioneering insurance product was developed through collaboration between the Ningbo branch of PICC Property and Casualty and Longguan township.
Conservation, sustainable management and restoration can serve as nature-based solutions to address the challenges faced by forest resources such as precious species, wild animals, water sources and vegetation.
The insurance policy, which applies exclusively to the township, offers coverage for a range of risks including natural disasters, invasive species and the destruction of vegetation, and provides compensation of up to 2 million yuan ($278,600).
The insurance company will pay out for the restoration of damaged ecosystems caused by human activities such as destruction caused by project construction, farming wastewater, harmful waste and pesticide residue.
The insurance company said it will utilize drones to monitor the extent of any losses, and collaborative investigations with the local government will be conducted to assess damage, allowing for timely compensation payments following any disaster.
Located at the foot of Siming Mountain, Longguan township in Ningbo's Haishu district boasts rich biological resources. In recent years, it has built itself into a biodiversity-strong township by launching conservation bases and eco-friendly energy projects.
In 2007, the local government decided to develop a green economy and highlighted environmental conservation as a precondition of all construction work.
Through the years, the idea has carried through in many projects, including industrial layout, spatial planning, infrastructure construction and tourism.
The region is home to several species under State protection, including the narrow quillwort and the hooded crane. To date, a total of 2,232 species have been recorded in the Siming Mountain area.
Longguan attracts over 1 million tourists annually and its thriving tourism industry provides opportunities for the integration of tourism and biodiversity conservation, making it an ideal location for the implementation of the country's inaugural forest biodiversity insurance policy.
Numerous good practices will be explored and implemented to address local environmental and development challenges in climate change, ecological protection and biodiversity, according to the Ningbo branch of PICC P&C.
For example, more effective area-based conservation measures will be taken to address increasing risks to the ecology and environment, and to better protect the local watersheds.
The branch will also assist the local government to apply for China Certified Emission Reduction, or CCER, as part of efforts to further cut carbon emissions and achieve renewable energy goals.