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From experiences to institution: the management of Jiuzhaigou Valley Biosphere Reserve faced with institutional transformation and upgrading

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Unlike most biosphere reserves in China, Jiuzhaigou Valley Biosphere Reserve (JBR) has achieved immense success in natural resources protection and economic development given the difficult conditions such as modest government appropriation for protection, a serious shortage of investment funds in the initial development stage and a flawed legislation and regulation system. Its successful experiences are therefore particularly valuable to other biosphere reserves, which encompass three principal aspects that include the notion of landscape protection and improved livelihoods for local residents; coordinated and unified management; and the combination of the biosphere reserve and the World Heritage site concepts. However, with the development of JBR and the change of external conditions, the unified management model targeted to solve the problems in the initial period is facing fresh problems in its future development, and which urgently requires institutional transformation and upgrading in Jiuzhaigou Reserve Administration (JRA). Based on SWOT analysis, this paper analyses the scenarios in the different combinations of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and then presents some suggestions for the adjustment of strategy in order to further achieve the multiple functions of biosphere reserves in dealing with the new challenges faced by JBR.

Keywords: biosphere reserves, world heritage sites, tourism, local participation, coordination, strategy adjustment, institutional transformation, institutional upgrading, China, sustainable development, sustainability, natural resources protection, economic development

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