Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (3): 466-475.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.03.011

• Ecosystem Assessment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

New Framework for Evaluating Ecosystem Quality in Nature Reserves based on Ideal References and Key Indicators

WU Zhenliang1(), HOU Jihua1,*(), XU Li2, HE Nianpeng2,3,4,*()   

  1. 1. School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology of Ministry of Education, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2021-01-09 Accepted:2021-05-09 Online:2022-05-30 Published:2022-04-18
  • Contact: HOU Jihua,HE Nianpeng
  • About author:WU Zhenliang, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Priority Research Program(XDA23080401);The National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171544);The National Natural Science Foundation of China(31988102)


With increasing numbers and types of nature reserves (NRs), objective evaluation and comparison of the effects of different nature NRs on conservation efforts are of great importance for protecting species diversity, ensuring reasonable national economic input, and adjusting government management schemes. Developing a method for the combined assessment of flagship or umbrella species and ecosystem quality will improve the evaluation of NRs. However, it is also important to establish a new framework for rapid evaluation of ecosystem quality, supported by the advantages of scientific, economic, and regular principles. Here, we proposed a new framework that incorporates the novel concept of ideal references into evaluation systems, which will facilitate the comparison of results from different periods and regions. Furthermore, from the perspective of making the framework as objective, rapid, and economical as possible, we recommended some key ecological indicators, such as net primary productivity, soil organic matter, plant diversity, for use in the new evaluation framework. The new framework, referred to as “ideal reference and key indicators” (IRKI), can sufficiently meet the requirements for the rapid evaluation of ecosystem quality both regionally and nationally. Furthermore, IRKI can identify the restoration potential and restoration periods of NRs, thus facilitating the rational distribution of resources and enhancing the protective effect. There are many types of NRs in China, and it is necessary to partially alter the assessment methods or parameters for different types of NRs. Overall, IRKI provides a simple, clear, and comparable framework that will strongly enhance the conservation of protected areas (PAs) and facilitate the standardization of management practices.

Key words: nature reserve, ecosystem quality, ideal reference, key indicators, conservation management