Nowadays, China’s micro-wetlands have not received enough attention due to their small size, scattered distribution and remote location, but their distribution is extremely widespread. With reasonable development and utilization, it will produce huge ecological potential and social benefits.
The existing wastelands and polluted ponds are transformed into a natural and wild micro-wetland, achieving a “small transformation, big improvement” goal. The site has been playing its role as a green infrastructure for the countryside, injecting vitality into the countryside while contributing to its revitalization and improving the life quality of the villagers, ultimately achieving a harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
The Xining Rural Micro Wetlands span approximately 8.3 hectares near the new service center in Xining Village, Jiangning District, Nanjing. The site’s ecological problems (water pollution and encroachment) and lack of outdoor facilities due to population outflow and low-quality landscape require landscape intervention to restore the rural landscape, improve the environment, and enhance the village’s vitality.
2.1 Ecological Restoration
The design respects the original topography and only modifies the rural “ponds, ditches, and streams,” creating diverse pond bottoms. Connecting separated water bodies using natural terrain enhances biodiversity. By creating different aquatic habitats and water depths, wetland plants can thrive, providing habitats for various animals such as birds, fish, and amphibians, while also creating a diversified ecological space with grasslands, trees, and ponds.
For plant arrangement, the original vegetation is adequately protected, and native shrubs and herbaceous plants are introduced to guide natural succession of plant communities and contribute to a stable ecosystem.
2.2 Water Purification
In terms of pollution, the small-scale wetland artificially increases the quantity and diversity of wetland plants and microorganisms, exhibiting a strong ability to absorb and remove harmful substances. It effectively purifies the water, removing pollutants such as heavy metal ions, pesticides, and chemicals, thereby improving water quality. Additionally, by adding vegetation to slow down the flow velocity, it reduces sediment and pollutant runoff, protecting water sources and soil.
2.3 “Carbon Bank” Construction
The small-scale wetland functions as a “carbon bank” in the project by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, contributing to local climate change mitigation. This also brings additional ecological and economic benefits to the project. We incorporate carbon emissions and carbon sequestration capacity of plants into the calculations of the carbon bank, promoting carbon reduction, environmental protection, and utilizing methods like biochar to further enhance the ecological and social benefits of the wetland, providing innovative approaches for future sustainable development.
2.4 Rainstorm and Flood Risk Management
In China, many regions are frequently affected by natural disasters such as floods, posing a significant threat to the ecological environment. To mitigate rainstorm and flood risks, this small-scale wetland implements a series of rainstorm and flood risk management measures. These include establishing a drainage system, utilizing interconnected water bodies in the western grassy pit and eastern areas for rainstorm management, to reduce peak flow rates and minimize rainstorm risks to surrounding communities of the small-scale wetland.
Xining micro-wetlands revitalize the countryside and enhance the ecological quality through a low-impact rational landscape approach. The site has become a recreational paradise for local villagers and a thriving habitat for local flora and fauna.
Location: Xining Village, Jiangning District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China
Design year: 2020
Year Completed: 2022