© Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon
The Amur-Heilong basin has faced threats for many years. Wastewater has contaminated the drinking water; excessive fishing has jeopardized the breeding and migration cycles of rare and valuable fish; habitat destruction has impacted species like the Amur tiger; the expansion of agriculture is shrinking the wetlands; and hydraulic projects have changed water flows and currents throughout many branches of the river.
Songyuan, in the Jilin province, is one of the largest corn-growing areas in China, producing around 17 million tons of corn per year (Jilin is about the size of Nebraska). Despite total production figures, however, corn yields are not reaching their full potential and input inefficiencies are high, resulting in excess water use, runoff and water quality impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions.