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Program to Protect Source of Three Rivers
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A major project has been launched in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to safeguard the headwaters of the country's three major rivers - the Yellow, Yangtze and Lancang.


Within five years, 10 million hectares of pasture will be restored in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Golog and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in Qinghai Province.


At an average altitude of 4,000 kilometers, the two prefectures are the source of the rivers. About 25 percent of the water resources of the Yangtze River, 49 percent of the Yellow and 15 percent of the Lancang originate from the areas.


However, the areas have suffered ecosystem degeneration in recent years due to global warming, increasing population and excessive herding.


The three-river headwater area covers more than 300,000 square kilometers, about half of Qinghai Province's total area, and has a most vulnerable ecosystem, said Wang Xiangguo, a senior expert on pastures with the Qinghai provincial office in charge of the project.


The government will provide preferential policies and pay subsidies to the herders who are willing to move out of the three-river headwater area, Wang said.

( November 27, 2003)

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