The trend of a worsening ecology in the Sanjiang (Three Rivers)
region in southwest China's Qinghai
Province has slowed down considerably over the past few years
thanks to the joint effort of central and local governments, said
Zhao Xuemin, vice director of the State Forestry Administration in
an interview with Xinhua News Agency on July 24.
The Sanjiang region, located in southwest China's Qinghai-Tibet
plateau, gets its name from the fact it is the source of the
Yangtze, the Yellow River and the Lancangjiang. It is also known as
the "Chinese water tower."
The region has a natural wetland at the highest elevation in
China. It also covers the largest area in the country.
Most important, it is home to many geological wonders and a
natural environment of striking bio-diversity.
The Sanjiang Source Nature Reserve, was established by the State
Forestry Administration and the government of Qinghai Province in
May 2000. The Qinghai provincial management bureau for the nature
reserve was founded a year and half later in September 2001.
In January 2003, it attained state-level status.
According to www.qhnews.com,
a Qinghai Province news and information website, a comprehensive
plan for the ecological protection and construction of the region
was approved at the 79th routine meeting of the State Council in
late January 2005.
Under the plan, the state will invest about 7.5 billion yuan
(US$924.79 million) for this purpose.
Zhao said that, since 2003, a total of 1.23 billion yuan
(US$151.67 million) has been invested in the region by central and
After the reserve was established, a comprehensive natural
forest protection program was implemented, covering 117,458
hectares. Due to the severe soil erosion and water shortage in the
region, all cultivated lands in frigid zones unsuitable for growing
crops are included in the re-afforestation plan.
So far, a total of 84,709 hectares of land has been reforested,
increasing land occupied by forests and brushwood by 20,000
hectares and 2.25 million hectares separately since 1998.
In addition, 2.73 million hectares of grasslands have been
re-grassed and put under ecological migration programs: 1.39
million hectares are closed off to grazing, and 13,000 hectares
lands are covered by a seasonal grazing ban. These measures have
effectively reduced the pressures on the grasslands.
The area of eroded soil under the control of the program
currently stands at 544,000 hectares. The volume of sand, silt and
sediment flowing into the Yellow River annually has been reduced by
10 percent on average.
Wildlife has also flourished as a result. The number of
black-necked cranes in the region has increased by about 100 pairs
since 1987. Tibetan wild donkeys have increased in number from
about 80,000 to 100,000, Tibetan antelopes from 18,500 to 32,000,
and wild yaks from 9,500 to 60,000 between 1998 and 2004.
(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong August 1, 2005)