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Wetland in Tibet Under Effective Protection
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The wetlands in Tibet Autonomous Region, known as "the roof of world," have been effectively protected, the regional government said.


Tibet leads China in wetland acreage with more than 6 million hectares in total, making up 4.9 percent of the region's total area, according to the regional environmental protection bureau.


Dubbed as "the kidney of plateau," wetlands in Tibet not only play a crucial role in protecting groundwater, moderating flood water in rainy seasons and maintaining ecological balance, but also are the major source of oxygen and the "natural gene bank" of the world-renown Qinghai-Tibet plateau, according to the bureau.


The world's highest natural wetland Lhalu wetland, located on the northwest outskirts of Lhasa, for example, could absorb 78,800 tons of carbon dioxide and produces 57,300 tons of oxygen every year, according to the bureau.


However, due to overgrazing and improper urban construction, some wetlands had been destroyed in Tibet.


As the swamps vanish, dry-land plants gradually replace water vegetation and plants. As big rivers dry up and some small rivers have turned into seasonal rivers or have disappeared, said an official with the bureau who declined to give his name.


To curb the deterioration of its wetland resources, the regional government of Tibet launched a project to protect the Lhalu wetland in 2002 at a cost of 92.92 million yuan (US$11.2 million).


It concluded construction of an 18 km-long enclosure, a silt containing pond covering 27,000 square meters and water diversion channels around and within the wetland.


In addition, the regional government will bring 15 wetlands in Lhasa, under protection in the next five years, according to the bureau.


(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2006)

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