Pictures Show Natural Wonder of Three Rivers

A photo exhibition depicting the parallel flow of three rivers in Yunnan Province opened on Wednesday morning in the Nationalities Cultural Palace in Beijing. On display are pictures of old and present natural scenes, diverse animals and plants and the folk customs within the sphere of the Jinsha, Lancang and Nujiang rivers, all running across the province.

The scenic area spans the three rivers flowing in a parallel line across northwestern Yunnan Province, including the Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County and Deqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and covering a total area of 40,000 square km. In 1988, it was approved as a scenic area at state level. Now it is engaged in applying for listing as a World Natural Heritage site.

The Jinsha River flows eastward. Together with the Yalong, Dadu and Jialing rivers, they form the Yangtze River, the longest river of China.

The Lancang River runs from north to south. Out of China, it becomes the upper reach of the Mekong River, which flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before it finally joins the South China Sea.

The Nujiang River rolls down from north to south and becomes the upper reaches of the Salween in Myanmar.

The spectacular scenery of three parallel rivers is formed due to the special topographical structure and its long-time movement. Situated in the border area of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet Autonomous Region and as an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the scenic area has experienced intense crustal movement and deep fracture, thus forming three deep valleys.

The three rivers flow in parallel through these for more than 400 km. The shortest distance between the Lancang and Jinsha rivers is only 66.3 km, while that between Nujiang and Lancang rivers is only 18.6 km. The elevation of the Jinsha, Lancang and Nujiang rivers are respectively 2,100 meters, 1,900 meters and 1,600 meters.

The great rivers rushing through deep valleys among snow-capped mountains make up a wonder of the world.

The three-parallel-river area features beautiful natural scenes and diversified geology and geomorphology. Here one can find 4,000-meter-deep valleys, 6,500-meter-high snow mountains, the southernmost snow mountain of the world, a marine glacier reaching 2,700 meters in low latitude, well-developed and well-preserved glacial landforms, high mountain glacial lakes, high mountain danxia landforms, volcano and magma rocks, high mountain karst topography, karst caves, travertine waterfalls and grassy marshlands. This can be seen a heritage left over by the great nature.

The area is abundant in animals and plants. The geographical location and varied topography create many different types of climates, ranging from subtropical and temperate to frigid and high mountain tundra zones. Some call it a "kingdom of fauna and flora," demonstrating the biodiversity in the area. On the 0.4 percent of Chinese territory, may people find 20 percent of higher plants and over 25 percent of animal species of the country. Initial investigation shows that there are over 5,000 species of higher plants in the scenic area, of which two are the first-class plants subject to state protection and 18 second-class plants subject to the state protection. Also, there are over 500 species of vertebrates, of which 11 are of the first-class under the state protection and 18 of second-class under state protection.

Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, a precious and endangered species of the world, mainly inhabit the Baima (White Horse) Snow Mountain of the three-parallel-river area.

The peculiarity and importance of the area have been acknowledged both at home and abroad since the 1980s. Once it is included in the World Natural Heritage list, it will be better understood and protected.

(CIIC by Li Jinhui 03/15/2001)

In This Series

Glaciers Retain Glazed Looks

Rare Species Grown in Large Tracts in Yunnan

Human and Nature: Story of A Monkey King

First Dinosaur Park to Open in Yunnan



World Cultural Heritage in China

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