The application for being listed in the UNESCO natural heritage of the state-level scenic area featuring three rivers flowing side by side in south China's Yunnan Province has entered the final stage. An expert team from the United Nations will start the inspection and evaluation work in October and the detailed result is expected to be released next June.
The Nujiang, Lancang and Jinsha rivers, all originating on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, run through northwestern Yunnan between Dandanglika, Gaoligong, Nushan and Yunling mountains, where the Deqen Tibetan Nationality Autonomous Prefecture, Nujiang Lisu Nationality Autonomous Prefecture and Lijiang Prefecture are located. The shortest distance between the Lancang and Jinsha rivers is 66.3 km, while that between Lancang and Nujiang rivers is only 18.6 km. They form a unique scenery of rivers flowing in parallel, but without convergence.
From the arid and hot Nujiang River Valley at an elevation of 760 meters to the 6,740-meter-high Kawagebo Peak, people will find a lot of magnificent things, including high mountains and deep valleys, snow peaks and glaciers, highland wetland, forests, fresh water lakes, rare animals and precious plant species. As an area with the richest biodiversity in the world, the region boasts over 5,000 kinds of higher plants and about 800 types of animals. The area is also the final exclave for such endangered species as the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, Asian elephant and wild ox.
In 1988, the State Council approved the establishment of a state-level scenic spot here, covering 34,000 square km. In the mid 1990s, the Yunnan provincial government drew up the principles to strictly protect, properly develop, uniformly manage and continuously utilize the three-parallel-river area. Through years of efforts, the China UNESCO National Commission finally submitted the file on the Three-Parallel-River's application for world natural heritage site listing in January 2002.
At present, Yunnan has allocated a special fund of 65 million yuan (US$7.9 million) for ecological environment protection in the region.
It is reported that the Deqen Tibetan Nationality Autonomous Prefecture has taken control of the major scenic spots since early 2001 and basically stopped sand digging and stone removal activities in the Napahai area. The Lijiang Prefecture completed the protective plank road project in the Danxia landscape area of Qiangui (A Thousand Tortoise) Mountain and an environment management project in Laojun Mountain. The Nujiang Lisu Nationality Autonomous Prefecture enhanced its efforts in stopping water and soil erosion and restoring vegetation along the Nujiang Great Canyon.
At the same time, forestry departments of the province have issued orders forbidding the felling of trees. They have set up more than 10 nature reserves in the Baimang and Yulong mountains. What's more, the projects of high mountain botanical garden and flower base in cooperation with the United States and Britain are proceeding smoothly.
(china.org.cn by Li Jinhui, July 2, 2002)