Nature is Preserved at Reserve

The Holan Mountains National Natural Reserve has become a "gene bank" of animals and plants in the northwest, thanks to environmental protection measures.

As many as 868 species of wild animals and plants live there, and it has the world's highest concentration of blue sheep, a rare animal under the government's special protection.

This year, the Holan Mountains area was closed to livestock herding and firewood gathering to facilitate a afforestation project.

Forest coverage in the mountains has risen by up to 14 percent from the previous level of less than 10 percent, while some 690 kinds of wild plants grow in the natural reserve.

The number of many endangered plants, such as the Mongolian almond tree, also showed an increased.

The reserve also provided a perfect haven for more than 170 kinds of wild animals, with the total number of blue sheep exceeding 10,000.

Situated on the border of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the northwest, the Holan Mountains stretch more than 250 kilometers from north to south and serve as a natural shield against the expansion of desert from the west and the Siberian cold current from the north.

( August 22, 2002)