The province has three distinctive landforms from north to south. The Loess Plateau in the north has an elevation of 800-1,300 meters, and accounts for 45 percent of the total area of the province. The Central Shaanxi Plain in the middle averages an elevation of 520 meters. The Qinling and Daba mountainous areas in the south include the Qinling Mountains, Daba Mountains, and Hanjiang River Valley, accounting for 36 percent of the total area of the province. The Qinling Mountains measures 1,000-3,000 meters in elevation and the Daba Mountains in the southernmost of the province, 1,500-2,000 meters.
So far, 91 kinds of minerals have been found in the province, 58 of which have deposits ranking among the top ten in China. The reserves and output of gold rank fifth and fourth respectively. The output of molybdenum amounts to half of the country's total. The proved deposits of coal, the most abundant mineral in the province, come to 161.8 billion tons. The Shenmu-Fugu Coalfield in northern Shaanxi has reserves of 134 billion tons. It is one of the best fields in the world because of its thick coal layer and easy access and exploitation. In addition, northern Shaanxi has a gas field with proved reserves of 350 billion cubic meters.
2. Hydropower: North of the Qinling Mountains is the Yellow River system, composed of the Weihe, Jinghe, Luohe, and Wuding rivers. South of the mountains is the Yangtze River system consisting of the Hanjiang, Danjiang, and Jialing rivers. The Hanjiang River, the largest river in the province, provides more than half of the province's total water runoff. Shaanxi has an annual water runoff of 42.6 billion cubic meters, which has a power-generation potential of 14 million kw.
Shaanxi has more than 750 species of wild vertebrates, 79 of them rare. It is home to 12 species of animals and birds under state protection including the giant panda, snub-nosed monkey, and clouded leopard.
The province has 5.93 million hectares of forest in the Qinling, Daba, Guanshan, Huanglong, and Qiaoshan mountainous areas. It has a 28.8 percent rate of forest coverage. It has 3,300-plus species of wild plants, 37 of them rare. The province has 800 species of medicinal plants of great economic value including sea-buckthorn and gynostemma pentaphylla. It leads the country in the output and quality of raw lacquer. The traditional exports of the province are dates, walnut meat, and tung oil.
5. Tourism resources:
Dispersed in Shaanxi are 72 imperial mausoleums, witness to the ancient economy and culture. The province is best known for ten scenic spots including the Mausoleum of Huang Di, the Qin terra-cotta warriors and horses, the Xi'an Forest of Stone Tablets, the Shaanxi Museum of History, and the city gate and wall of Xi'an. The Qin terra-cotta warriors and horses are often called the Eighth Wonder of the World and have been included by UNESCO in the list of World Cultural Heritages.
Environment and current issues:
In 2003, the province continued to carry out the state policy of converting the land for forestry in a pro-active manner. The construction of economic forestry was intensified in the light of local conditions, thus resulting in the dual achievements of both afforestation and economic returns. The year saw a total of 732,100 hectares of land afforested, up by 7.4 percent over the previous year.
During the year, the province also implemented programs to improve eco-environment in the northern part of Qinling Mountains as well as air qualities in cities. Atmospheric auto-monitoring stations were established in Baoji, Xianyang, Yangling and other cities. A total sum of 4.9 billion yuan was invested in tackling industrial pollutions sources. Construction of sewage and industrial effluents disposing plants in Baoji and Xianyang and urban garbage treatment factories in cities of Hanzhong, Baoji, Xianyang and Yangling started in 2003.