Tibet's environment protection tops US$1.53 bln

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Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region spent 10.1 billion yuan (1.53 billion U.S. dollars) to protect its plateau environment over the past five years, three times as much as in the 2001-2005 period, the regional government said Tuesday.

"During the 2006-2010 period, we established eight new nature reserves to preserve Tibet's wetlands, natural forests and pasturelands," said Zhang Yongze, Tibet's environmental protection chief, at a meeting in Lhasa on environmental protection work.

Zhang said the regional government obtained 6.95 million yuan of special funds from the central government to step up construction of Tibet's two leading nature reserves - Mount Qomolangma and Lhasa's Lhalu wetland.

At least 90 million was spent on the implementing of six key ecological projects, including the conservation of the endangered golden monkey in Mangkam County, Qamdo Prefecture, which is near Tibet's border with Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

By the end of 2010, Tibet had established 47 nature reserves at national and regional levels that covered a total area of 413,700 square kilometers, or about 35 percent of the region's territory, to preserve the plateau's ecology and biodiversity, said Zhang.

Tibet has also stepped up efforts to preserve natural grasslands and contain desertification and soil erosion.

With 2.5 billion yuan of central government funds, ten projects have been launched as part of China's plan to conserve Tibet's ecological environment.

The plan - announced by the State Council, China's cabinet, in early 2009 - will be carried out until 2030 at a cost of 15.5 billion yuan (2.3 billion U.S. dollars).

The plan will boost the ecological systems on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

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