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Nature Reserves

2003/10/14

In a glen a short distance from the left bank of the Lhasa River, there is a village called Dangdong. Moving further on for half an hour, you will come upon a green valley overgrown with all sorts of trees and with a stream running through it. Now and then you could spot a deer, fox, lynx, hare or pheasant here and there.

Four years ago, a woman People's Congress delegate proposed that a nature reserve be established here. Her proposal was promptly accepted by the Lhasa Municipal Government. In the last four years, as a result of the protective measures, ecology in this small area has been getting better and better. There are now more trees and more birds and animals; the once dried up springs now are running again and the streams along the bottom of the valley help irrigate lots of the rice fields under the mountain. Dangdong villagers now taste for themselves the advantages of environmental protection.

That is one of the three small nature reserves under the Lhasa Municipality. Besides them, one fourth of the 1. 2 million square kilometers of Tibet has been demarcated as nature reserves of the autonomous-region or Slate grade.

Tibetan fauna and flora are characterized by variety and abundance. At present, 164 species are listed as protected rare and precious animals or plants of State grade, 16 of them as of autonomous - region grade.More than 40 species of the animals and plants cannot be found anywhere else in the world except on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Himalayas.

How to keep the all but primaeval ecology of Tibet intact? Nature reserve is the logical modern choice, the chief way out for Tbetan environmental protection. In 1970s, Tibet started to demarcate areas in which hunting and felling of rare and precious animals and plants were banned. In 1980s, Tibet set about establishing nature eserves.

In September, 1985, the People's Government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region approved the establishment of six nature reserves of autonomous-region grade aimed at the protection of the ecological system of forests and the protection of the rare and precious wild animals and plants: i.e., Metog, Rdzayul, Bome Gang, Nyingchi, Paggi, Nyalam Zham, Gyirong Village nature reserves. In November, 1988, the Mount Qomolangma Nature Reserve was set up, which is of State grade. Later, five more nature reserves were set up chiefly for the protection of rare and precious animals, of which the Qangtang Nature Reserve, with an area of more than 240,000 square kilometres,is the largest in the world. These 12 nature reserves total 325, 300 square kilometres in area,accounting for 27.1 per cent of Tibet's territory or the size of Poland or Finland.

(For Tibet's nature reserves see the following table)

While setting up nature reserves, Tibetan authorities took steps to probe fauna and flora resources and strengthen co-operation with foreign countries. Comprehensive probe has been jointly conducted by teams made up of foreign and Chinese scientists on the species, distribution and life pattern of the wild animals in Qangtang Nature Reserve of north Tibet. The American High Mountain Research Institute has a share in launching the Mount Qomolangma Nature Reserve; it signed an agreement for 12-year co-operation and invested tens of thousands of dollars in technical personnel training and establishment of development foundations. Japanese environmental protection research institutions have also expressed desire to co-operate.

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