China / Society

Attitude and altitude helping to turn back the eco-clock

By Kang Bing/Liu Xiangrui (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-08 08:54

An eco-protection screen for China and beyond

Sanjiangyuan, or "Three Rivers' Source", is the origin of three major waterways-the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Lancang River, which is also known as the Mekong.

Often called "China's Water Tower", the area, located in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, provides about 40 billion cubic meters of water a year for the lower reaches and supports a population of 600 million.

Water from Sanjiangyuan accounts for 49 percent of the runoff of the Yell-ow River, 25 percent of the Yangtze River and 15 percent of the Lancang River.

In 2003, the State Council established Sanjiangyuan as a national-level nature reserve. The entire reserve covers an area of 395,000 sq km, which is larger than Germany, and at an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, the park is China's highest natural wetland.

As one of the world's most biologically diverse high-elevation nature reserves, the region is home to 2,238 kinds of wild plants, 85 animal species and 237 types of bird.

Li Xiaonan, director of Qinghai province's Sanjiangyuan Office, said the reserve acts as a critical ecological protection screen for China and even Asia. The region's ecosystem is extremely fragile for a number of reasons, but from the middle of the last century it has experienced massive and continuous degradation as a result of global warming and human activities.

Local glaciers shrank, which not only affected the region's ecological environment but also had a negative effect on the lower reaches, both in China and in other Southeast Asian countries, he said. For example, the Yellow River first ran dry in 1972, posing a serious threat to productivity and living standards on the lower reaches.

"The importance of ecological rest-oration and protection at Sanjiangyuan stretches far beyond this region alone-if the Sanjiangyuan area catches a cold, the whole world sneezes," Li said.

Previous Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page

Hot Topics