Biodiversity Conservation & Co-management in Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

http://www.china.org.cn/travel/2013-03/06/content_28135757_3.htm

Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China [Photo/Longshang Shanliren]

Location of the Sanjiangyuan region in China    [Source: Shen & Tan 2012]

Location of the Sanjiangyuan region in China [Source: Shen & Tan 2012]

 

 

Why is Sanjiangyuan region so important?

 

The Sanjiangyuan (literally three rivers’ headwaters) region is located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As the name itself suggests, it is where the three headwaters of Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow Rivers emerge. In 2000, the Sanjianguan National Nature Reserve was established, and it is the second largest nature reserve in the world (152,300 km2). Around 0.3 million Tibetans, who are traditionally pastoralists, live in this region. There are also about 600 million people live alone the downstream of the three rivers. Therefore the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functions in Sanjiangyuan is vital for livelihoods of all those people.

 

(to explore more: Plateau Perspectives;
Wikipedia page of Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve)

 

Tibetan antelope   [Photo/Baidu]

Tibetan antelope [Photo/Baidu]

Snow leopard    [Photo/Juan Li/Peking University and Shanshui Conservation Center]

Snow leopard [Photo/Juan Li/Peking University and Shanshui Conservation Center]

 

 

Apart from the ecosystem services it provides, the Sanjiangyuan region also has one of the highest concentration of biodiversity among the high altitude regions in the world. Also, many types of alpine flora and fauna are unique to this region (See Shen & Tan 2012; Shi et al. 2012), such as Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii), Glover’s pika (Ochotona gloveri), Likiang pitviper (Gloydius monticola) and so on. Hence the irreplaceability of local ecosystems, species and genetic diversity in Sanjiangyuan makes the conservation of biodiversity in this region even more important.

 

 

Glover's pika  [Photo/Dong Lei]

Glover’s pika [Photo/Dong Lei]

Prickly Blue poppy [Photo/Dong Lei]

Prickly Blue poppy [Photo/Dong Lei]

 

 

Threats to local environment

 

However, in the past several decades, there was a rapid environmental degradation in Sanjiangyuan region, and it could be a result of a combination of anthropogenic activities (such as fencing the pastures according to national natural resources governance policies, over-grazing, expanding population, waste disposal, poaching, illegal mining and so on) and impacts of climate change. Also, shortage in funding from local government impeded the official conservation work of the Sanjianguan National Nature Reserve.

 
 

Likiang pitviper [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

Likiang pitviper [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

Tibetan sand fox [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

Tibetan sand fox [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

 

 

Moving towards co-management

 

As a result, there have been more voices asking for co-management of the reserve in recent years. Because of the uniqueness and fragility of the ecosystems in Sanjianguan region, and also due to the ineffectiveness of management conducted by governmental organisations, more and more researchers and local Tibetans believe that the communities should participate more in the biodiversity conservation work in Sanjiangyuan, and more traditional knowledge about environmental protection should be recognised and incorporated into conservation practice.

 

 

Thermokarst [Photo/Xu Jian]

Thermokarst [Photo/Xu Jian]

Kiang [Photo/ Chen Youjun]

Kiang [Photo/ Chen Youjun]

 

In 2007, Shanshui Conservation Centre, a local environmental NGO, started a project with the help of Conservation International, in order to promote traditional environmental knowledge and practices. The projects aims to link local Tibetan communities with scientific community from outside Sanjiangyuan, and with mainstream Chinese society by organising conferences, meetings, tours, movie exhibitions, to bring together ecologists, anthropologists, monks, local herders, university students and so on, and build channels for communication. The Shanshui Conservation Centre also connected with higher-level policy makers through personal relationships. In the end, the Sanjianguan National Nature Reserve turned over the management and conservation works of some areas of the reserve to local Tibetan communities, under an agreement, in which conservation plans and monitoring indicators were clearly specified.

 

Community members display their conservation commitments and the benefits they receive through the Conservation Concession program [Photo/Shanshui Conservation Center]

Community members display their conservation commitments and the benefits they receive through the Conservation Concession program [Photo/Shanshui Conservation Center]

 

 

Although, from experiences of co-management schemes around the world, there is still a long way to go for the local communities to achieve fully successful conservation actions, this is already a good start. Let’s wish them good luck on the journey of conserving their homeland!

 

Monk giving offering [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

Monk giving offering [Photo/Peng Jiansheng]

 

 

(check this report for information of other community-based conservation works)

 

 

posted by u4780526

 

 

 

References

 

Foggin, M 2012, ‘Pastoralists and wildlife conservation in western China: collaborative management within protected areas on the Tibetan Plateau’, Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 2, no. 17, viewed 21 May 2014.

Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association 2005, Green community network – public participation of ecological environmental protection action plan, Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association, viewed 03 June 2013, (in Chinese).

Shen, X & Tan, J 2012 ‘Ecological conservation, cultural preservation, and a bridge between: the journey of Shanshui Conservation Center in the Sanjiangyuan region, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China’, Ecology and Society, viewed 21 May 2014.

Shi, Y, Baumann, F, Ma, Y, Song, C, Kuhn, P, Scholten, T & He, JS 2012, ‘Organic and inorganic carbon in the topsoil of the Mongolian and Tibetan grasslands: pattern, control and implications’, Biogeosciences, vol. 9, pp. 2287-2299.

 

 

Sources:

http://slide.news.sina.com.cn/green/slide_1_28436_27117.html#p=1

http://www.qhnews.com/newscenter/system/2009/11/23/010012492.shtml

http://www.snowleopard.org/observing-the-cats-interact

http://chinatibet.people.com.cn/96060/7293511.html

http://www.china.org.cn/travel/2013-03/06/content_28135757_3.htm

http://www.plateauperspectives.org/en/where/sanjiangyuan/

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/gallery/bbc-wildlife-camera-trap-photo-year-2013-winners

About these ads
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Biodiversity Conservation & Co-management in Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

  1. It’s fascinating to hear about conservation issues from different parts of the world. Phil

    • Thanks for your feedback Phil!
      When I posted it I was trying to put the information about photo source into the text boxes of “Title” “Alt Text” “Description” in “Add Media”, but none of them worked so I listed all the sources under references… But now I realise that all I need to do is just type it into the “Caption”. Sooo sorry for not adding the acknowledgement correctly in the first place.
      And I revised the layout as well. :)
      Cheers
      Tianchu

  2. Beautiful pictures! It is very nice to see how various groups of people can come together to solve problems and save wildlife. I am very happy to read your blog :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s