Office opened for upcoming national park in Northwest
Tourism and organic farming will be piloted in select areas of Sanjiangyuan, known as “Asia’s water tower”, following the launch of the administrative office for the country’s newest national park.
The administrative bureau of Sanjiangyuan National Park opened last week in Xining, capital of Northwest China’s Qinghai province.
It will take five years for the 123,000-square-km nature reserve, which was established in 2000, to be elevated to national park level.
Sanjiangyuan, on Southwest China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang-Mekong rivers.
Over the past decade, the reserve has received 9 billion yuan ($137 million) of government funding to rehabilitate its fragile ecosystem. Around 700,000 herdsmen and farmers have received compensation for loss of earnings due to ongoing ecological protection efforts.
“Over the years, ecological degradation has been basically curbed, which has helped conserve some 8 billion cubic meters of water and increased grass land by 30 percent,” said Li Xiaonan, director of the administrative bureau.
However, there are still problems, such as overlapping authorities, weak law enforcement, a lack of public awareness and a conflict between ecological protection and people’s need for higher incomes, he said.
Li said the administration bureau would develop tourism, organic farming and stockbreeding in certain areas to create employment opportunities.
To this end, test schemes will be carried out in four counties in Golog and Yushu prefectures as well as Hol Xil, covering a total of 123,000 square km, or 30 percent of the reserve.
Sanjiangyuan, on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang-Mekong rivers.