Listed as a Natural Cultural Heritage Site in 2003 Location: Crossing Lijiang Prefecture, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunan Province, southwest China Best Time to Visit: Anytime
Located in the mountainous areas in the northwest part of Yunnan Province in China, the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a natural serial property consisting of 15 protected areas, grouped into eight clusters ranging 1.7 million hectares.
The areas feature a spectacular natural landscape exhibiting three rivers running approximately parallel north to south for some 170 km. The rivers are the Jinsha, Nujiang and Lancang, all originated from the Qinghai-tibet Plateau. At the nearest location, the Jinsha River is 66 km as the crow flies from the Lancang River whose shortest distance from Nujiang River is less than 19 km.
Located in the convergent regions of the world’s three major biogeographic realms, the site is in an epicenter of Chinese biodiversity. It contains an outstanding diversity of landscapes, such as deep-incised river gorges, luxuriant forests, towering snow-clad mountains, glaciers, and alpine karst, reddish sandstone landforms, lakes and meadows over vast vistas.
With its precious gene bank, the site has been acclaimed as being of world class importance. Though accounting for less than 0.4 percent of the area of the country, the region plays host to more than 20 percent of the country’s most important plant species and 25 percent of its animal species. Today the region is home to 77 animals under state-level protection including the Yunnan golden monkey, antelope, snow leopard, Bengali tiger and black-necked crane.