Government protects 70% of Tibet from resource exploitation
A central government agency said it is banning the exploitation of over 800,000 square kilometers in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, 70 percent of the total region.
The State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on its website Friday that the regional government of Tibet has established 61 nature protection zones in 410,000 square kilometers. The region has rich resources of wild animals, plants and mineral products.
Hou Juzhi, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday that due to the fragile ecosystem in extremely cold conditions, unreasonable exploitation of resources, such as minerals, would greatly damage the local ecological environment.
Most of the areas protected from exploitation are wildlife conservation zones located in the northern and western parts of Tibet, Hou said.
Tibet’s ecological environment has been significantly improved. In the past decade, Tibet’s wetland areas have expanded by 520,000 hectares and desertified land has shrunk by 107,000 hectares. Meanwhile, the number of Tibetan antelopes has increased from 60,000 in 1995 to 200,000 today, and the number of Tibetan red deer, which was once believed to be extinct, now exceeds 1,000, the SFA said.
To better protect wild animals and plants, the regional government launched an ecological migration project for families living in altitudes above 4,500 meters, which includes relocating 130,000 people in three years, the SFA added.
“The migration project serves to improve the lives of local residents in very high altitudes, considering insufficient living resources and tough natural conditions. The project also makes way for wild animals, as most of them live above 4,500 meters,” Hou said.
In recent years, human activity, such as overgrazing, has also harmed Tibet’s ecosystem. To assess the changes caused by climate change and human activity, China in June began its second scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, according to Hou, who is a member of the expedition team.