Gov­ern­ment pro­tects 70% of Ti­bet from re­source ex­ploita­tion

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - By Zhang Hui Page Edi­tor: zhanghui@ glob­al­times.com.cn

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.

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