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10:08 Dec 31 2009

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Sanjiangyuan: Gene bank of rare species (2)
10:07, December 31, 2009  

An area with primitive, weak ecosystem


PHoto shows the dusk view of the headquater area of the Yangtze River. (Xinhua Photo)


Local wildlife features abundant species but a small population. Once a species becomes extinct in the area, the entire ecological balance of the reserve will be broken and existence of other related species are likely to be threatened, Zhang said.

Such a crisis is not unusual in Sanjiangyuan. Take the rat scourge for example.

For a period of time, Zhiduo and Quma counties in Qinghai's Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture were worst-hit by this scourge, resulting in a drop in the vegetation amount and occurrence of new sandstorm sources.

"Fortunately, following years of our efforts, the scourge has been effectively controlled and ecology has been restored," Zhang said.

"The decreasing number of vegetarians will definitely affect the survival of carnivores. Plus the harsh climate there, animal and plant resources cannot be restored within a short term. Consequently, ecosystem is likely to be imbalanced and various natural disasters will crop up from time to time," Zhang expressed his worry.

"In recent years, imparted by the global warming, glaciers and the snowline on mountains have been retreating faster and faster annually. Many lakes and wetlands have shrunk or even dried up resulting from less water supply. More swamplands are gone, leaving an arid and bare peat bed only. The ecological environment has become very vulnerable."

Removing enclosures and returning a free world to wild animals

Pursued in the early 1980s in pastoral areas was a policy under which pasture output quotas were set on an individual household basis. Many herders enclosed their pastures with fences in order not to be disturbed by wild animals.

"Such enclosures blocked up wildlife's passages. As their habitats were divided into several parts, they had to live separately with one another in the same species. Thus, they became much less immune to diseases and natural disasters."

After the reserve was set up, enclosures on grasslands were removed, offering more spaces for wildlife. "Their population size has expanded and quality has improved. Our protection of the area's bio-diversity is based on such a philosophy that humans should live in harmony with the nature."

"Only if we raise our awareness of eco-environment protection, can the diversification of species in Sanjiangyuan area be realized," Zhang added.

Since April 13, a campaign to raise the public's environmental protection awareness has been conducted in schools in the province's capital of Xining, and Yushu and Golak Tibetan autonomous prefectures.

The reserve's Administration has also signed agreements with local herders, encouraging them to join the campaign on eco-environmental protection.

"What we have been doing is a contribution to all human beings," said Zhang.  

Source: Xinhuanet
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