The Upstream Region MA of the Great Rivers, Northwest Yunnan, China
This assessment will be conducted in the Great Rivers region, covering an area
of 60,000 km2 in Northwest Yunnan, China. This includes the headwaters of the
Irrawaddy river, Salween River, Lancang-Mekong River, Red River, and the
The Asian International Rivers center, Yunnan University.
Dr. Daming He
Professor and Director
Asian International Rivers Center
512 Science Hall
2 North Road of the Green Lake,
Kunming, Yunnan 650091
Key issues that will be addressed in this assessment are forest coverage
decrease, fragmentation of forest ecosystems, decreasing natural products from
forest ecosystems, biodiversity loss, the impacts of disasters, environmental
poverty, water pollution and supply and soil degradation.
Ecosystem services being assessed
Provisioning: timber, mushrooms, fuel, medicine, food, water.
Other services: soil erosion control, biodiversity, cultural.
Key features of assessment
The transition area from the Tibetan Plateau to the Yunnan Plateau represents
one of the world’s important biodiversity hotspots. There are 14 different
ethnic groups living in this region where there is a lot of poverty. There is a
difference of 6000m from the highest peak to the deepest gorge. Factors
contributing to the threats on the region:
60% of the land is in high mountain area (higher than 3,000m), cold and steep,
thin soil, plant growth and slow vegetation succession.
15% of the land is in hot and dry river valleys, with low vegetation coverage
and which is difficult to restore.
Large amount of the population lives low on the mountains and in valleys;
heavily exploit environmental resources.
Fragile ecosystem and biodiversity.
Un-suitable land and resource use methods.
All assessments and reports will be finished by the end of 2004. Funding is
being drawn from the development Planning Committee, the Forestry Department,
environment Protection Bureau of the government, The Nature Conservancy.