Tibet continues to make progress with biodiversity


A view of the Gang Spruce Forest Tourism Scenic Spot in Tibet's Bomi county. The forest was credited as one of China's 10 most beautiful by Chinese National Geography magazine in 2005. [Photo by He Penglei/For chinadaily.com.cn]

The Tibet autonomous region has seen a steady increase in recent years in the number of rare species unique to the region as it has placed half its land area under the strictest ecological supervision.

Benefiting from efforts to protect biodiversity, the region's wild yak population grew to more than 40,000 animals, an increase of 25,000 since 2003. The Tibetan antelope population has risen to more than 200,000 animals from the previous 80,000, and the Tibetan wild ass population has risen to nearly 90,000 from the previous 50,000, according to the Online Seminar on Ecological Environment Protection, which was held on Tuesday.

Five rare species have been discovered in recent years, and the number of Tibetan red deer, a species once listed as endangered in China, has now surpassed 10,000. Meanwhile, the numbers of other species, such as the Tibetan brown bear and wolf, also keep growing.

Tibet comprises the main body of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a region dubbed the "source of river and ecology" in Asia — "the starter and adjuster of the globe's climate" and "a key gene pool for global biodiversity," said Qi Zhala, chairman of the regional government, in a speech during the seminar.


A view of the natural environment in Tibet's Bomi county.[Photo by He Penglei/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Tibet has been emphasizing the importance of ecological protection — a tradition from the past — and it has been playing a crucial role in stabilizing the global climate, water supply and biodiversity, Qi said.

Lhachung, a professor of ecology at Tibet University, said the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the globe's biggest, highest-altitude, youngest plateau, and is known as the rooftop of the world.

"Low oxygen, low temperature, low air pressure, temperature upheaval, strong ultraviolet rays, wind, snow, and dry all describe the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau," Lhachung said.

"The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world. Taking the example of plant life, with 189 families, 1,500 categories and 15,000 species, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is one of China's places with the most modern plants."