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River-source project a success

CHINA has achieved results in the ecological conservation program for the sources of the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River, a local conservation official said yesterday.

China's largest ecological conservation program mainly covers three Tibet autonomous prefectures, Yushu, Huangnan and Golog, in the southern part of northwestern China's Qinghai Province, said Li Xiaonan, deputy head of the Qinghai office of river sources conservation program.

The program, which began in 2005, is made up of 22 sub-projects, including eco-conservation to infrastructure construction to improve production and the quality of life for local farmers and herdsmen, Li said.

From 2005 to the end of May this year, 2.26 billion yuan (US$330.9 million) was pumped into the program, Li said. The program's total cost was estimated at 7.5 billion yuan.

The investment has funded grazing bans, pasture conservation projects, inhabitant resettlements and erosion control, Li added.

Remote sensing analysis shows that at the three river sources, pastures increased by 182.75 square kilometers, the area of water systems and wetlands expanded by 43.21 square kilometers and area of desert land decreased by 200.84 square kilometers, Li said.

There are now more than 40,000 Tibetan gazelles,15,000 more than that 10 years ago. The number of asinus kiang and blue sheep has increased to 30,000 and 7,000, respectively - 2,000 and 4,800 more than 10 years earlier.

Known as the "water tower" for Asia, the areas are located in the hinterland of Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

Covering a total area of 363,000 square kilometers with an average altitude of 4,000 meters, the areas are habitats for many rare and endangered animal species, including Tibetan antelope, yak and snow leopard.


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