The role of national policies and perspectives for the future of Tibetan herders, Qinghai Province, China
J Marc Foggin, PhD (October 2007)
Depopulating the Tibetan grasslands: The role of national policies and perspectives for the future of Tibetan herders, Qinghai Province, China
Tibetan grasslands constitute one of the most important grazing ecosystems in the world. Distributed widely across the high plains and mountains of the Tibetan plateau, these grasslands encompass the source areas of many major Asian rivers. Around 40 percent of the world’s population depends on, or is influenced by, these rivers. Tibetan grasslands also support a unique assemblage of flora and fauna with many rare and endemic species. A variety of government policies have been applied in recent years to protect the ecology and
biodiversity of China’s grasslands. There is growing concern, though, that national and global economic considerations have overshadowed emerging conservation agendas.
Additionally, the social dimensions of these policies deserve more attention than they have received to date. In this article, several key policies affecting pastoralists are critically reviewed, with special attention given to the Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai Province. Plateau Perspectives, an international NGO, has worked in this region for nearly a decade promoting a more people-centred approach to conservation and development, thus giving voice to local Tibetan pastoral communities.
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