Advertisement

Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 105–115 | Cite as

Rangeland privatization and its impacts on the Zoige wetlands on the Eastern Tibetan Plateau

  • Yan Zhaoli Email author
  • Wu Ning 
Article

Abstract

The high Zoige Basin (Ruoergai Plateau) on the eastern Tibetan Plateau is a fault depression formed during intensive uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau. The wetland is globally important in biodiversity and is composed of marshes, bogs, fens, wet meadows and shallow water interspersed with low hills and sub-alpine meadows. Most of the Zoige wetlands have long been one of the most important grazing lands in China. Recent rangeland policy has allowed grazing, and usable wetland areas have been being legally allocated to individuals or groups of households on a long-term lease basis. Privatization of the wetland has impacted the Zoige wetlands in aspects of hydrologic condition, landscape and biodiversity. The uneven spatial distribution of water resources on private lands has led to the practice of extracting ground water, which has decreased the perched water table in Zoige. Fencing off the rangelands and grazing on expanding sand dunes have affected landscapes. Variation in the water table has led to the changes in vegetation diversity, resulting in the changes in wildlife and aquatic diversities and ecosystem processes. Making use all year round of the pasture that was previously grazed only in summer has shrunk the daily activity space of wildlife, and the newly erected fences blocked the movement of wild animals looking for food in the snow to lower and open areas. To maintain the favorable conditions of the Zoige wetland ecosystem, the author suggests that, in addition to biophysical research and implementation of conservation practices, there is an immediate need to initiate an integrated management program, increase public awareness of wetland functions and provide better training for the local conservation staff.

Keywords

Tibetan Plateau rangeland privatization Zoige (Ruoergai) wetland ecosystem integrity landscape biodiversity 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Banks, T.J. 2001. Property rights and the environment in pastoral China: evidence from the field.Development and Change 32(4): 717–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. CHAI, X. 1965.Marshes on the Zoige Plateau (in Chinese). Beijing. China Science Press.Google Scholar
  3. HE, C., and ZHAO, K. 1999. The conservation of wetlands biodiversity and their sustainable utilization in Zoige Plateau (in Chinese with English abstracts).Journal of Natural Resources 14(3): 239–244Google Scholar
  4. HO, P. 1996. Ownership and control in Chinese rangeland management since Mao: the case study of free-riding in Ningxia. Overseas Development Institute (ODI) pastoral development network set 39d. London, ISSN: 0951 1911. 0Google Scholar
  5. HO, P. 2001. Rangeland degradation in China revisited?The Journal of Development Studies 37(3): 99–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Keddy, P.A. 2000.Wetland Ecology Principles and Conservation. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Pp 614.Google Scholar
  7. LANG, H. and Zu, W., Jin, S. 1983.China’s Marshes (in Chinese). Jinan, Shandong Science Press. Pp 269Google Scholar
  8. Lehmkuhl, F. and LIU, S. 1997. Desertification of Zoige Basinin the northeastern Tibetan Plateau (in Chinese with English abstracts).Mountain Research (shandi yanjiu) 15(2): 119–123Google Scholar
  9. LIU, B. and JIANG, Z. 2002. Impacts of grassland fencing on plant communities and conservation of a rare gazelle, the Przewalski’s gazelle (in Chinese with English abstracts).Biodiversity Science 10(3): 326–331Google Scholar
  10. McNamee, P. 2003. Management plan for Ruoergai national nature reserve, report to GEF/UNDP-PR/98G32 Wetland biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in China.Google Scholar
  11. Mitsch, W.J. and Gosselink, J.G. 2000.Wetlands (3rd). New York, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Pp 920Google Scholar
  12. Miller, D. 1998. Fields of Grass: Pastoralists of the pastoral landscape and nomads of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  13. Richard, C. 2000. Rangeland Policies in the eastern Tibetan Plateau: impacts of China’s Grassland Law on pastoralism and the landscape. In ICIMODIssues in Mountain Development 4: 1–6Google Scholar
  14. Scott, D.A. 1993. The balck-necked cranes Grus nigricollis of Ruoergai Marshes, Sichuan, China.Bird Conservation International 3(3): 245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sichuan Wildlife Resource Investigation Conservation and Management Station (SWRICMS), and Sichuan Institute of Forestry (SIF). 1997. A comprehensive survey report on Sichuan Xiaman Nature Reserve (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  16. Sneath, D. 1998. State policy and pasture degradation in inner Asia.Science 281: 1145–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. TANG, M. 1992. Tibetan Plateau is the initiating zone of climate change. In the proceedings of the first academic workshop of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Association. Beijing, China: Science Press. Pp 42–48Google Scholar
  18. TANG, M., and BAI, C., LIU, X. 1998. Recent climate change in the plateau (in Chinese with English abstracts). In: TANG, M., CHENG, G., and LIN, Z. (eds.) Contemporary climate variations over Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau and their influences on environments. Guang zhou, Guangdong Science Press. Pp 123–143Google Scholar
  19. WANG, Y. and WANG, S., XIA, W. 1995. Sedimentary mineralogy and environment interpretation of core RH from Zoige Basin (in Chinese with English abstract). In: Qinghai-Tibet Project Experts Committee (ed.) Formation, Evolvement, Environmental Variance, and Ecosystem Research of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Academic thesis annual (1994). Beijing, Science Press. Pp 354Google Scholar
  20. WU, N. 1997. Indigenous knowledge and sustainable approaches for the maintainance of biodiversity in nomadic society: experiences from the eastern Tibetan Plateau.DIE ERDE,128:67–80Google Scholar
  21. WU, N. and Richard, C. 1999. The privatization process of rangeland and its impacts on the pastoral dynamics in the Hindu Kush Himalaya: the case study of western Sichuan, China. In: Eldridge D. and Freudenberger D. (eds.),People and Rangelands. Proceedings of VI International Rangelands Congress. Townsville, Australia, Pp 14–21Google Scholar
  22. WU, N. and YAN, Z. 2002. Climate variability and social vulnerability on the Tibetan plateau. Erkunde56: 1–14Google Scholar
  23. YAN, Z. and LUO, G., WU, N. 2002. A probe into the pastoral production system in the eastern Tibetan Plateau, China. Third International Congress on Yak. Lhasa, September 4–9. 2000. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Adis Ababa. Pp 564Google Scholar
  24. YAN, Z. and WU Ning, Richard C. 2003. Nomadic people should be the major concern of grassland policy. In: Richard, C. (ed.)Changing Face of Pastoralism in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya Tibetan Plateau Highlands: Forging a Sustainable Path for the Future. ICIMOD, Kathmandu. Volume I: workshop proceedings.Google Scholar
  25. YANG, Y. 1999. Ecological environment deterioration, mire degeneration and their formation mechanism in the Zoige Plateau (in Chinese with English abstract).Journal of mountain Science (shandi xuebao) 17(4): 318–323Google Scholar
  26. ZHAO, Z. and YANG, Y., YANG, F.et al. 1995. A study on the flora of peatery swamp plants in Hongyuan, Sichuan, China (in Chinese with English abstracts).Journal of Wuhan Botanical Research 13(1): 30–36Google Scholar
  27. ZHAO, Z. 1996. Study of communities of aquatic vascular plants in Hongyuan County of Sichuan Province. Journal of Wuhan Botanical Research14(3): 213–222Google Scholar
  28. ZHONG, D. 1996. Studies on the process and mechanism of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau uplift (in Chinese with English abstracts).China Science 26(4): 289–296Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Moutain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Science Press 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.from Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChina
  2. 2.International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICLMOD)China
  3. 3.Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChina

Personalised recommendations