Three Parallel Rivers

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Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas map01.png
Location of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas indicated by a red circle
Location Yunnan, China
Criteria Natural: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Reference 1083bis
Inscription2003 (27th Session)
Extensions2010
Coordinates 27°53′42″N98°24′23″E / 27.89500°N 98.40639°E / 27.89500; 98.40639
China Yunnan location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Three Parallel Rivers in Yunnan
China edcp relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Three Parallel Rivers (China)

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (Chinese :云南三江并流; pinyin :Yúnnán Sānjiāng Bìngliú) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China. It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Jinsha (Yangtze), Lancang (Mekong) and Nujiang (Salween) rivers, in the Yunnan section of the Hengduan Mountains. [1]

Contents

Overview

Meili Xue Shan--Meili Snow Mountains, in Yunnan Protected Area. Meili Snow Mountains - R0010879.jpg
Meili Xue Shan—Meili Snow Mountains, in Yunnan Protected Area.

Geography

The protected areas extend over 15 core areas, totalling 939,441.4 ha, and buffer areas, totalling 758,977.8 ha across a region of 180 km by 310 km. Here, for a distance of over 300 km, three of Asia's great rivers run roughly parallel to one another though separated by high mountain ranges with peaks over 6,000 meters. After this area of near confluence, the rivers greatly diverge: the Nujiang River becomes Salween and empties out at Moulmein, Burma, into the Indian Ocean, the Lancang becomes the Mekong and south of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, empties out into the South China Sea and the Yangtze flows into the East China Sea at Shanghai. Selected nature reserves and places of scenic beauty in this unique region were collectively awarded World Heritage Site status in 2003 for their very rich biodiversity and outstanding topographical diversity.

Running parallel to these three rivers, slightly to the west, is the river gorge of the N'Mai River, the main tributary to the Irrawaddy River. About 100 kilometers to the west and northwest is the watershed of the Lohit River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra River and the greater Ganges-Brahmaputra system. Thus, in this unique mountainous region, adjacent headwaters feed five of the most significant continental rivers; from east to west, they are: Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, and the Ganges-Brahmaputra. They are all among the top 15 rivers in Asia by volume or length.

Biology

In its description, UNESCO mentions: "(It) may be the most biologically diverse temperate region on earth" and "An exceptional range of topographical features - from gorges to karst to glaciated peaks -- is associated with the site being at a 'collision point' of tectonic plates".

Due to its topography and geographical location, the Three Parallel Rivers region contains many climate types. Average annual precipitation ranges from 4,600 mm in the Dulongjian area in the west of Gongshan county to 300 mm in the upper valleys of the Yangtze river. The protected areas are home to around 6,000 species of plants, 173 species of mammals, and 417 species of birds. Many of the flora and fauna species are endemic to the region.

Culture

The Three Parallel Rivers has been acknowledged as a natural World Heritage Site. Demographically, the region contains many of the twenty-five ethnic groups found in Yunnan province (including the Derung, the smallest of all of China's minority groups). Other minorities found in this region include the Tibetan people, the Nu people, the Lisu, the Bai, the Pumi and the Naxi. Many of these minorities still use traditional costumes as their normal daily attire.

In the same region as the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas lies the Old Town of Lijiang, which is also a World Heritage Site in its own right.

Nu Jiang Cong Yuan Fang Zou Lai where River Nu originates (543159679).jpg
Nu River (Salween)
Lan Cang Jiang Lancang River (485606714).jpg
Lancang River (Mekong)
Jin Sha Jiang upper Yangtze River (437149366).jpg
Jinsha River (Yangtze)

Protected areas

The upper reaches of the Yangtze River, bearing north having just emerged from the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Yangzi River - by Peter Morgan.jpg
The upper reaches of the Yangtze River, bearing north having just emerged from the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas consists of fifteen protected areas, in eight geographic clusters. The areas include:

Flora and fauna

A herd of takin in Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County C.the takin herd.jpg
A herd of takin in Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County

According to UNESCO "The area covered by the World Heritage site is claimed to be the most biodiverse and least disturbed temperate ecosystems in the world".

Flora

The protected terrestrial ecoregion areas of this biodiversity hotspot are for a large part covered with both temperate coniferous and broadleaf forests. The protected areas are home to around 6,000 species of plants, many of which are endemic to the region. More than 200 varieties of rhododendron and more than 100 species of gentians and primulas are found in the areas.

Fauna

The fauna found in the areas includes 173 species of mammals, of which 81 are endemic, and 417 species of birds, of which 22 are endemic. Some of the mammals which inhabit these regions are the endemic black snub-nosed monkey, the Indian leopard, snow leopard, and clouded leopard; the Gaoligong pika, Gongshan muntjac, Chinese shrew mole, and capped langur; the stump-tailed macaque, Asiatic wild dog, black musk deer, and takin; the smooth-coated otter, hoolock gibbon, Asian black bear and red panda.

Rare bird species in the areas include chestnut-throated partridge, the Lady Amherst's pheasant, white-eared pheasant, Yunnan nuthatch, and giant nuthatch; the white-speckled laughingthrush, ferruginous duck, Severtzov's grouse, and brown-winged parrotbill; the Ward's trogon, black-necked crane and Verreaux's monal-partridge.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yangtze</span> Longest river in Asia

The Yangtze or Yangzi is the longest river in Eurasia, the third-longest in the world, and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains of the Tibetan Plateau and flows 6,300 km (3,915 mi) in a generally easterly direction to the East China Sea. It is the fifth-largest primary river by discharge volume in the world. Its drainage basin comprises one-fifth of the land area of China, and is home to nearly one-third of the country's population.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mekong</span> Major river in Southeast Asia

The Mekong or Mekong River is a trans-boundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia. It is the world's twelfth-longest river and the third-longest in Asia with an estimated length of 4,909 km (3,050 mi) and a drainage area of 795,000 km2 (307,000 sq mi), discharging 475 km3 (114 cu mi) of water annually. From its headwaters in the Tibetan Plateau, the river runs through Southwest China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam. The extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of rapids and waterfalls in the Mekong make navigation difficult. Even so, the river is a major trade route between Tibet and Southeast Asia. The construction of hydroelectric dams along the Mekong in recent decades causes serious problems for the river's ecosystem, including the exacerbation of drought.

Three Rivers may refer to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yunnan</span> Province in Southwest China

Yunnan is a landlocked province in southwestern China. The province spans approximately 394,000 km2 (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 48.3 million. The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, autonomous regions of Guangxi, and Tibet as well as Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Yunnan is China's fourth least developed province based on disposable income per capita in 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salween River</span> Major river in Southeast Asia

The Salween is a Southeast Asian river, about 3,289 kilometres (2,044 mi) long, flowing from the Tibetan Plateau south into the Andaman Sea. The Salween flows primarily within southwest China and eastern Myanmar (Burma), with a short section forming the border of Burma and Thailand. Throughout most of its course, it runs swiftly through rugged mountain canyons. Despite the river's great length, only the last 90 km (56 mi) are navigable, where it forms a modest estuary and delta at Mawlamyine. The river is known by various names along its course, including Thanlwin in Burma and Nu Jiang in China. The commonly used spelling "Salween" is an anglicisation of the Burmese name dating from 19th-century British maps.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shangri-La City</span> County-level city in Yunnan, China

Shangri-La is a county-level city in northwestern Yunnan, China. It is the capital and largest city of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is bordered by the city of Lijiang to the south and the province of Sichuan to the northwest, north, and east.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wuyi Mountains</span> Mountain range in China

The Wuyi Mountains or Wuyishan are a mountain range located in the prefecture of Nanping, in northern Fujian province near the border with Jiangxi province, China. The highest peak in the area is Mount Huanggang at 2,158 metres (7,080 ft) on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi, making it the highest point of both provinces; the lowest altitudes are around 200 metres (660 ft). Many oolong and black teas are produced in the Wuyi Mountains, including Da Hong Pao and lapsang souchong, and are sold as Wuyi tea. The mountain range is known worldwide for its status as a refugium for several rare and endemic plant species, its dramatic river valleys, and the abundance of important temples and archeological sites in the region, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiger Leaping Gorge</span> River canyon in China

Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River. It is located 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Lijiang City, Yunnan in southwestern China. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hengduan Mountains</span> Mountain range in southwest China

The Hengduan Mountains are a group of mountain ranges in southwest China that connect the southeast portions of the Tibetan Plateau with the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. The Hengduan Mountains are primarily large north-south mountain ranges that effectively separate lowlands in northern Myanmar from the lowlands of the Sichuan Basin. These ranges are characterized by significant vertical relief originating from the Indian subcontinent's collision with the Eurasian Plate, and further carved out by the major rivers draining the eastern Tibetan Plateau. These rivers, the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salween, are recognized today as the Three Parallel Rivers UNESCO World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kawagarbo</span> Highest mountain in Yunnan, China

Kawa Garbo or Khawa Karpo, as it is known by local residents and pilgrims, or Kawagebo Peak, is the highest mountain in the Chinese province of Yunnan. It is located on the border between Dêqên County, Yunnan, and the counties of Zogang and Zayü of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It rises about 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Shengping (升平镇), the seat of Dêqên County, which lies on China National Highway 214. What is now Dêqên County has been part of Yunnan since the 1720s, when the current border with Tibet was established by the early Qing Dynasty. Kawagarbo is one of the most sacred peaks in the Tibetan world and is often referred to as Nyainqênkawagarbo to show its sacredness and avoid ambiguousness with the other Kawagarbo in the Anung-Derung-speaking Gongshan County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau</span> Highland region located in southwest China

The Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau or Yungui Plateau is a highland region located in southwest China. The region is primarily spread over the provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou. In the southwest, the Yungui is a true plateau with relatively flatter highland areas, while in the northeast, the Yungui is a generally mountainous area of rolling hills, gorges, and karst topography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Potatso National Park</span> National park in Yunnan, China

Potatso National Park or Pudacuo National Park is a 1,300-square-kilometre (500-square-mile) national park located in Shangri-La County, Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China. The park was announced on June 25, 2007, and is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards. It incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region. As such they are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jinsha River</span> Chinese river, part of the Yangtze

The Jinsha River or Lu river, is the Chinese name for the upper stretches of the Yangtze River. It flows through the provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan in western China. The river passes through Tiger Leaping Gorge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fugong County</span> County in Yunnan, China

Fugong County is a county located in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, in the west of Yunnan province, China, bordering Myanmar's Kachin State to the west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County</span> Autonomous county in Yunnan, China

Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County is an autonomous county located in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, in the northwest of Yunnan province, China. It has an area of 4,506 km2 (1,740 sq mi) and a population of about 37,894 according to the 2010 Census. The county government is stationed in Cikai Town

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lanping Bai and Pumi Autonomous County</span> Autonomous county in Yunnan, China

Lanping Bai and Pumi Autonomous County is located in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province, China.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gaoligong Mountains</span> Mountain range in Asia

The Gaoligong Mountains are a mountainous sub-range of the southern Hengduan Mountain Range, located in the western Yunnan highlands and straddling the border of southwestern China and northern Myanmar (Burma).

The Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve (GNNR) is a protected area comprising the Gaoligong Mountains and the nearby Nu Jiang Reserve in the western Yunnan Province of China, near the international border with Burma. It covers a vast stretch of the junction of Baoshan City, Tengchong, and Lushui County, towards the west side of Nu (Salween) River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nujiang Lancang Gorge alpine conifer and mixed forests</span> Ecoregion in Southwestern China

The Nujiang Lancang Gorge alpine conifer and mixed forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion in Southwest China and northeastern Myanmar. The forests cover mountains and valleys in the western Hengduan Mountains and because of the extreme topography and relative remoteness, remain one of the best preserved habitats in China.

References

  1. UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2016. "Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas". World Heritage List. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  2. "Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, China". Eoearth.org. 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2012-11-07.