Human-induced changes to biodiversity and alpine pastureland in the Bayanbulak region of the East Tienshan mountains (2002)

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The Bayanbulak region, deep in the East Tienshan Mountains, is the southernmost and highest breeding area for swans anywhere in the world. As one of the few biodiversity hotspots in central Asia, it was listed in 1986 as a Chinese national swan nature reserve. The region is also the largest grazing area in Xinjiang as well as a tourist attraction. But in the last 25 years, the population of wild swans has decreased from about 20,000 to 2000, and approximately half of the pastureland now suffers from overgrazing and degradation. Moreover, the local government has been considering building a reservoir in the region. If this is done, the ecology of this region would be greatly altered, and almost all wild-swan habitats would disappear. The present study identifies alpine grassland types and concludes that it is urgent to protect the breeding areas of wild swans and control grassland degradation, and that any plan for reservoir construction should be rejected.
Year: 2002
Language: English
In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol.22, No. 4: 383-389 p.

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 Record created 2010-12-24, last modified 2013-01-17