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Environmental Conservation in the Tibetan Plateau Region: Lessons for China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Mountains of Central Asia

1
Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia, Bishkek 720001, Kyrgyzstan
2
Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Abstract

Environmental conservation has developed significantly in China over the past 20 years, including more collaborative approaches and recent advances in establishing a national parks system. This study reviews the development of protected areas in the headwaters of the Yangtze River, drawing lessons from experiences of community development and co-management approaches. Community engagement and participation in developing localized plans for natural resource utilization and conservation have been critical features of successful ventures. Government programs and policies, the emergence of grassroots civil society, and the development of herders’ cooperatives and protected areas, are all tracked, each pointing towards the significant value of inclusive biodiversity conservation approaches for meeting broadly agreed development agendas, such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Observations from the vast, high, arid, and semi-arid lands of the Tibetan Plateau are then considered in light of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is bringing vast financial and technical resources to the world. Special attention is given to applying the lessons that have been learned in China to the mountains of Central Asia, globally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and a water tower for large downstream populations. Keeping local people at the heart of conservation is deemed fundamentally important. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; Tibetan Plateau; Sanjiangyuan region; social–ecological systems; pastoralism; partnerships; co-management; national parks; Belt and Road Initiative; mountains of Central Asia China; Tibetan Plateau; Sanjiangyuan region; social–ecological systems; pastoralism; partnerships; co-management; national parks; Belt and Road Initiative; mountains of Central Asia
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Foggin, J.M. Environmental Conservation in the Tibetan Plateau Region: Lessons for China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Mountains of Central Asia. Land 2018, 7, 52.

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