Tibet’s six rivers to plan 6.67 million hectares of afforestation

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Analysis from remote satellite sensors over Tibet shows that over the last 15 years, Tibet has continued to "become green".

According to data released by the Remote Sensing Application and Research Center of Tibet Autonomous Region, the total area of vegetation coverage from 2000-2014 was 20-80 percent, with a significant increase in recent years. Data shows that the region’s high vegetation coverage is mainly concentrated in southeastern Tibet; middle vegetation coverage is located in middle and southern Tibet; and low vegetation coverage is mainly located in northern Tibet, pastoral and uninhabited lands in northwestern Tibet. Analysis from remote satellite sensors shows that over the last fifteen years, areas of middle and high vegetation coverage in Tibet have increased more than eight percent.

In February this year, Tibet adopted the "Afforestation Plan near Six Rivers including the Yarlung Tsangpo, Ngulchu, Lhasa, Nyangchu, Yarlung and Sengye Khabap rivers (2014-2030) (hereafter referred to as the ‘Plan’)". According to the "Plan", within 17 years, Tibet will establish a forest ecological system covering the six rivers, and combing grasses, river system forests, farmland forest belts, green channels, and urban and rural forests.

The planning area of the six rivers will reach 335.97 million mu (224.09 million hectares), among which the afforestation area will reach 10.74 million mu (7.16 million hectares).

According to the Tibet Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Department, the number of livestock in Tibet was 4,195,900 sheep units less than the previous year at the end of 2013. The average volume of overgrazed grasslands decreased from the previous year by three percentage points.

Implementing grazing prohibitions is an important measure in naturally recovering the ecosystems in grasslands that have been overgrazed. In 2011, the Tibet Autonomous Region announced a five-year goal of grazing prohibitions, covering 10.6 percent of the region’s total grassland area.