Critical Places and Species

Yangtze River Basin

The Yangtze River, the mother river of China, provides water to one-third of Chinese population and shelters giant panda with forests as the sole wild refuge.
The giant panda is not only a national treasure for China, but is also a worldwide symbol for species conservation. The Upper region of Yangtze River, home to the giant panda, has been named one of the 35 priority places in “WWF Global 200 ecoregions” for its high biodiversity. Giant panda conservation efforts protect entire ecosystems inhabited by many different species. The successful lessons and experiences gained from giant panda conservation can be applied to species conservation efforts worldwide.

WWF started its conservation of the giant panda and its habitat in China when it was invited by the Chinese government as the first non-governmental organization in 1980. Under the support of China's Forestry Department (now the State Forestry Administration) and WWF, many well-known experts of the animals and plants at home and abroad in the field opened a giant panda research the mystery of life for the first time, and in-depth study of giant panda protection laid a solid foundation.

In nearly 30 years of conservation work, WWF along with SFA and other relevant departments together, through the financing to research, the grass-roots conservation and management staff training, such as the effective management of protected areas, dynamic monitoring, protection and development of an integrated demonstration projects and other work to promote the effective protection of giant pandas.

WWF recently launched "The Green Heart of China – Integrated Landscape Conservation and Sustainable Development in Giant Panda Ranges in the Upper Reaches of theYangtze River" project in order to ensure that all of China’s giant panda habitats are integrated into a protected network.

The Middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River is China's largest wetland ecosystem, has four important international wetlands, where the major China's well-known fresh water lake Poyang Lake and Dongting Lake in. It has the richest China's wetland resources, is also important winter-sites for migratory birds in Asia. It was classified as World Wetlands and the protection of biodiversity hot spots. In this region, WWF is committed to long-term conservation task through a variety of promotional activities raising everyone's awareness of environmental protection. With the support of WWF, the Bird-watching Competition in Dongting Lake has been held for four years constantly, which becomes China's largest Bird-watching Event of enthusiasts.

The Middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River once had more than 350 kinds of birds, more than 600 kinds of aquatic plants and more than 400 different kinds of fish. Currently, the Yangtze River basin’s biodiversity is gradually disappearing. The Yangtze River Dolphin is facing the fate of extinction and the Finless Porpoise population is rapidly declining. Strengthening the Yangtze River habitat is a top priority for WWF in the future.

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Amur-Heilong Ecoregion

Vast forest, the most natural and diversified region in the Eastern Hemisphere, last refuge fo the Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard.
Amur Tiger lives in the mountainous conifer forests of Northeast China, Southeast Russia and North Korea. Unfortunately, there are only about 500 of these magnificent tigers left in the world, with less than 20 in China. We can help save this critically endangered specie from extinction by protecting its habitats in Heilongjiang province and south Jilin province, where still maintain great amount of appropriate habitat for the tigers.

Amur tiger plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy eco-system. Its survival requires quite a large area of forest and vegetation, a certain density of preys and a sound surrounding social environment. Therefore, the Amur tiger is just like an “umbrella”, by conserving the natural habitat of the Amur tiger, some of the world’s most biologically diverse forests will be protected. By developing the Changbaishan Landscape Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, WWF will cooperate with the SFA to enlarge the protected area, establish a monitoring and patrolling system as well as raise awareness about tiger conservation.

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Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau is one of the world’s most complex and intact alpine ecoregins.
The Tibetan Plateau is the highest and largest plateau on earth. It shelters a wide array of unique species, including the Tibetan Antelope, Snow Leopard, and Black-necked Crane and so on. The Tibetan Plateau is also the source of almost all of Asia's major rivers: the Yellow River, the Yangtze, the Mekong, and so on. Because of its high elevation, the ecosystem here is extremely fragile. Once damaged, it is extremely difficult to reverse.

Big cat products have become the most popular goods of the illicit trade in the Himalayan region due to increasing market demands. This illegal trade and consumption has lead to poaching. Today poaching threatens the survival of many of Asian big cats. In order to save the Snow Leopard and other Asian big cats, WWF is conducting policy research as well as market surveys in Tibet.

In addition, WWF is conducting an extensive survey on Human Wildlife Conflict in the Changtang Region of Tibet. In the future, WWF will make further effort to study and protect the Snow Leopard.

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Upper Mekong Ecoregion

River from Tibetan Plateau provide water to over 60 million people and nearly 100 distinct ethnic groups.
This valley has the most abundant biological resources, and is the most populated region in Yunnan Province. The Xishuang Banna basin is home to Asian Elephants, Gibbons, and many other tropical species.

In recent years, the rapid economic development projects (roads, mining and hydropower development, etc.) of Yunnan Province are bringing some unexpected environmental problems. In order to save the biodiversity of this region, WWF is committed to start the protection in Lancang River Basin.

Since 1998, WWF has undertaken a series of conservation actions in Yunnan’s Baima Snow Mountain National Nature Reserve. WWF has gone to great lengths to protect the Black Snub-nose Monkey, Snow Leopard, Asiatic Black Bear, Chinese Yew, as well as other rare and endangered species.
Through environmental education workshops, WWF has worked hard to protect the the Napahai Nature Reserve’s Black-necked Cranes.

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Yellow Sea Ecoregion

One of the 43 marne ecoregions in the Global 200, which encompasses the most distinctive examples of the five major marine habitat types, from polar seas to tropical coral reefs.
The Yellow Sea Ecoregion (YSE) is home to a rich biodiversity including 280 species of fish and 500 species of invertebrates and has been a source of nutrients to coastal people for thousands of years. However, it is also one of the world’s most heavily disturbed ecoregions of its kind as ecological environment has deteriorated steeply due to human activities, over fishing and pollution over the decades.

WWF launched its initiative to conserve the YSE’s biodiversity in 2002 together with partners from China, Japan and Republic of Korea. The Yellow Sea Ecoregion Biological Assessment Fact Sheets and Reports (BA) containing information on indicator species distribution from six taxonomic groups will be completed to lay the foundation for future site-based conservation projects.

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