Advertisement

AMBIO

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 566–576 | Cite as

Managing the Three-Rivers Headwater Region, China: From Ecological Engineering to Social Engineering

  • Yiping Fang
Perspective

Abstract

The three-rivers headwater region (THRHR) of Qinghai province, China plays a key role as source of fresh water and ecosystem services for central and eastern China. Global warming and human activities in the THRHR have threatened the ecosystem since the 1980s. Therefore, the Chinese government has included managing of the THRHR in the national strategy since 2003. The State Integrated Test and Demonstration Region of the THRHR highlights the connection with social engineering (focus on improving people’s livelihood and well-being) in managing nature reserves. Based on this program, this perspective attempts a holistic analysis of the strategic role of the THRHR, requirements for change, indices of change, and approaches to change. Long-term success of managing nature reserves requires effective combination of ecological conservation, economic development, and social progress. Thus, the philosophy of social engineering should be employed as a strategy to manage the THRHR.

Keywords

The three-rivers headwater National governance Ecological engineering Social engineering Strategic transformation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work received funding from the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2010CB 951704). We would like to thank William A. McNamara for kindly editing this manuscript. The author also gratefully acknowledges the necessary support by Prof. Ya Tang (Sichuan University) and candidate Ph.D Yanqiang Wei (Institute of Mountain Hazards & Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences).

References

  1. Adams, W.M. 1990. Green development: Environment and sustainability in the Third World. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Berkes, F., J. Colding, and C. Folke. 2000. Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10: 1251–1262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkes, F., J. Colding, and C. Folke. 2001. Linking social–ecological systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chang, G.G., F.X. Li, and L. Li. 2011.Wetland change and restoration in the three-river headwater region. Beijing: China Meteorological Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  5. Dianfa, Z., L. Fengquan, and B. Jianmin. 2000. Eco-environmental effect of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau uplift on the Quaternary of China. Environmental Geology 39: 1352–1358 (in Chinese).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dong, S.C., C.J. Zhou, and H.Y. Wang. 2002. Ecological crisis and countermeasures of the Three Rivers Headstream Regions. Journal of Natural Resource 17: 713–720 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  7. Fang, Y.P., Y. Zeng, and S.M. Li. 2005. Management philosophy and practices of habitats conservation for Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China. Wuhan University Journal of Natural Science 10: 730–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fang, Y.P., D.H. Qin, and Y.J. Ding. 2010. Changes in stress within grassland ecosystems in the three counties of the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Journal of Arid Land 2: 116–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fang, Y.P., D.H. Qin, and Y.J. Ding. 2011a. Frozen soil change and adaptation of animal husbandry: A case of the source regions of Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Environmental Science & Policy 14: 555–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fang, Y.P., D.H. Qin, Y.J. Ding, J.P. Yang, and K.Y. Xu. 2011b. The Impacts of permafrost change on NPP and implications: A case of the source regions of Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Journal of Mountain Science 8: 437–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fang, Y.P., D.H. Qin, M.Z. Deng, and Z.Q. Ge. 2012. Change and affecting element of grassland ecosystem in the source regions of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers based on sociological perspective. Arid Land Geography 35: 73–81 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  12. Foggin, J.M. 2011. Rethinking “ecological migration” and the value of cultural continuity: A response to Wang, Song and Hu. AMBIO 40: 100–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. GaDanCaiRang, and Z.M. Li. 2011. Pastoral areas ecological emigration review—With perspective of Sanjiangyuan National Preserve. Journal of Qinghai Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences) 33: 49–52 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  14. Guan, G.X. 2011. Studying on three-river source eco-immigrants subsistence issue. New Heights 30: 7–14 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  15. Harris, C. 2010. Rangeland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau: A review of the evidence of its magnitude and causes. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Information Office of the State Council. (IOSC). 2011. A white paper on The Socialist System of Laws with Chinese Characteristics. Retrieved 2 October, 2012, from http://english.qstheory.cn/resources/white_paper/2011/201110/t20111028120144.htm.
  17. Jin, H.J., R.X. He, G.D. Cheng, Q.B. Wu, S.L. Wang, L.Z. Lu, and X.L. Chang. 2009. Changes in frozen ground in the source area of the Yellow River on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China, and their eco-environmental impacts. Environmental Research Letter 4: 045206. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045206.
  18. Liu, M.C., D.Q. Li, and Y.M. Wen. 2005. The protection of biological diversity in the Sanjiangyuan Natural Reserve. Journal of Arid Land Resource Environment 19: 49–53 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  19. Luo, K.L., and Z.H. Yang. 2011. On the relationship between traditional Tibetan nomadic way and the safety of the sources of three great rivers in China. Journal of Jishou University (Social Sciences Edition) 32: 37–42 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  20. Ma, Y.S., Q.M. Dong, J.J. Shi, X.D. Sun, Y.L. Wang, L. Sheng, and S.H. Yang. 2008. Classification and control measure of “Black-soil-beach” degraded grassland in three river headwater region. Chinese Qinghai Journal of Animal and Veterinary Science 3: 1–3 (in Chinese).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mitsch, W.J., and S.E. Jorgensen. 1989. Introduction to ecological engineering. In Ecological engineering: An introduction to ecotechnology, ed. W.J. Mitsch, and S.E. Jorgensen, 3–12. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. National Congress of the Communist Party of China. (NCCPC). 2002. Build a well-off society in an all-round way and create a new situation in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Retrieved 24 March, 2011, from http://www.bjreview.com.cn/document/txt/2011-03/24/content_360557.htm.
  23. Qinghai Institute of Economic Research. 2008. Research report on implementation the scientific concept of development, promotion comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development. Qinghai Economic Research 6: 26–36 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  24. Rogers, K.S. 1997. Ecological security and multinational corporations. Environmental Change and Security Project (ECSP), Report 3a, 29–36. Retrieved 13 November 2003, from http://wwics.si.edu/topics/pubs/report3a.pdf.
  25. Romero, C., S. Athayde, J.E. Collomb, M. DiGiano, M. Schmink, S. Schramski, and L. Seales. 2012. Conservation and development in Latin America and Southern Africa: Setting the stage. Ecology and Society 17: 17. Retrieved 3 October, 2012, from http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04863-170217.
  26. Shang, Z.H., and R.J. Long. 2005. Formation reason and recovering problem of the “black soil type” degraded alpine grassland in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Chinese Journal of Ecology 24: 652–656 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  27. Shen, X.L., S. Li, N. Chen, S.Z. Li, W.J. McShea, and Z. Lu. 2012. Does science replace traditions? Correlates between traditional Tibetan culture and local bird diversity in Southwest China. Biological Conservation 145: 160–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shi, F.T., R.P. Ma, and Q. Chang. 2011. Survey of implementation on the returning grazing land to grassland program in the Three-River Headwater Region. Pruataculture and Animal Husbandry 8: 31–38 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  29. Statistical Bureau of Qinghai Province. 2011. Qinghai Statistical Yearbook -2010. Beijing: China Statistics Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  30. Timoshenko, A.S. 1989. Ecological security: The international aspect. Pace Environmental Law Review 7: 151–160. Retrieved 27 September, 2012, from http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol7/iss1/18.
  31. Wang, Z.M., K.S. Song, and L.J. Hui. 2010. China’s largest scale ecological migration in the Three-River Headwater Region. AMBIO 39: 443–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Xiao, T., J.B. Wang, and Z.Q. Chen. 2010. Vulnerability of grassland ecosystems in the Sanjiangyuan region based on NPP. Resource Science 32: 323–330 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  33. Xinhua. 2011. The Outline of the 12th Five-Year Program for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China. Retrieved 5 October 2012, from, http://www.asifma.org/pdf/PRC-12th-FYP.PDF.
  34. Zhang, L., and D.Y. Zhang. 2011. Relationship between ecological civilization and balanced population development in China. Energy Procedia 5: 2532–2535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhang, W., H.L. Li, and X.B. An. 2011. Ecological civilization construction is the fundamental way to develop low-carbon economy. Energy Procedia 5: 839–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zhang, Y.Y., S.F. Zhang, X.Y. Zhai, and J. Xia. 2012. Runoff variation in the three rivers source region and its response to climate change. Acta Geographica Sinica 67: 71–82 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  37. Zhao, X.Q. 2009. Alpine meadow ecosystem and global change. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  38. Zhao, X.Q., and H.K. Zhou. 2005. Eco-environmental degradation, vegetation regeneration and sustainable development in the headwaters of three rivers on Tibetan Plateau. Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences 20: 471–476 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  39. Zhou, H.K., X.Q. Zhao, C.Y. Zhang, X.F. Xing, B.W. Zhu, and F.C. Du. 2010. The predicament of ecological migrants and sustainable development strategy in the source area of three rivers. China Population Resource Environment 20: 185–188 (in Chinese).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Hazards & Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesChengduPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations