Key Indicators for Mekong Headwaters

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1. Diverse Ecosystems

This landscape is unique in a sense that it stretches almost 600km from north to south and covers a large variety of ecosystems, from the snowy alpine meadows of the Himalayas to the subtropical forests of Xishuangbanna.

2. Biodiversity Hotspot

The Mekong Headwaters harbours much of China's biodiversity, with Yunnan Province being designated a "Center of Plant Diversity" by IUCN and a "Global 200 List Priority Ecoregion" by WWF.

3. Hydropower Cascades

With Yunnan being considered a "water tower", the Upper Mekong Basin's hydropower potential is systematically realized to supply the east coast of China with energy.

4. Rubber Expansion

The southern part of the Mekong Headwaters has seen an unprecedented expansion of rubber plantations during the past 30 years. This has been at the expense of pristine forests and biodiversity and has also impacted the area's water regime.

5. Leveraging Tourism for Conservation

The eco- and ethno-tourism potential of this area is well recognized by local authorities and the protection of related natural assets (forest, ethnic villages) is increasingly reflected in their strategic planning processes.

6. Advanced Strategic Planning

In recent years, provincial authorities have spearheaded the integratation of environmental considerations into strategic planning processes, with Strategic Environmental Assessments now being mandatory and well-enforced.

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Quick Facts

People and economy

Indicator Year
Area of Transboundary Biodiversity Landscape (TBL) 200910,786,600 hectares
Area of Transboundary Biodiversity Landscape (TBL) 2009107,866
Population 201021,631,100 people
Population density (average) 2010201 people per
Population density (highest) 201044,491 people per

Environment and Natural Resources

Indicator Year
Protected Area 20097 percent of total TBL area
Protected Area perimeter 20092,810 km
Protected Area Compactness Index 20093 area / perimeter
Key Biodiversity Areas 200912 area(s)
Key Biodiversity Areas 20093,820
Key Biodiversity Areas 20094 percent of total TBL area

Energy, tourism and transport

Indicator Year
Major hydro-power dams 200912 existing dams
Major hydro-power dams 200945 planned dams
Tourism sites 200933 site(s)
Major tourism sites 20096 site(s)

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