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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve corresponds to the Qomolangma National Nature Reserve. It consists of the northern part of the massif of Mount Everest in the southwest corner of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the border region between the Tibetan, China and Nepal biogeographical realms. It extends from the border with Nepal in the south, to the watershed between the Yaluzangbu River and the southern regions of Tibet in the north. Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve is highest altitude biosphere reserve in the world. The Biosphere Reserve aims to protect its extremely rare alpine ecosystems and plateau landscapes, geological vestiges as well as the Tibetan history and culture.

The most characteristic feature of this Biosphere Reserve is the Qomolangma, (referring to Mount Everest in the Tibetan language), with an elevation of 8848 m, which is the highest mountain in world. The area includes humid alpine ecosystems in the southern part, and semi-arid plateau shrub grassland ecosystem in the northern parts Other ecosystems such as lakes, wetland marshes, blowing sand ecosystems and others are also found in the area. Two kinds of glaciers can be found - the oceanic glacier in the southern region and the continental glacier in the northern region.

There are about 10 nationally protected plant species, such as Alcimandra cathcartii, Himalayan yew (Taxus wallichiana), and Himalayan spruce (Picea smithiana), and 33 nationally protected animal species such as the endemic snow leopard (Panthera uncia), Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), Hanuman (or common, gray) langur (Presbytis entellus).

There are 14,660 families living within the Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve, with a population size of 83,326 (as of 2004). They are mainly of Tibetan origin and live in the transition area. Economic activities include traditional agriculture and forestry, livestock raising and border trade. The human culture and historical vestiges in the area include the Rongbu Temple, which is the highest temple in world, the Chagadasuo Temple, which was built in the 8th-9th century, and the Riwu Ancient Great Wall. The Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve Management Bureau runs the site: the Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve Coordinating Committee ensures links with the different agencies in the different countries and townships, and also with the Tibet Autonomous Region Forestry Office.
  Major ecosystem type   mixed Mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Humid Montane Forest on southern Himalayas: Alpine subtropical evergreen/semi-evergreen broadleaf forest and evergreen coniferous forest characterized by Castanopsis hystrix, Machilus yunnanensis var. tibetana, Cyclobalanopsis xizangensis etc.; Subalpine cold temperate evergreen coniferous and deciduous broadleaf forest with Abies spectabilis, Tsuga dumosa, Quercus semecarpifolia, etc.; Alpine sub-frigid belt scrub meadow dominated by Rhododendron campanulatum, R. wightii, R. nivale, etc.; Alpine subnival ecosystem with Kobresia pygmaea, K. deasyi, K. persica, etc.; Alpine nival ice and snow ecosystem.

Plateau semi-arid scrub grassland ecosystem: Alpine subfrigid belt scrub grassland ecosystem with Stipa purpurea, Orinus thoroldii, A. younghusbandii, etc.; Alpine subfrigid meadow ecosystem characterized by Kobresia pygmaea, K. prainii, Carex montis-everestii etc.; Alpine nival ecosystem; Alpine nival ice and snow ecosystem.
  Location   2448' to 2919'N; 8427' to 8810'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   1,823,591
  Core area(s)   1,032,485
  Buffer zone(s)   625,493
  Transition area(s) when given   165,613
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +1440 to +8848
  Year designated   2004
  Administrative authorities   Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve, reporting to Chinese National Forestry Agency, Tibet Autonomous Region Forestry Office
  Brief description   : The core areas have been established to protect the original vegetation types and ecosystems. The endangered mammals and their habitats, plants, geographical remnants and historic relics have also been considered. Due to the effects of the warm and moist air stream from the Indian Ocean on the Himalayas, the forest ecosystem types are very different in Pengqu, Rongxaqu, Boqu, Gyirongzangbu and Dougeerhe (from east to west). Therefore, five core areas have been selected respectively in the above regions. Due to the effects of the rain shadow of the Himalayas, the high elevation, cold and dry climate, the principle part of the Biosphere Reserve has a typical plateau continental climate. Two core areas has been selected in this kind of ecosystem, namely Qomolangma core area and Xixabangma core area. The buffer zones have been designed to protect the core areas from disturbance from human activities, giving enough room for the mammals. In these areas, many kinds of ecosystem also need conservation. Scientific research and monitoring, environmental education and ecotourism can be carried out here. The transition areas are designed to consider both the development needs of the local communities and the need for conservation.

Climatology monitoring and research; Plant research; Species inventorying; Protection measurements for rare and endangered fauna and flora species; Programme on socio-economic aspects.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Biotechnology, conservation, fauna, flora, plants, rare/endangered/threatened species, species inventorying/inventory.
  Socio-economic   Social/Socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Pu Qiong
Qomolangma National Level Nature Reserve
No. 19, Rikaze Shandong Rd., Lasa City
857000 Tibet Autonomous Region
  Telephone   (86-892) 882 1847
(86-892) 882 2475
  Fax   (86-892) 882 1847
(86-892) 882 3746

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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