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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

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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