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Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas

Yunnan (Simplified Chinese: 云南; Traditional Chinese: 雲南; pinyin: Yúnnán; literally "south of the clouds") is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwestern corner of the country. Three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween run roughly parallel from north to south in the mountainous north-west of Yunnan Province.

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Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas Location

The Three Parallel Rivers National Park consists of eight geographical clusters of protected areas. The 1.7 million hectare site features sections of the upper reaches of three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween.

Yangtze, here known as the Jinsha Jiang (River of Golden Sands), drains the province's north.

The Mekong (Lancang) flows from Tibet into the South China Sea forming the boundaries between Laos and Myanmar, between Laos and Thailand, through Cambodia and Vietnam.

Salween flows into the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea through Myanmar.


Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas Attractions

The Three Parallel Rivers is evidence of an unmatched natural wonder, a geographical accident of the Himalayan orogeny that began 40 million years ago. The area is attractive with its rich tourism resources, including beautiful landscape, colorful ethnic customs, and a pleasant climate.

Multi-ethnic Group Culture

Due to the area's secluded geographical conditions, it is noted for a very high level of ethnic diversity. Yunnan has the highest number of ethnic groups among all provinces and autonomous regions in China. Among the country's 56 ethnic groups, 25 are found in Yunnan. Some 38.07% of the province's population are members of minorities including the Yi, Bai, Hani, Tai's, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu, Va, Nakhi, Yao, Tibetan, Jingpo, Blang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Jinuo, Mongolian, Derung, Manchu, Shui, and Buyei. Several other groups are represented, but they live neither in compact settlements nor do they reach the required threshold of 5,000 to be awarded the official status of being present in the province. Some groups, such as the Mosuo, who are officially recognised as part of the Naxi, have in the past claimed official status as a national minority, and are now recognised with the status of Mosuo people.

Ethnic groups are widely distributed in the province. Some 25 minorities live in compact communities, each of which has a population of more than 5,000. Ten ethnic minorities living in border areas and river valleys include the Hui, Manchu (the Manchu, remnants of the Qing administration, do not live in compact settlements and are in all respects indistinguishable from the Han), Bai, Naxi, Mongolian, Zhuang, Dai, Achang, Buyei and Shui, with a combined population of 4.5 million; those in low mountainous areas are the Hani, Yao, Lahu, Va, Jingpo, Blang and Jino, with a combined population of 5 million; and those in high mountainous areas are Miao, Lisu, Tibetan, Pumi and Drung, with a total population of 4 million.

An oft-repeated proverb tells the story of three brothers who were born speaking different languages: Tibetan, Naxi, and Bai. Each settled in different areas of Yunnan and Tibet, respectively, the high area, the middle area, and the low area.

An Ecological Microcosm

The area is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity.

Because most mountains lie from north to south and the Three Parallel Rivers area was not covered by the Quaternary glaciers it has become a main passage and sanctuary for biological species of the Eurasian Continent. The area contains more than 20 percent of higher plants and 25 percent of animal species of the country, including 77 species of endangered animals like the Yunnan golden monkey, the snow leopard, the antelope, the Bengali tiger, and the black-necked crane,etc.

 

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More on Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas

Description of Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas at the World Heritage Listing

Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas Photo Gallery

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