Issues to Sanjiangyuan Area
According to the report, after long-term ecological protection, the degradation trend of the three-river source ecosystem has been initially alleviated, but the overall degradation trend of the regional ecological environment has not been fundamentally curbed. The problems of grassland degradation, land desertification, soil erosion, and ice and snow melting are still very prominent.
The degradation is caused by infrastructure construction, illegal mining, and growing human activities of poaching, and overgrazing. The ecosystem in Sanjiangyuan is fragile and very sensitive to climate change.
Multiple administrations and plans
Under the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Nature Reserves (2017 Revision), the State shall institute a system that combines integrated management with separate departmental management, for the management of nature reserves. (Article 8.1) The competent department of environmental protection under the State Council is responsible for the integrated management of the nature reserves throughout the country, and the competent departments of forestry, agriculture, geology and mineral resources, water conservancy, and marine affairs, and other departments concerned are respectively responsible for relevant nature reserves under their jurisdiction. (Article 8.2-3)
According to the report, the problems of multiple management and multiple administrations of ecological protection are still serious. Various types of protected areas are repeatedly set up, involving the departments of land, agriculture and animal husbandry, forestry, environmental protection, water conservancy, tourism. and others. Policies, regulations, and standard systems are complex and even contradictory.
In Sanjiangyuan Area, there are a variety of plans, programs, schemes, and projects from different departments at different levels. These plans are set for different goals and they have differences in regional boundaries, protection objectives, and control/management measures.
This issue might be solved by the upcoming regulation for the national park. Up to now, there are several binding documents for the national park system, including the Overall Plan for Establishing National Park System (2017), Guiding Opinions on Establishing a Natural Reserve System with National Parks as the Main Body (2019), National Park Establishment Regulations (2020), and Technical Specifications for National Park Master Planning (2020).
Underdeveloped economy and society
The economy and society of the Sanjiangyuan Area are underdeveloped. Traditional animal husbandry is still the main industry, which makes it harder to change the economic development model for the conservation goals.
The territory is vast and sparsely populated, which makes it difficult to supervise violations of laws and regulations such as illegal mining or poaching.
The main population of this area is Tibetan, and the protection of local minority customs, history, and culture is also very important. Read more here.
Snow leopards are protected as iconic animals. As a predator, the distribution of snow leopards is very scattered, and monitoring the distribution of snow leopards helps to understand the overall ecological protection status of the local area. It is worth noting that the protection of other animals will be ignored to varying degrees compared to snow leopards, which may cause the result of exacerbating the reduction of other species.