by Yin Chuntao
Journal section: General Article
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Baima Snow Mount Nature Reserve is located in Northwest Yunnan Province, China, where
three big rivers, the Nujiang, Lantsang, and Yangtse, flow shoulder by shoulder. Divine Snow Mountain, grand glacier, alpine pasture and lake, dense forest complete its charming landscape. There is a population of more than 8000 people, who cultivate
limited lands in this nature reserve – most are Tibetan. Almost every family keeps several yaks, pigs and so on, but only for their own consumption, and not for sale.
The traditional way of raising livestock not only uses large amounts of animal feed, but also substantial quantities of firewood. For a family with ten yaks and ten pigs, between five and six tonnes of natural firewood will be consumed per annum. If heating and cooking are both considered, an average household will consume at least ten tonnes of firewood annually. This consumption has put heavy pressure upon the forest resources, and also causes painful conflict between the Nature Reserve Conservancy and
The main income for most families comes from the collection of wild fungi and herbs. However, because of the lack of effective management, income from the collection of fungi and herbs is not stable.
In November 1999, through support from the Shell Foundation, I was able to come to this very special area to carry out a project on commercialization of an integrated biogas technology in Baima Snow Mount Nature Reserve, on behalf of the South-North Institute for Sustainable Development.
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