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Tibet's biodiversity little known: U.S.-based Himalayan nature expert
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19:53, March 09, 2009

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"Tibet has 40 percent of its land under conservation management, but its biodiversity and conservation successes are little known outside the region," said Robert Fleming, author of "Across the Tibetan Plateau: Ecosystems, Wildlife and Conservation."

Fleming, a Himalayan nature historian who works at the U.S.-based conservation group Future Generations, was interviewed by Xinhua by phone and e-mail over the weekend.

The English edition of the book was published by W.W. Norton & Co. Ltd. in the United States in 2007 and the Tibetan edition was published in 2008.The Chinese edition of the book has been available in Chinese book stores since January.

"The Tibet Autonomous Region is one of the most innovative and successful conservation areas in the whole world -- certainly it is the leader for all of China with the most cost-effective approach," said Fleming.

He said that in 1986, every vehicle he saw in Tibet held one or more hunting guns. But in 1997, on a repeat trip, he didn't see any guns.

The professor, who lived in Nepal in the 1970s, had thought the wild yak had become extinct. However, on a 2004 journey to Tibet, he counted 180 individuals in a herd that included many young animals.

A survey by the Tibetan Forestry Bureau indicated that there were about 9,000 yaks in the wild in Tibet.

Since the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve was created in 1989, eight other national nature reserves have been set up in Tibet, where the regional government has banned hunting and the trafficking of wild animals.

Work by various levels of the government in protecting biodiversity "has been extremely helpful in conservation efforts in Tibet," said Fleming.

He said he had seen that the number of mammals and birds, such as the Tibetan wild ass, had dramatically increased in Tibet.

The Qomolangma nature reserve, recognized in 1999 by the United Nations as one of the world's most successful examples of sustainable development, was the first major protected area in the world to be managed without wardens.

Source: Xinhua

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