Watershed and Wetland Conservation

Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development Program

Watershed and Wetland Conservation


Needs & Approach




Details & Support

Sanjiangyuan, located in western China and southern Qinghai, is the source of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Lancang River that provide water for China and Indochina Peninsula. Dwindling glaciers have exerted a direct impact on the water replenishment of plateau lakes, meadows and wetlands. Human activities such as overgrazing, tourism and mining, exacerbated the environmental degradation.

The Chinese Government established the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve in 2000 and the Sanjiangyuan Ecological Conservation and Development Program in 2005. After a decade of efforts, there was a limited initial success but the program failed to reverse the overall trend of ecological deterioration. GEI began our work here in 2012 to conserve the precious environment and empower the local communities.

Protect China’s most important watershed area from worsening environmental conditions and human impact.

Teach the local people how to collect data on river water quality and collect trash while improving their own incomes to withstand local development.

Implement methods to conserve Sanjiangyuan’s water resources and address needs of community development.

Proposed new concepts and mechanisms to develop “eco service-oriented economy”
GEI and NDRC published policy research to promote the establishment of the Sanjiang national park.

Demonstration project directly benefited more than 100 demonstration households, with influence radiating to more than 2,000 households and the wider Sanjiangyuan Community.

GEI introduced the Eco-Patrol Monitoring Data Collection & Evaluation System to Qinghai Province and provided training to personnel involved in natural forest protection, in order to improve management capacity and implementation efficiency in the protection of natural forests and other ecosystems in Qinghai.

Helped 11 communities build a CCCA of 136,000 hectares.

2013: developed and implemented the eco-system services based economy in Sanjiangyuan.

2014: in collaboration with the School of Resources and Environment at Southwest University, GEI launched the baseline research project “Investigative Study on Pasture Management Model and Alternative Sustainable Livelihoods for Farmers and Herdsmen in the Sanjiangyuan Community”.

2015: launched two handicraft cooperatives that provided training on creating sustainable and locally-inspired handicrafts that can be sold to bring income for the society.

2016: trained over 2,000 herders to test the water quality of 6 rivers.

Partners: Southwestern University, Raymond American Cloth Foundation, Oak Foundation, Tsinghua University, Landscape Natural Preservation Center

Duration: 2012 – present

Location: Sanjiangyuan

Donor: Ford Foundation

You are donating to : Global Environmental Institute Fund

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