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I. Geography and natural conditions
The average elevation is more than 3,000 meters above sea level, while 54 percent of the area is between 4,000 and 5,000 meters. The province is divided into the Qilian Mountains, the Qaidam Basin, and the Qingnan Plateau.
A total of 123 kinds of mineral deposits have been verified. Of these, 50 are among the top ten in terms of reserves in the country and 11 including potassium chloride and magnesium salts have the largest deposits of their kinds in China. Many minerals are urgently needed resources in China and abroad. The famed Qaidam Basin is abundant in natural gas and oil. In addition, Qinghai has more than 30 salt lakes with proved reserves of 70 billion tons. Qinghai is also rich in nonferrous metals and non-metallic minerals.
The province has 178 hydropower stations with a total installed generation capacity of 21.66 million kw and an annual generation capacity of 77 billion kwh.
One of the five pasturelands in China, Qinghai has 36.46 hectares of pastureland, accounting for 50.54 percent of the province’s total area.
Wild animals and plants:
The province is home to 411 species of vertebrates. Of the wild plants discovered, some 1,000 have economic value, and 680 are medicinal herbs. Of the wild animals, 21 kinds are under first-class state protection, 53 are under second-class state protection, 36 are under provincial protection, and 22 have been listed in the International Trade Convention on Endangered Wild Animals and Plants, Appendixes I and II.
Qinghai features ethnic custom tours unique to the plateau. It has scenic spots including the Birds Islet, the Mengda Natural Reserves, Ta'er Monastery, snow-capped A’Nyemaqen Mountain, Sun-and-Moon Hill, and Longyang Gorge Reservoir, the largest artificial reservoir in China, and the Dulan International Game Land.
Soil erosion, water shortage, and deforestation. The conservation of the ecological balance is the basis of the development of west China. Qinghai is the original place of several rivers and is thus important to the ecological balance of the entire region. In the coming 15 years, the province will improve its conservation of the ecological balance, including the protection of the water and soil in six areas: the sources of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, Qinghai Lake, the arid mountains in the east, the Longyang Gorge Reservoir, and the Qaidam Basin. It is necessary not only to strengthen the protection of natural forests, grasslands, and other sources of wild plants and animals but also to increase the restoration of deteriorated grasslands and the construction of shelter-forests. It is also necessary to increase water and soil conservation and keep the water sources clean. The target is to build a more beautiful Qinghai by the mid-21st century.