Preserving Wetlands in the Mt. Everest Region of Tibet, China
Across the high, dry plateau of the Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) National Nature Preserve, wetlands are valuable to both people and wildlife. In the interest of preserving local livelihoods and protecting wetlands, the Pendeba Society partners with villagers to reduce damage from livestock.
Year after year, villagers have grazed their horses, goats, and sheep on a ten-acre wetland near Chuxi village in QNNP's Tingri County. Animals are tied to a certain spot where they feed until the grasses are gone. At 4,300 meters high in an area known as the “roof of the world,” grasses do not grow back easily. If the animals are not tied up, then they wander off and destroy crops on neighboring farmlands.
The Pendeba Society’s new project with funds from the Vale Award sets up enclosures around these wetlands to promote rotational grazing on land, prevent overgrazing, and promote sustainable best practices for land use. Following initial discussions in July with the Pendeba Society, village leaders were so enthusiastic that they immediately got started. The project benefits 400 villagers, will enclose more than 2000 livestock, and will prevent further damage to the wetland and neighboring farmlands.
In another project in the Enba village of Tingri County, the Pendeba Society will improve the construction of sheep corrals by using fortified earth bricks. Presently, villagers build the corrals from sod extracted from the wetlands, which bears adverse consequences for the land and for the people. Heavy seasonal rains quickly ruin the flimsy corrals, which leads to further destruction of the land to acquire more sod. Also, villagers are burdened with a constant, heavy workload in constructing and repairing these corrals. The project will construct earthen brick corrals for more than 8,000 sheep and goats.
In addition to building sustainable corrals, the Pendeba Society will partner with Enba village to solve other community-identified issues. The Pendeba Society will soon help the village acquire small photovoltaic lights to ensure that everyone has electricity.
See pendeba.org for information on other upcoming conservation projects.
See Pendeba Photo Gallery to see pictures on the projects.
Special Note: The July edition of Monday Developments Magazine featured the Pendeba Society’s work in balancing development with environmental sustainability in the QNNP.