CEPF
Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Mountains of Southwest China

Tab 1

Overview

Local Tibetan man in Tagong, Sichuan Province, China
Local Tibetan man in Tagong, Sichuan Province, China. © William Crosse

CEPF is no longer working in this hotspot.

The Mountains of Southwest China Biodiversity Hotspot is the most botanically rich temperate forest ecosystem in the world.

The hotspot stretches across 262,400 square kilometers of temperate to alpine mountains between the easternmost edge of the Tibetan Plateau and the Central Chinese Plain. It includes parts of western Sichuan Province, northwest Yunnan Province, eastern portions of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the southeast tip of Qinghai Province and the southern tip of Gansu Province.

Though only an estimated 8 percent of its original forest cover remains, the hotspot is home to about 50 percent of the country’s birds and mammals and as much as 40 percent of its vascular plants. This includes about 12,000 species of plants, of which 3,500 or 29 percent are found nowhere else.

The hotspot also is home to several of the world's best-known and threatened mammals, including the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and snow leopard (Panthera uncia).

The natural diversity is mirrored by great cultural diversity. The region is home to 17 of China’s 55 ethnic minority groups. It is traversed by some of the most important rivers in Asia, including the Bramaputra, Irawaddy, Mekong Salween and Yangtze rivers. Combined, these rivers affect the livelihoods of more than half a billion people throughout a downstream area of some 3 million square kilometers.​​

Tab 2

Strategy

Red pandas (Aiulurus fulgens) are bred in the Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu, China
Red pandas (Aiulurus fulgens) are bred in the Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu, China. © Piotr Naskrecki

The Chinese Government is undertaking massive investments in reforestation projects and in conversion of pastureland to forest. We focus on providing resources to build the capacity of civil society to implement smaller, more localized conservation projects and to nurture leaders who will be capable of interjecting biodiversity aspects into the larger development efforts.

Based on an ecosystem profile developed for this region, our investment aims to ensure regional planning authorities are provided with innovative approaches, best practices and recommendations for designing and implementing conservation-conscious development projects.

Five strategic directions guide our approach since investment began in 2002:

  1. Develop hotspot-wide monitoring and evaluation projects.
  2. Support site-related projects led by civil society to mitigate key threats to natural areas and species populations.
  3. Build capacity of civil society to implement conservation efforts at a site and regional level.
  4. Integrate biodiversity conservation concerns and benefits into the implementation of policies and programs at local, regional, and national levels.
  5. Develop and implement a small grants program focusing on conservation capacity-building and research projects.

In 2008, we undertook an assessment of our initial investment for this hotspot. The results will help us determine whether to allocate additional funds to consolidate and sustain the gains made previously.

Tab 3

Priorities
CEPF STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS CEPF INVESTMENT PRIORITIES
1.  Develop and operationalize hotspot-wide monitoring and evaluation projects 1.1  Define five- and 10-year map-based conservation outcomes for the hotspot through a collaborative, participatory approach
1.2  Support projects that utilize scientific tools to evaluate changes in land cover, spatial relationships and ecosystem health
1.3  Establish a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the site-specific projects and ensure adaptive management and sharing of lessons learned
1.4  Provide resources to track human-induced environmental trends and high-resolution monitoring to report on site-specific impacts
1.5  Scientific research and socioeconomic analysis to better understand biodiversity and conservation issues and threats in the region
1.6  Improving the credibility and scientific methodology used for biodiversity conservation research in this hotspot
2.  Support site-related projects led by civil society to mitigate key threats to natural areas and species populations 2.1  Effective nature reserve and community resource management
2.2  Ecotourism and environmental education as a tool to support biodiversity conservation
2.3  Ecosystem restoration, especially filling in the gaps in existing governmental programs
2.4  Projects to reduce illegal and other unsustainable wild animals and plants trade
2.5  Promoting biodiversity friendly "green" production or harvest of traditional Chinese medicines
3.  Build capacity of civil society to implement conservation efforts at a site and regional level 3.1   Assess, develop and implement a series of training programs based on the training needs in the region. Training could focus on a number of topics including reserve management, the fundamentals of green businesses, business management for conservation and environmental education
3.2  Provide resources for individuals in the region to participate in training opportunities
3.3  Establish a trainers' training program in the region to multiply transfer of skills and knowledge to conservation professionals in the region
4.  Integrate biodiversity conservation concerns and benefits into the implementation of policies and programs at local, regional and national levels 4.1  Demonstrate best-case innovative approaches for integrating biodiversity concerns into local, regional and national development programs
4.2  Collect and disseminate information about biodiversity and socioeconomic benefits of conservation to improve implementation of existing government initiatives and influence national policies
4.3  Communicate successful examples of innovative approaches to public-private efforts to better integrate biodiversity conservation into governmental efforts
5.  Develop and operationalize a small grants program focusing on conservation capacity-building and research projects 5.1  Provide funding to individuals and institutions for research analysis or small-scale activities that will help build the conservation capacity of civil society and/or yield measurable mitigation of threats
5.2  Provide technical support to trainees to enable better design and implementation of small on-the-ground projects

Tab 4

Maps
Mountains of Southwest China Biodiversity Hotspot

 

Forest Cover and Change data on CI's Learning Network: China (Sichuan Province) c.1990-c.2000 (WinZip File - 90 MB)

 


Conservation Outcomes

PDF Map
Map (PDF - 1.9 MB)

Tab 5

Documents
Core Documents
  • Ecosystem Profile, June 2002
    English (PDF - 1.2 MB) | Chinese (PDF - 646 KB)

  • Fact Sheet, January 2003
    English (PDF - 77KB) | Chinese (PDF - 280KB)

Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, October 2013
    English (PDF - 364 KB)​

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, November 2012
    English (PDF - 346 KB)

  • Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Mountains of Southwest China Biodiversity Hotspot, August 2008
    English (PDF - 584 KB)

  • CEPF and Poverty Reduction: A Review of the CEPF Portfolio in the Mountains of Southwest China Hotspot, January 2008
    English (PDF 282 KB)

  • Portfolio Overview, as of June 2005
    English (PDF - 276 KB)
    - Full related briefing book
    English (PDF - 6.7 MB)

  • Project Final Reports
    Compiled by project leaders detailing final results and lessons learned
    View reports

 

Other Publications
  • Trade and Conservation of Taxus in China
    Chinese (PDF - 2.3 MB), TRAFFIC International

  • Workshop Report on Community Based Monitoring
    Chinese (PDF - 1.2 MB), Kunming Institute of Botany
​​

Tab 6


Fast Facts

Status: CLOSED

Initial investment: 
  • $6.5 million
  • 2002-2007
  • 80 grants
Consolidation:
  • $1.4 million
  • 2011-2013
  • 15 grants
Regional Resources
Ecosystem profile, June 2002

Consolidation, April 2011

Publications

Document: Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Mountains of Southwest China Biodiversity Hotspot, August 2008. English (PDF - 584 KB)

Document: GEF Focal Point Endorsement, English (PDF - 366 KB)

Grants: Learn which regions are open for applications and how to apply