Community Co-management

Plateau Perspectives has promoted community based governance and management of natural resources in many ways over the past decade, from support for the development of herders’ cooperatives, to community-based ecotourism, to collaborative snow leopard conservation.

Local herders have been protecting wildlife including snow leopard, Tibetan wild ass (kiang), Tibetan antelope and black-necked cranes in the Yangtze River headwaters through community conserved areas formally established in 1998. These protected areas initially were recognized by the district government, and subsequently also by the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve managed under the Qinghai Forestry Department. The grassroots NGO Upper Yangtze Organization also was established in 1998, and has been instrumental in the development of community-based conservation and development in the region since that time.

Suojia meeting, Oct 2007Working in partnership with nature reserve management authorities since 2005, Plateau Perspectives has supported the development and trialling of community co-management. Community members and staff of the nature reserve’s Suojia field station embarked together on the first co-management trial in the region in 2009, jointly focusing their attention on monitoring snow leopard with the use of camera traps, in snow leopard habitat around 5000 metres above sea level. This collaborative work yielded some of the first snow leopard photos in the region.

Community co-management approaches are now mainstreamed in Qinghai province, through projects such as the UNDP/GEF-supported ‘Strengthening the effectiveness of the protected area system‘ project implemented by the Qinghai Forestry Department.