The Tibetan Plateau

China is a land of extremes, with rapid development over the past several decades and an extraordinary natural and cultural heritage. Its great diversity of ecosystems, traditional and modern land uses, cultures and livelihoods – all make this country amongst the most special in the world. China’s western mountain regions are especially diverse.


Qinghai Ecotourism website

Ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the wellbeing of local people.” Plateau Perspectives is building local capacities in community-based tourism for development. The Qinghai Ecotourism website was built to promote this important concept and approach in China, with a focus on Qinghai Province, and to promote awareness of local community tourism ventures in the Tibetan Plateau region.

World Yak Herders Association

Yurta Association promotes partnerships and conservation of biocultural diversity in High Asia. Cultural anthropologist Mr Carralero is working with a range of partners in High Asia to establish a ‘World Yak Herders Association’. Partnering organizations include Mountain Partnership, University of Central Asia, Kegawa Herders Cooperative and Plateau Perspectives.

Protected Areas

Protected areas, or PAs, are areas that receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological and/or cultural values. As outlined by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), PAs yield flows of economically valuable goods and services that benefit society, secure livelihoods, and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, they are key to buffering the impacts of climate change and maintaining future options for development through water resource conservation and regulation, the preservation of biodiversity including genetic resources, and in many instances also the preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity in mountain regions.

Yushu Earthquake 2010

Plateau Perspectives initiated a rapid response, establishing a medical camp and providing immediate emergency care for over 1,200 people within two days of the earthquake that devastated Yushu on 14 April 2010. In later phases, basic household supplies as well as equipment for emergency response teams were purchased and distributed in Yushu by a team of volunteers from China and abroad.

Shuguang Community Development Center

The NGO Sichuan Shuguang Community Development Training Center aims to strengthen community abilities and to promote communities’ “harmonious development” and well-being through participatory work methods. It is collaborating with the Plateau Perspectives team on several projects, including the development of herders’ associations and local development revolving funds.


Founding in 2005, D-Starine encourages and trains volunteers to serve on disaster relief projects and on community development and reconstruction programmes. It is committed to enhancing communication and promoting exchanges between urban youth and a variety of ethnic groups from all over the world. D-Starine has cooperated with Plateau Perspectives since 2010.

Community Health

Plateau Perspectives’ community health work has included training of doctors and women’s health workers, immunizations and other preventative health measures, the establishment of community health centres and rehabilitation work with people with disability.

Veterinarian Training

Veterinary trainings were given to animal health workers in Zaduo county in December 2009 and July 2010.

Other Relief Projects

While Plateau Perspectives’ work is focused on community development and protecting the natural environment in mountain regions, occasionally there are special circumstances that warrant a change of focus – at least temporarily. Such is the case when natural disasters strike, such as severe snowstorms.

Study Tours

Plateau Perspectives has organized several study tours over the past few years in order to learn from national and global experiences about strategic development topics or practices related to resource governance and management, protected areas management, poverty alleviation and community-based tourism.

Bear Conflict

As wildlife recovers from natural and anthropogenic pressures, populations increase and behaviours change. In recent years, the level of human-wildlife conflict in the Sanjiangyuan region has been increasing, especially with brown bears. This project sought to trial the viability of solar-powered electric fences as a safeguard against intrusions by bear into herders’ winter homes.

Tent Schools

Basic education is a fundamental asset that helps with regional socioeconomic development. Early in our work in the Yangtze River headwaters, local community members and leaders requested Plateau Perspectives to support them in developing their own primary schools – initially in the form of tent schools, which could be moved as required to fit the needs of the Tibetan nomadic pastoral lifestyle.

Academic Partners

Plateau Perspectives has partnered with a variety of academic institutes and research centres over the years, especially in Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Areas of collaboration have included natural resource management, wildlife monitoring and research, social development, and applied civil engineering to enhance access in remote mountain regions of the Tibetan plateau.


To summit K2: an extraordinary achievement! This also can be said of the Kegawa-kora partnership, which brings together Tibetan herders from the heart of the Tibetan plateau and an elite outdoors clothing company that seeks simultaneously to meet the needs of extreme mountain adventurers and to protect the ecology and the cultures of the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau region.

Government Partners

Qinghai Forestry Department and the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve – on comanagement, tourism development, wildlife research? etc  Leadership development and Capacity building (2010 Canada study tour, and several workshop in XiNing)   ‘Dangxiao’? Party School, Consultative Committee? Farmers& workers Party Committee in Qing Hai  – with policy dialogue/ policy analysis? on protected areas, tourism development, eco-migration etc. […]

Tibet Clinic

Situated at the foot of Namche Barwa Mountain (7,795 m) in eastern Tibet Autonomous Region, China, the Langduo Village Clinic was built to serve the many nationalities who live in this rural district. This village clinic was built by Plateau Perspectives and is dedicated to the memory of Jane M Torrance, who supported the Tibetan people for many years through her faithful service as Administrator of Plateau Perspectives Scotland.

Community Ecotourism

Ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the wellbeing of local people.” Plateau Perspectives is building local capacities in community-based tourism for local development as well as to enhance protected area management.

Rehabilitation Services

A major earthquake devastated Yushu on 14 April 2010. More than 2,200 people died and around 10,000 people were left seriously injured. Plateau Perspectives assisted with immediate medical care, and subsequently also with development of regional rehabilitation services.

Revolving Development Fund

A community-managed revolving fund for local development was first trialled in Lari in 2011. Supported by Ford Foundation, this project works with herding communities to assess social and natural capital and build management capacities in ways that promote community level autonomy.

Kegawa Herders Cooperative

Launched in 2010, Kegawa Herders Cooperative now has over 90 member households. As voluntary association of entrepreneurs, the coop encourages innovative thinking as it helps to create new business opportunities in high grassland regions of the Tibetan plateau.

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.

Snow Leopard Conservation

The Snow Leopard Community Conservation Project has clearly demonstrated the benefits of working closely with herders for conservation. Traditional custodians of the land are the best partners for ensuring a sustainable future, and should be supported to manage biodiversity.

Doctor Training

Health is a major problem in remote mountain regions, such as the Tibetan plateau. In particularly, mothers’ and children’s health was found to be especially poor – with around a quarter of children dying within their first year of life. Upgrading the professional abilities of village level health workers is the first line of defence.

Quinoa Farming

Quinoa is a nutritious grain originally grown in South America. It is well adapted to high altitudes and climatically harsh and dry environments. With an excellent nutritional value, and economically valuable, Plateau Perspectives has advanced this development project to enhance food security together with poverty alleviation in the Tibetan plateau region.

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