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The Yunnan Great Rivers Project

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January 29 - 30, 2001 -- Recently, the NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions team of Christopher Joyce and Bill McQuay traveled to China to report on the Yunnan Great Rivers Project.

In the first of two reports, our team joined a group of American and Chinese scientists in one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the planet: the Meili Snow Mountains in Western China. On the border of Tibet amid unclimbed 20,000-foot peaks and the source of some of Asia's greatest rivers, this region is perhaps the most pristine in China. Listen as NPR's Christopher Joyce reports for Morning Edition.

Chinese officials asked the American scientists to join the Yunnan project to help map and study the region in order to create a huge series of national parks and protected reserves: China's own "Yellowstone." They also want to bring tourists there.

Over the course of a two-week expedition, the team discovers that conservation in the region is far more complicated than it might appear: Besides endangered flora and fauna, the Tibetan culture there has ancient roots that are inextricably connected to the land and as much at risk as the natural resources. Listen as Joyce presents part two of his report on The Yunnan Great Rivers Project.

China's Meili Snow Mountains China's Meili Snow Mountains

Tibetan Shrine Tibetan Shrine

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