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Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas

 Lijiang Attractions

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China. It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Yangtze (Jinsha), Lancang (Mekong) and Nujiang (Salween) rivers, in the Yunnanese section of the Hengduan Mountains, and consists of 15 protected areas (in eight geographic clusters) in the mountainous that northwest of the Yunnan. 

The Three Parallel Rivers site covers land of some 1.7 million hectares. With it come nine nature reserves and 10 scenic spots variously belonging to Lijiang City, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture. Located where the three geological regions of East Asia, South Asia and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau meet, it is representative of rare alpine landforms and their evolution, and one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. 

The three parallel rivers park contains an outstanding diversity of landscapes, such as deep-incised river gorges, luxuriant forests, towering snow-clad mountains, glaciers, and alpine karst, reddish sandstone landforms (Danxia), lakes and meadows over vast vistas. The 1.7 million hectare site features sections of the upper reaches of three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween which run approximately parallel, north to south, through steep gorges which, in places, are 3,000 m deep and are bordered by glaciated peaks more than 6,000 m high. The three parallel rivers site spans a large portion of the Hengduan Mountains, which is the major arc curving into Indochina from the eastern end of the Himalayas. Being located in the convergent regions of the three world's major biogeographic realms, the property is in an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It may also harbour the richest biodiversity among the temperate areas of the world. 

The three parallel rivers site is also an excellent representative of alpine landscapes and their evolution. The eastern mountains, plateaus and valleys are covered with meadows, waterfalls and streams and hundreds of small glacial lakes left by glacial erosion processes. 

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