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Geography

Environmental Facts




The following environmental data describe some of the geographic features relevant to Tibet.

AREA

2.5 million sq. km. Approximately the size of Western Europe

AVERAGE ALTITUDE

14,000 Feet

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE

July 58 F; January 24 F.

AVERAGE RAINFALL

Wide Range: in western areas: 1mm in January to 25mm in July; in the eastern areas: 25 to 50mm in January to 800mm in July

TERRAIN

70% Grassland; From high plateau to tropical forest

MAJOR RIVERS

Mekong, Yangtze, Salween, Tsangpo, Yellow, Indus, Karnali, Irrawadi

LAKES

15,000+; including: Lake Kokonor, Lake Yamdrok, Lake Namtso Yumbo

MAMMALS

210 species; including: Wild Yak, Bharal (blue sheep), Musk deer, Tibetan Antelope, Tibetan gazelle, Kyang (wild ass), Pica

BIRDS

532 species;  including: Black necked crane, Lammergeier, Great crested grebe, Bar headed goose, Ruddy Shel duck, Ibis-bill

FOREST TYPES

Tropical and Sub-tropical montane coniferous forests:

FOREST COVER

1949: 221,800 sq. km.; 1985: 134,000 sq. km. (almost 50% reduction)

TYPICAL TREES

Spruce, Fir, Pine, Larch, Cypress, Birch, Oak

PROVINCES

U-Tsang, Amdo, Kham

PLANTS

12,000+ species of plants; including: 400 species of Rhododendron (50% of world's total species), 2000+ medicinal plants

MINERALS

126 total; including: Borax, uranium (world's largest uranium reserve), iron, chromite, gold, copper, iron, lithium

MAIN FOOD CROPS

Barley, wheat, maize, muatard, millet, sorghum

MAIN VEGETABLES

cabbage, cauliflour, lettuce, radish, turnip, peas, celery, carrot, potato

ECOSYSTEMS

forest, scrub, steppe desert, aquatic

BORDERING COUNTRIES

India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, China

POPULATION

6 million Tibetans; estimated 7.5 million Chinese in Kham, Amdo

[Source: ICT, Office of Tibet, London]

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