Tibetean Plateau Development Program (TPDP)

Tibetan Woman and Child
Copyright Galen Rowell
The Tibetan Plateau Development Project aimed to increase the quality of life of poor villagers living on the Tibetan Plateau, and to conserve natural resources in the area. Four years of work on rangeland conservation, enterprise development and cultural heritage preservation were successfully completed in 2009. The major achievements of this program include increases in income for herders and farmers, the establishment of a rangeland co-management model, the resuscitation of the ancient Nixi pottery tradition, and the establishment of community-based ecotourism in Shangri-la. Other accomplishments include the restoration of cultural sites, books, and traditions, and, most importantly, the launch by the local governments of several pilot projects in other locations in western China. TPDP project activities were implemented in three counties: Diqing Prefecture, Yunnan Province and Hongyuan County of Sichuan, serving a total of 25,509 people, 45% of whom were women.
Natural Resource Management
  • 22 high altitude four-in-one (greenhouse + toilet + pig pen + digester) biogas were units installed in poor rural households in Sichuan and Yunnan. The units help lower carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, improve community sanitation conditions and reduce women's labor burden.
  • 84 solar water heaters and two community water supply systems were installed in poor upstream communities, providing villagers with clean water, thereby improving public health.
  • Villagers and government agencies mobilized to plant more than 6,000 willow tree saplings, covering an approximate area of 20,000 m2 to help reduce soil erosion and regulate the quantity and quality of water flow in a critical watershed.
Cultural Heritage Preservation
  • Worked with the Diqing Prefecture Bureau of Cultural Management to host a seminar on indigenous traditional culture and development with official representation from the UNESCO Culture Sector and other guests.
  • Publishedof a full-color, tri-lingual (Tibetan – English – Chinese) brochure, introducing TMI‘s cultural heritage preservation activities in Sichuan and Yunnan.
  • Provided rural marketing support, promoted traditional artisanal craftsmanship and building critical market linkages for small, village-based, family-owned operations.
Enterprise Development
  • Erected visitor signage and tourist facilities in the Baimang Mountain Nature Reserve, promoting environmental awareness in fragile mountain areas.
  • Partnered with a community-based organic honey processor in Bazhu Village to develop effective supply-chain management .
  • Strengthened yak meat processing method, creating a five-fold increase in product sales and generating an estimated 2.4 million Yuan (over US$ 350,000) in revenue for Hongyuan County.
  • Trained local tour guides on the history, culture and production of Nixi black pottery
  • Trained village-based tourist service providers on hosting, and other tourism-related activities.
  • Developed codes of conduct for ecotourism and nature tourism in national parks, promoting equitable, green and sustainable development at the community level.
  • Facilitated partnership activities between village-based entrepreneurs and the Banyan Tree Hotel, an internationally renowned luxury line
Our sub-grant program broadeeds the reach and depth of our core program. Sub-grants supported:
  • Local NGOs to safeguard traditional Tibetan Zhani music, a unique two-string instrument facing cultural extinction
  • Roots & Shoots to integrate environmental education into the primary school curriculum in Hongyuan
  • Publication of a book of proverbs compiled from remote farming and nomadic villages in western
  • The establishment of the Hongyuan Women‘s Federation to improve female herders‘ access to health education and basic services in Anqu Township
  • Training for local villagers in biodiversity monitoring and publication of a guidebook of alpine flowers, supporting environmentally responsible niche tourism in Shangri-la