Tibet is located southwest of China with a total area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, It is located between 26.50 to 36.53 north latitude and 78.25 to 90.06 east longitude. It is adjacent to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province in the north, Sichuan Province in the east, and Yunnan Province in the southeast.
Tibet borders Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and Kashmir. The land border is more than 4,000 kilometers long and is the gateway to South Asia. Tibet is surrounded by the Himalayas, the Kunlun Mountains, and the Tanggula Mountains, with an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, known as the“roof of the world”.
It is the largest and highest plateau in the world, the main body of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The terrain is complex and diverse, and it is mainly divided into four zones：
First, the northern Tibetan Plateau, located between the Kunlun Mountains, the Tanggula Mountains, and the Gangdise-Nyanchen Tangla Mountains.
The second is the southern Tibetan Valley, in the area where the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries flow, including the world’s largest canyon-the Brahmaputra Grand Canyon. with a depth of 5,382 meters.
The third is the high mountain canyon in eastern Tibet, that is, the Hengduan Mountains and the Sanjiang River Basin in southeast Tibet.
The fourth is the Himalayan region, which includes the world’s highest peak-Mount Everest, and other highest mountains in the world. It is 2,400 kilometers long and average height of 6,000 meters.
Due to the different geographical conditions, the climate of the southern Tibetan Valley and the northern Tibetan plateau is very different. Southern Tibet is mild and rainy. The average annual temperature is 8 degrees Celsius, the lowest is minus 16 degrees Celsius, and the highest is above 16 degrees Celsius in July, and the rainy season in May and September.
Northern Tibet has a continental climate. The average annual temperature is below zero degrees Celsius, and the freezing period is half a year. The highest July does not exceed 10 degrees Celsius, and June and August are warmer. There is less rainfall, and there is a large temperature difference between day and night, with the longest from May to October.
In general, the northwest is cold, the southeast is warm and humid, and the belt changes from southeast to northwest. In addition, there are a variety of regional climates and obvious vertical climate zones. The overall climate is characterized by thin air, low air pressure, low oxygen content; more sunshine, strong radiation; low temperature, large temperature difference.
Resources in Tibet
Tibet is rich in resources and has huge economic potential. With the shift of the national strategic development focus to the west, Tibet’s potential resource advantages will gradually become realistic economic advantages for the benefit of the Tibetan people and will play an increasingly important role in promoting the development of Tibet and even the whole country, and in achieving the common prosperity and common development of all ethnic groups.
Agriculture and animal husbandry occupy a very important position in the national economy of Tibet. The agricultural and animal husbandry population accounts for 80% of the population of the region. The area of cultivated land in the region is 360,500 hectares, of which 255,700 hectares are effectively irrigated, accounting for 79.4%. There are a wide variety of agricultural crops. Barley and wheat are the main varieties, in addition to rice, corn, soybeans, sorghum.
Other food crops like peanuts, tobacco, tea trees, apples, pears, walnuts, and other cash crops, as well as cabbage, rapeseed, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetable crops.
Tibet is one of the five grassland pastoral areas in China. The area of natural pasture land ranks first in the country, with 64.7968 million hectares.
Yaks are the main livestock, in addition to scalpers, bison, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, mules, pigs, chickens, and so on.
The Tibet Autonomous Region is rich in water conservancy resources, with natural water and energy reserves accounting for about 30% of the country, accounting for more than 200 million kilowatts; the upper sources of the famous Ganges, Indus, and Mekong rivers in Asia are in Tibet;
There are more than 20 rivers with a watershed area greater than 10,000 square kilometers in Tibet, and the Brahmaputra River is the largest river in Tibet, with a total length of 2,057 kilometers, making it the fifth-largest river.
There are more than 1,500 large and small lakes in Tibet, with a total area of 24,183 square kilometers, accounting for about one-third of the total area of lakes in China; it is the highest, largest and largest number of lakes in the world in the plateau lake area.
Forestry and wildlife resources
Tibet’s forests and wildlife resources are among the best in the country. Forest area of 12.67 million hectares, ranking fourth in the country; timber accumulation of 2.084 billion cubic meters, ranking first in the country; common forest tree species are mainly pine, fir, cypress, and so on.
There are more than 1,000 wild plants used as medicine, among which 400 are the most commonly used medicinal materials. The most famous medicinal plants include Cordyceps Fritillaria, Sophora flavescens, Rhubarb, Gastrodia, Ginseng, Codonopsis, Gentian, and Salvia.
In addition, there are more than 200 kinds of known mushrooms, including the famous edible matsutake, hedgehog, camphor mushroom, shiitake mushroom, black mushroom, white fungus, yellow mushroom, and so on. Mushrooms used in medicine include Tukajo, Songganlan, and Steinomphalia.
Tibet has 142 species of mammals, 473 species of birds, 49 species of reptiles, 44 species of amphibians, 64 species of fish, and more than 2,300 wild animals. Animals include long-tailed monkeys, Assam macaques, rhesus monkeys, muntjac, deer heads, bison, red antelope, sulfur, leopards, clouded leopards, black bears, wild cats, weasels, baby pandas, red deer, river deer, white deer, Wild yak, Tibetan antelope, wild donkey, argali, gazelle, fox, wolf, lynx, brown bear, jackal, blue sheep and snow leopard.
Rare species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau under national key protection. The white-lipped deer only appears in China and is a particularly rare animal. Black-necked cranes and Tibetan pheasants are national first-class protected animals.
At present, there are five nature reserves in Tibet, they are Qiangtang wild yak, Tibetan wild ass, Tibetan Wild antelope Reserve; Mangkang Yunnan Golden Monkey Reserve; Shenza Black-necked Crane Reserve; Linzhi Dongjiu Impala Reserve; Wuqi Changling Red Deer Reserve. In 1991, Tibet also established a Wildlife Protection Association.
The Tibet Autonomous Region is also rich in mineral resources. At present, there are more than 90 kinds of mineral resources discovered, more than 2,000 mineral places, and 18 kinds of mineral reserves occupy the top ten of the country’s reserves, of which chromite reserves occupy the top of the country, copper reserves occupy the second place in the country; lithium, boron and other 11 kinds of reserves occupy the top five in the country.
In recent years, it has been proved that Tibet has rich reserves of oil and gas fields, which is expected to become an important energy base in China in the next century.
Other minerals available in Tibet are magnesite, barite, arsenic, mica, peat, kaolin, salt, natural soda, mirabilite, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, diatomite, Iceland spar, Corundum, quartz, and agate.
Transportation – the guarantee of resource development and utilization
The first large-scale construction was the construction of highways from Sichuan and Qinghai to Lhasa. After decades of construction, there are now 15 trunk highways in Tibet, including five main trunk highways in Sichuan-Tibet, Qinghai-Tibet, Xinjiang-Tibet, Yunnan-Tibet, and China-Nepal; 315 branch highways, with a total length of 21,842 kilometers, all counties and 77% of townships are connected to roads.
Tibet currently has two airports, Lhasa Gongga and Changdu Bangda. After opening routes from Lhasa to Beijing in 1956, domestic routes from Lhasa to Chengdu, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu to Chamdo, and international routes from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal, have been opened successively.
Tibet has built and opened 7 local (municipal) satellite communication stations and 51 county program-controlled telephone exchanges, 98% of the counties have achieved the program-controlled satellite transmission and telephone and entered the international and domestic long-distance telephone automatic switching network.
Tibet is rich in hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind energy. It produces about 200 million kilowatts of natural hydropower each year, which accounts for about 30% of the country’s total electricity.
Surface water is 354.8 billion cubic meters, accounting for 13.5% of the country’s total resources; glacier water resources are 330 billion cubic meters. The hydropower resources available in Tibet are approximately 56.59 million kilowatts, accounting for 15% of the country’s total resources.
Tibet is also a leader in geothermal energy. The Yangbajing Geothermal Field in Damshung District of Lhasa is the largest geothermal field in China. A high-temperature geothermal steam field is also one of the largest geothermal fields in the world.
Tourism in Tibet
Tibet continues to develop and utilize its unique cultural and natural tourism resources. The area currently has four tourist areas: Lhasa, West, Southwest, and South. The tourist areas of Lhasa include Lhasa, Yanbajing, Damshung, Gyangze, Tsedang, Shigatse, and Yamdrok Lake.
Lhasa itself is not only the political, economic, cultural, and transportation center of Tibet, but also the center of Tibetan Buddhism. The main tourist attractions include Jokhang Temple, Ramoche Temple, Potala Palace, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka Palace, and the Three Gandan Monastery.
It will be like this too. The Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace, Ganden Monastery, Drepung Monastery, and Sera Monastery are key cultural relics under national protection. Tibet is known as the “Roof of the World on the Roof”. The area attracts tourists because of its important religious significance. Many tourists and pilgrims from Nepal and India came here admiringly.
Tibet is a provincial-level ethnic autonomous place with Tibetans as the main body, and the ethnic population of the autonomous region accounts for more than 95% of the total population of the region. In addition, there are Han, Monba, Loba, Hui, Mongol, Naxi, and other ethnic groups, as well as sherpas people. There are more than 30 ethnic components.
Tibetans are hard-working and brave people with a long history. According to Tibetan and Chinese historical records, the Tibetan plateau has been inhabited by humans for a long time. In recent years, a large number of archaeological excavations have proved that human life has existed in the vast area of Tibet about 12,000 to 4,5,000 years ago.
The human beings and their ancient culture in Tibet belong to the same origin as the ancient culture excavated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. The ancestors of today’s Tibetans are indigenous peoples living on the Tibetan plateau. However, it was not formed by a single tribe, but in the long-term development process, the local indigenous residents of the Tibetan plateau integrated with Qiang, and other ethnic groups and developed into today’s Tibetans.
Tibetans have a long history of cultural traditions, customs, language, and writing. The language of the Tibetans belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family, the Tibetan-Burmese language family, and the Tibetan language branch.