PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2004, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (2): 88-96.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2004.02.011

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Major Environmental Effects of the Tibetan Plateau

MO Shenguo, ZHANG Baiping, CHENG Weiming, TAN Ya, XIAO Fei, WU Hongzhi   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2003-11-01 Revised:2004-02-01 Online:2004-03-25 Published:2004-03-25


The Tibetan Plateau, well-known as the ‘roof of the world’ and the ‘third polar of the earth’, is the youngest and most immense plateau on earth. This paper summarizes and analyzes research results and conclusions with respect to the environmental effects of the Plateau. The plateau shows particular environmental features, such as high cold climate and unique ecological patterns known as “Tibetan zonation”. It also has deep influence on the climate and vegetation patterns of East Monsoon China, Northwest Arid China, the Asia, and even the whole world. The climatic effects of the Plateau include its distinct plateau monsoon system and the formation of modern monsoon system of China. The plateau is characterized by frequent natural disasters, e.g., forest degradation, soil erosion, earthquake, landslide, debris flow, etc. Huamn impacts on the plateau could not be negleated, although they are not very strong.

Key words: environmental effects, modern monsoon system of China, plateau monsoon system, Tibetan Plateau, zonal vegetation