Three Parallel Rivers
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas consists of eight geographical clusters of protected areas, within the mountainous northwest of Yunnan Province, site features sections of the upper reaches of three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong (Lancang) and Salween (Nujiang), which run roughly in parallel, from north to south, through steep gorges 3,000 meters deep in places and bordered by glaciated peaks more than 6,000 meters high. The site is an epicenter of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity.
The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas refers to a unique natural and geographical landscape: the Jinsha, Lancang and Nujiang rivers flow, but do not converge. Covering some 17,000 square kilometers, it is the largest area of its kind, with the richest landscapes and the most colorful ethnic customs. It is one of regions with the richest ecological landscapes and biodiversity in China. In its description, UNESCO mentions: "(It) may be the most biologically diverse temperate region on earth" and "An exceptional range of topographical features - from gorges to karst to glaciated peaks -- is associated with the site being at a 'collision point' of tectonic plates".
Although this region has been acknowledged as a natural World Heritage Site, its demographic make-up also is highly interesting as it contains many of the twenty-five minorities found in Yunnan province including the Derung, the smallest of all of China's minority groups. Some of the other minorities found in this region are the Tibetan people, the Nu people, Lisu, Bai, Pumi and Naxi. Many of these minorities still use traditional costumes as their normal daily attire.