Dharamshala — Earlier this week, despite their pledge to the international community, Chinese officials restricted access to the Hoh Xil nature reserve in northeastern Tibet, near the Tibetan holy mountain Amnye Machen. The reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, is an important grazing area for Tibetan nomads and pastoralists. It, along with three adjacent reserves, Chang Tang and Altun Shan, represent a significant portion of traditional grazing areas for Tibetans.
For centuries Tibetan nomadic and pastoral peoples have maintained a close and spiritual relationship with the environment. From herding, to collecting plants for medicinal use, Tibetans have a long history of using the land in a responsible and sustainable manner. The Tibetans are one of the last groups of sustainable pastoralists in the world. In an attempt to justify its ban, Chinese officials stated that the Tibetan’s pastoral activities pose a significant environmental threat.