Yunnan, August 4 2017: Led by Prof. Linxiu Zhang, Co-Director, UN Environment International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), a joint research team of UNEP-IEMP and the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) conducted a field mission in Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve in the South of Yunnan Province from 16 to 22 July 2017. The purpose of the mission was to investigate how the communities in the Reserve conserve and utilize the natural resources for their own livelihoods and explore good practices to balance conservation and livelihood activities in nature reserves.

The team held a consultation meeting with the staff of the Reserve authority to apprise each other about their work and thereafter conducted household and community surveys and interviews in six communities within and around the Reserve. The surveys aimed to measure household’s income sources and changes, awareness of management measures implemented by Reserve authority and impacts of such measures on their agricultural production and life.

Through consultation, household and community surveys and interviews conducted, the joint team collected information and data on the baselines of natural resources, ecosystems and socio-economy in the Naban River Watershed.

As a follow up to the mission, a case study of Sustainable Management of Naban River Watershed National Nature Reserve will be conducted to evaluate the role of nature reserves in ecosystem-based adaptation and poverty alleviation for local communities in China.

Finally, knowledge and experiences highlighted in the case study will be shared with other developing countries through the Coupling Conservation and Livelihoods in Protected Areas of East Africa and EbA South projects implemented by UNEP-IEMP.


It was established by the Yunnan provincial government in 1991 and promoted to be a national one by the State Council in 2000 to protect the Naban River watershed ecosystem. The Reserve covers a total area of 2.66 thousand hectares and inhabits thousands of people of six ethnic groups in more than 30 communities. With significant richness in biodiversity and ethnic cultures, the Reserve is targeted by the local authorities in their efforts to alleviate poverty in rural communities.