Case study on river management: Yangtze

Coursing over a distance of 6,380 kilometers, the mighty Yangtze is the longest river in China and ... rel=
Coursing over a distance of 6,380 kilometers, the mighty Yangtze is the longest river in China and the third longest in the world after the Amazon in South America and the Nile in Africa.
© WWF-Canon / Michel GUNTHER
The Yangtze - at 6,300km the third longest river in the world, with a basin covering 1.8 million km2 - rises at an altitude of over 5,400m in the Tibet Plateau of western China.

The river and the floodplain wetlands it feeds undergo extreme seasonal changes. During the summer rainy season, the swollen waters of the Yangtze flood into the surrounding lake basins, while during winter and spring, when water levels are low, the lakes drain back into the river.

Fish and animals have adapted to these changes and - under natural conditions - move freely among areas connected by seasonal flooding.

Socio-economic importance
Four hundred million people - one-third of China's population - live in the Yangtze basin. The alluvial soil is so fertile that it permits two harvests per year.

In the lower reaches of the river, the abundance of flat land and water has facilitated the growth of densely populated and heavily industrialized cities.

The central Yangtze is known as China's 'home of rice and fish'.
Area map - click to enlarge / ©: WWF
Area map - click to enlarge
© WWF

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