Building peace in the minds of men and women

Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve, China

The Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve consists of the northern part of the massif of Mount Everest in the southwest corner of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the border region between the Tibetan, China and Nepal biogeographical realms. The most characteristic feature of this Biosphere Reserve is the Qomolangma, (referring to Mount Everest in the Tibetan language), with an elevation of 8848 m, which is the highest mountain in world. Millions of people have directly benefited from the Reserve which plays an important role in climate change mitigation. The Reserve also provides direct production materials for local people and preserves rich Tibetan cultural diversity. It has unparalleled aesthetic and cultural values.

Designation date: 2004

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN)

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 3,381,900 ha

    • Core area(s) : 1,032,500 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 625,300 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 1,724,100 ha

    Location: 28°34'55"N - 86°21'45"E

    Administrative authorities

    Qomolangma National Nature Reserve
    19, Shandong Road,
    Shigatse, Tibet 858700

    Tel.: +86 892-8822475


    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter

    Ecological Characteristics

    The Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve extends from the border with Nepal in the south, to the watershed between the Yaluzangbu River and the southern regions of Tibet in the north. Qomolangma is the biosphere reserve located at the highest altitude in the world. The main types of ecosystems in the Qomolangma Biosphere Reserve are the mountain forest ecosystems in the southern part of the Himalayas, the grassland ecosystems in the northern part of the Himalayas and wetland ecosystems. Two kinds of glaciers can be found - the oceanic glacier in the southern region and the continental glacier in the northern region. It is a huge “reservoir”, “biological gene pool”, and“ecological security barrier”. It is also a great place for hiking, adventures, scientific research and other activities. It provides hundreds of millions of cubic meters of water to downstream areas.

    The most characteristic feature of this Biosphere Reserve is the Qomolangma, (referring to Mount Everest in the Tibetan language), with an elevation of 8848 m, which is the highest mountain in world. With complex terrains and diverse ecosystems, the reserve is now home to 491 species of terrestrial vertebrates in 93 families and 30 orders, among which there are 9 amphibian species in 4 families and 1 order, 11 reptile species in 4 families and 1 order, 390 bird species in 62 families and 18 orders, accounting for more than 80% of the known bird species in Tibet, and 82 mammal species in 23 families and 10 orders, an increase of 29 species compared with the initial record. The number of higher plant species increased by 202 from 2,348 species to 2,550 species.


    Socio-economic characteristics

    Regional cultural traditions are diverse, with a broad range of distinct groups that have unique customs and dialects. There are about 90,000 people living within the biosphere reserve. More than 90% of the population is Tibetan, other ethnic groups include Han, Sherpa, and Damma. Local residents mainly speak Tibetan. Some also speak Sherpa and other languages. Economic activities include traditional agriculture and forestry, livestock raising and border trade. The human culture and historical vestiges in the area include the Rongbu Temple, which is the highest temple in world, the Chagadasuo Temple, which was built in the 8th-9th century, and the Riwu Ancient Great Wall.

    Local residents regard everything around them as pervaded by a divine presence, may it be mountains, lakes or other natural elements which make them strong supporter of environmental protection. Due to these cultural values and customary practices, the region boasts abundant tourism resources which are exploited in a sustainable manner. The Reserve actively explores new community-based development models and steps up its support for community development. Local residents are encouraged to participate in conservation activities and variety of festivals that celebrate local culture. At present, there are nearly 50,000 local residents engaging in protection and ecotourism services in the Reserve, and 80% of these people are young people.


    Back to Biosphere Reserves in China
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Asia and the Pacific
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: July 2019