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¡¡Geographical environments in various regions of Xinjiang vary greatly .The living conditions of animals and plants and the behaviors of animals in various areas of Xinjiang also bear conspicuous areal differentiation. More than 20 natural reserves have been set up in various regions with different geographical environments. In recent years, a number of natural reserves are open to tourists. People are welcomed to come here not only for tourism, but also for conducting scientific investigation and hunting at designated areas.

¡¡A great number of mountain land in Xinjiang, such as those in the Western Altay Mountains and to the west of the Junggar Basin and at the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains, boast vast expanses of beautiful ornamental forests with beautiful intermountains steppes A great number of natural reserves are located in the Ili River Basin and its nearby areas in the Western Tianshan Mountains Among them the Tianshan Dragon Spruce Natural Preservation Area in Gongliu (Tokkuztara)County is the most famous one. the dragon spruces of the area are extraordinarily tall and big and their heights reach more than 30m. There is a small natural reserve for protecting bunge ash in an islet of the Kashi River. Such Chinese ash is an ancient species which is a survival of postglacial period It has a tall trunk and beautiful crown, having a high value for sightseeing, There is another natural reserve for protecting wild walnut trees at the southern piedmont of Mount Yishijilike in Gongliu (Tokkuztara) County. The skin of the walnuts is as thin as a sheet of paper and their kernels tasted sweat and crisp. The Nazi ¨CQuileute Meadow Natural Reserve in Kunes has a vast expanse of meadow and is the representative of the world-renowned Ili steppe. The natural reserves for protecting comprehensive natural landscapes in the Tianshan Mountains and Mount Kanas of the Altay Mountains also boast beautiful forest and steppe landscapes.¡±

¡¡There are a great number of animals and birds in these mountainous forests and meadows. For instance, there are 30 species of animals, 75 species of birds and 124 species of insects in Kanas natural reserve. Among them are brown bear, silver fox, hazel grouse and Tajialin frog, There are also many rare animals, lynx, wapiti, snow leopard, snow cock, steppe cat, glutton and white crane, there are several natural reserves set up for protecting wild animals and birds in Xinjiang. Such as swan protection area in Rorgas, black wasp protection area in Ili and beaver protection area in the mountainous area of the Altay Mountains.

¡¡Animal and plant resources in desert areas and arid mountainous areas should not be ignored and should be considered as a tourisim resources. In the Tarim basin, Junggar basin and some other arid basin in the Tianshan mountain and Kunlun mountains, natural vegetation is rather sparse. In the area is located in the middle part of Taklimakan desert. Not even a blade of grass grows within a vast expanse of several ten and even several hundred kilometers. Although sparse plants can be seen in some parts of the Taklimakan Desert, most of them are desert ones, such as diversifolious poplar, saxoul, Chinese ephedra, Mongolian calligonum, Chinese tama risk and reed. Such desert plants that have suffered from the destruction of various natural agents and the impact of human activities are experiencing severe degeneration, which makes the poor natural environment become much worse. In order to slow down such process, several desert plant protection areas have been set up, such as diversifolious poplar protection area in the Tarim Basin, Ganjiahu saxoul forest protection area, desert meadow and semi-desert meadow protection area in the eastern part of the Junggar Basin.

¡¡Although wild animals in desert and arid mountain-land live in bad environments, they enjoy ample living space. Ungulate animals thrive in such areas. Among them, Asia wild ass, wild bull, high nose antelope, wild horse and wild camel have been listed as the second-class protected animals. Several wild ungulate protection areas have been set up in Xinjiang, such as the natural reserve in the Altun Mountains and Kalamaili wild ungulate animal protection area.

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Updated: 01th, March 2011

Sources from: Traveling Around Xinjiang (Book)

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