Sustained forests; sustained profits
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Tours are being designed and new ones are being created, but several types are prominent.
1. RAIN FOREST - Southern China is the land of elephants, jungle cats, and a thousand butterflies. Tea plantations, rice, boat trips and hikes contribute to a comprehension of the significance of the rain forests in the global energy budget and to an in-depth understanding of international forest conflicts and the rain forest debate.
2. TAKIN TOUR - A strange mountain animal, once believed to be the source of the golden fleece, once endangered, has now been restored and has become a possible range land pest. This tour makes many cultural and interesting side trips, but centers on the animal, research, its ecology, range management, plants of the mountains, hikes to primitive campgrounds, and explorations of modern wildlife management in the environment for this spectacularly beautiful/ugly animal.
3. BIRDERS' WORLD - These trips are only for vigorous, avid birders. The intent is to assist a birder to build his or her "life list",species of birds never seen during their lifetime. Sites best for bird watching and where greatest bird species richness occurs (i.e., diversity) have been selected. Trained guides help people find each species. Whatever your present count of birds on your life list, you will probably double it on this tour. Telescopes, bird books, guides, and unusual techniques are used to provide guests with maximum opportunities. Educational programs feature the birds to-be-seen; summary programs during the trip feature birds-seen.
This program is conducted in concert with Avi, the new sport of bird watching.
Tours in 5 areas of China increase the chances of seeing all 1200 species known for China.
A unique membership of China-bird watchers is created for tour members, guides, and local people.
4. GEOLOGY - The geological diversity of China allows tours of significance for they highlight national richness and the beauty of the landforms. These are viewing tours, but designed to display events in a meaningful series from the pre-Cambrian to the present. Experts and guides introduce each area. Visits range from mines to waterfalls, from deserts to unique limestone areas. Field visits are interspersed with visits to towns and centers of great cultural and historic interest rarely seen by other groups. Of course, this tour will be of interest to professional geologists, but it is designed for vigorous people who enjoy the beauty of new landforms, love scenery (and want to understand it deeply), and want to understand the relations of geology, soil, plants, and wildlife.
5. DEER - China has many species of deer - over 30. Some are endangered. They may become extinct in our lifetime. In the U.S., the Lasting Forests Deer Group is a company devoted to wise use and preservation of the deer resource. One component of that group's work is related to bird watching and the desire of these people to build a life list of birds seen. A unique group of deer observers has been formed. The membership seeks to have seen, perhaps photographed, all of the deer of the world.
These deer tours take people who have great interest in deer and everything related to them to areas where they have a high probability of seeing a new species. Computers help select the sites. Between the centers, tour stops include forests, parks, cultural events, and historic battlefields.
6. OWL - There are 16 species of owls in China. These tours concentrate on seeing each one in the wild. This is a very rare, lifetime accomplishment and few have achieved it as part of their lifetime quest for seeing many species of birds.
This tour is about owls - their ecology, environments, and physiology - everything. There are scheduled lectures on predator-prey relationships, on ecology, and on how land use influences each species of owl. To get to each owl's area, great distances must be traveled and between these key spots, the tour visits museums, parks, cultural centers, and areas of great beauty.
Two or three trips may be needed to get to all of the owls' areas. Three different routes have been designed.
Map resources are now available. (a project named LU/GEC, Land Use for Global Environmental Conservation funded by Environment Agency of Japan.) In this site ( http://www-cger.nies.go.jp/lugec/lugec1.html ), a database including sets of digital maps (with resolutions of 1-km and 20-km) for estimation of NPP, climatic productivity, and LUCC (land use/cover changes) of China. The map sets are, of course, available for the study of Land-Surface Processes Models ( http://www-cger.nies.go.jp/lugec/wang/index.htm ). Development Costs...............$45,000
Estimated annual profits 40 tourists @ $500...$20,000
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Last revision January 17, 2000.