The Yunnan Great Rivers:
100 Years of Environmental Change in the Tibetan Borderlands of China
Thursday, 29 April 2004
2/F Sports House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong the environmentalist Bob Moseley to speak on a photographic history of landscape and cultural change in the mountains of Yunnan, China. Mr. Moseley's lecture uses stunning historical and contemporary photographs as a window to view 100 years of change in landscapes and people of the Yunnan Great Rivers area of southwest China. Two famous explorers, Frank KingdonWard and Joseph Rock travelled through the mountainous border region of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet during the early 20th century. Their explorations were reported in the journals of the Royal Geographical Society as well as in several books. In the Great Rivers region of Yunnan, four of Asia's great rivers, the Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Irawaddy, come within just 55 miles of each other. These are set in some of the largest remaining intact forests in Asia. KingdonWard, Rock and other explorers took many landscape photographs in this area between 1911 and 1923. Since 2001, The Nature Conservancy has been taking photographs from the exact photo points used by Kingdon Ward and Rock, capturing as nearly as possible the identical subjects and scenes as in the original images. This repeat photography project has led to fascinating results, elucidating a century of ecological and sociocultural change in this remote area of China. Several widely held myths relating to deforestation, mountain agriculture, grazing, glacial retreat, land use, and related cu ltural trends have been shattered by the repeat photo sequences, helping to direct limited conservation funding to real conservation problems. Touching on such topics as trends in forest cover, indigenous architecture, global warming and yak grazing, in this lecture Mr. Moseley will use the photo comparisons to illustrate the threats to biodiversity in Northwestern Yunnan and the opportunities for sustained conservation. Bob Moseley is the Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy's China Program, based in Kunming, Yunnan. He received his graduate degree in alpine ecology from the University of Idaho in 1985, and has published books and articles on mountain plants, ecology and conservation. Mr. Moseley is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas. While not working on mountain conservation issues, Mr. Moseley has climbed in mountain ranges throughout the world, especially in the Rocky Mountains and the Andes. Before joining the Yunnan Great Rivers Project in 2000, Bob spent 25 years as a mountain ecologist and conservationist in Idaho, including working as Program Coordinator for the Idaho Conservation Data Centre and as an ecologist for The Nature Conservancy's Idaho Programme. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.