BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- As an important step taken by the state to protect the environment, an ecological compensation mechanism has been put in place for the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, according to a white paper released by the State Council Information Office Wednesday.
"China has initiated a series of ecological compensation mechanisms, including transfer payments to key ecological function zones, forest ecological benefit compensation, grassland ecological protection subsidy and reward, and wetland ecological benefit compensation," said the white paper, titled "Ecological Progress on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau."
From 2008 to 2017, the central government made transfer payments of 16.29 billion yuan (2.44 billion U.S. dollars) and 8.35 billion yuan to the key ecological function zones in Qinghai and Tibet, respectively, covering 77 key counties and all areas prohibited to development by the state.
China is also improving its ecology-related policies and regulations for the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to form an increasingly complete system for ensuring ecological progress, according to the white paper.
A system of protected natural areas has been set up in the region, it said.
To date, the Plateau has established in total 155 nature reserves at all levels (41 state and 64 provincial ones), covering a total area of 822,400 square km. This is equivalent to 31.63 percent of the Plateau's landmass and represents 57.56 percent of China's land nature reserve areas.
"Basically, all of the Plateau's unique and fragile ecosystems and rare species can be found in these reserves," it said.