The Qomolangma National Nature Preserve (QNNP), also known as the Chomolungma Nature Reserve (QNP), is a protected area of 3.381 million hectares in size in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Located on the Roof of the World (“Qomolangma” is the Tibetan name for Mount Everest), the QNNP was one of the first nature preserves in the world to be administered and protected entirely by local volunteers. Through their continued efforts, significant achievements have been made in halting rampant deforestation, unregulated tourism, and illegal hunting of rare wildlife in the Qomolangma region. Active reforestation and garbage collection programs have also been undertaken to restore the environment.
The preserve, initially named Qomolangma Nature Preserve, was created on March 18, 1989, at the Tibet regional level. Support from then-Governor of Tibet, Hu Jintao, was instrumental in shaping the community-based management design summarized below and also pushing through the landscape level size (in 1983, QNP was the largest nature reserve in Asia). In 1993, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China elevated its protection to the national level and the QNP became QNNP.
The QNNP contains along its border with Nepal four of the world’s six highest mountains: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. Also in this preserve is Shishapangma, 14th highest, the only eight-thousander meter peak totally in China. The preserve holds Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world at 4,500 meters, and the highest agricultural fields in the world at 4,300 meters. In addition, the preserve has key pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhism’s most famous poet-saint, Milarepa.
The contiguous trans-border protected area that has become appended to the QNNP links with five protected areas in Nepal. These are Makalu-Barun National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, Langtang National Park, Manaslu Conservation Area, and Annapurna Conservation Area encompassing a total area of protected ecology greater than the land area of Switzerland—conserving multiple Himalayan ecosystems from very wet to very dry and from 1,000 feet of vertical elevation to 29,000 feet. Not adjacent by easy migratory distance away from the QNNP are significant protected areas in Sikkim, India, as well as the country of Bhutan which has over 40% of its land area protected.