The Taklimakan Desert is located in the largest inland basin in China-the Tarim Basin, which is with an area of 560,000 km2, and is surrounded by the Tianshan Mountains, the Kalakunlun Mountains, and the Kunlun Mountains.

The Tarim Basin is the world’s core area of the Populus euphratica trees which cover 352,200 ha, accounting for 90% of their total area in China and 54.29% of the global distribution. The largest natural poplar trees in the world occur in the Tarim River drainage area and large areas of undisturbed poplar forests have been preserved in this region. According to the investigations of Chinese scientists, the continuous distribution of natural poplar forest in the Tarim Basin covers millions of acres, and the volume of wood reaches over 1.5 million square kilometers.

The three main distributional types of natural poplar forests are as follows: the terrace along the river bank, the front edge of the diluvial fan where underground water surfaces, and the regions around lakes and wetlands. The distribution of Tarim poplar trees is mainly discontinuous in a corridor along the river banks. The distribution reflects the temperature, water and edaphic conditions and shows the narrow environmental conditions in which the poplars thrive. There are more than ten belts of poplar forests of differing ages along both the south and north banks of the Tarim River in the nominated site. The belts vary from hundreds of meters to several kilometers in width. The withered poplar forest belts and living poplar belts alternate with each other, reflecting the vicissitudes of the Tarim River.

The largest and best-formed example of an original poplar forest in the world occurs in the Tarim River drainage area and it has suffered little from human interference and is well preserved in this region. The nominated site is the most prominent representative of natural poplar forests and it cannot be matched elsewhere in the world.

According to the UNESCO