Located in Yunnan Province in southwestern China, the sparsely populated Hengduan ranges are China’s longest and widest mountain system. Main sources of income are cattle, sheep, and forestry. The ranges also are a major tea producer. Most of the inhabitants belong to minority nationalities such as the Lisu, Yi, Bai, and Tibetans (Zang).
The Hengduan ranges in northwest Yunnan Province, extending into neighboring Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region and Sichuan Province, are China’s longest and widest mountain system. Several large rivers flowing from north to south—the Nu, Lancang, Yalon, and Jinsha—traverse the area. The river valleys are 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level, whereas peaks in the southern part reach 4,124 meters (Tiancang); Guangmao in the eastern part reaches 4,023 meters. The peaks stand close together, and the area is almost without plateaus and broad valleys.
The ranges have a relatively high annual precipitation of up to 2,500 millimeters on the western slopes of the mountains, whereas the eastern slopes receive markedly less rain—about 900 millimeters. The region is sparsely populated; most inhabitants belong to minority nationalities such as the Lisu, Yi, Bai, and Tibetans (Zang), and the majority of the region is divided into autonomous districts. The main city of the area is windswept Xiaguan, situated at the southern end of Lake Erhai. Main sources of income are forestry, cattle, and sheep. Since tea plants were introduced in the nineteenth century, the region has become a major tea producer. The region is also one of China’s important nonferrous metal industrial bases.
Li Heng. (1981). Geological and ecological studies of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Beijing: Science Press.
Zhao Songqiao. (1986). Physical geography of China. Beijing: Science Press.
Source: Nielsen, Bent. (2009). Hengduan Ranges. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1021–1021. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.
Hengduan Ranges (Héngduàn Shānmài 横断山脉)|Héngduàn Shānmài 横断山脉 (Hengduan Ranges)