Erhai Lake - Dali , Yunnan

Erhai lake by Das Bikash Kali

Erhai lake is an example of measures taken by China in poverty alleviation based on developing Eco-tourism in minority areas. Erhai Lake is located in Dali prefecture, a lake on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, it is the second-largest freshwater lake in Yunnan province. Erhai Lake is an alpine fault lake, it was also known as Yeyuze (叶榆泽) or Kunming Lake (昆明池) in ancient times. Erhai Lake is reputed as the "Pearl of Plateau". The Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake are used to depict the amazing scene of Dali city. In size, the north-south length of Erhai Lake is 40 kilometers and the East-West width is roughly 9 km, it has a surface area of about 256km2 and a maximum depth of 20m.


The lake serves as a backdrop to Dali City and sandwiched between the Dali Town in the west against the Cang Mountain. The lake's head is at Shangguan Town (northern extremity), and its southernmost point is at Xiaguan Town. The lake receives water from the Miju and Mici Rivers in the north, the Bolou River in the east, and smaller streams from the Cangshan Mountains in the west. Yangbi River, to the south, is the lake's outlet and eventually flows into the Lancang River (Mekong River).


Erhai lake by Das Bikash Kali

The Erhai lake ecological corridor:  

Since 2018, Dali local authorities have been building an environmental protection system for the lake which will serve as the Erhai Lake Ecological Corridor. Certain measures are taken to protect it from being polluted and to restore its natural ecosystem. The lake used to be seriously polluted due to the rapid development of tourism and the local economy in the past. By the end of 2020, the road encircling the lake had been basically completed. A 12-km section of the corridor has been open to the public for free since September 2020. The whole project is expected to be finished by mid-2021. The project is a public-private partnership (PPP) and has a total investment of 9.8 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). Local authorities of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture and Dali City are the main source of public funds.

The corridor is described as a "pearl necklace" surrounding the lake, with the villages located along the shore of Erhai being the "pearls." These villages will benefit from the project economically, as they will be linked and gain access to enhanced transportation and tourism around the lake. Erhai lake is an example of poverty alleviation based on Eco-tourism in minority areas. The lake's water quality and environment have improved a lot in the past two years during the construction of the corridor. More migratory birds fly to the lake and there are fewer blue-green algae in the water. The Erhai lakeshore can be explored by hiking, cycling, or driving. Highlights include Erhai Park and the Butterfly Springs on the Western bank, Islands on the lake – including Guanyin Ge, Jinsuo Island (金梭岛; 'Golden Shuttle Island'), Nanzhao Folklore Island (南诏风情岛) and Xiaoputuo Island (小普陀) – are places for visits.


"Cormorant fishing" - Cultural heritage of Bai ethnic peoples in Dali : 

Erhai lake by Das Bikash Kali
The Bai people, 白族 Báizú in  Dali Yunnan Province for thousands of years, hold a particular love for Erhai Lake, the mother lake that gives the Bai their sustenance. One of the great cultural treasures of the Bai people is their traditional cormorant fishing, which takes place in Erhai Lake. The "cormorant fishing" is an important part of the cultural heritage of Bai ethnic peoples in Dali, it is an example of the “living history” of China. Erhai Lake - Dali, Yunnan by Das Bikash Kali Traditionally, the art of cormorant fishing was passed down from generation to generation, Dali’s tourist industry has given new life to cormorant fishermen. Nowadays, instead of catching fish for the market, trained cormorants catch fish for tourists. In the lakeside villages surrounding Dali cormorant fishermen even put on shows for tourists and guests. As with many of China’s minority cultures and traditions, tourism has provided a way for certain rituals to survive which would otherwise be lost forever. Even if these traditions are not practiced exactly in their original way or for their original purpose, at least they are still practiced, and the art of cormorant fishing will, for the time being at least, not be forgotten.



keywords: #Erhai, #eco-tourism, #Cormorant-fishing, #Báizú, #Dali, #Yunnan, #China, #poverty-alleviation

Sources:

  • https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-01-11/Erhai-Lake-Ecological-Corridor-A-beautiful-system-reviving-a-lake-WXrAdkPe24/index.html
  • https://www.paulsoninstitute.org/archives/caught-in-dilemma/
  • http://en.hainanu.edu.cn/2020-07/02/c_505909.htm
  • https://www.ijrte.org/wp-content/uploads/papers/v8i3S2/C12461083S219.pdf

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