Upper Yangtze




J. Hales



Major Habitat Type

Temperate upland rivers

Drainages flowing into

East China Sea

Main rivers to other water bodies

Rivers in the ecoregion include the upper Chang Jiang (Yangtze), Jinsha Jiang, Yalong Jiang, Dadu He, Min Jiang, Baishui Jiang, Bailong Jiang, and Xihan Shui.



This ecoregion encompasses the Upper Chang Jiang (Yangtze) basin (here known as Jinsha Jiang) on the Tibetan Plateau (Qinghai-Tibet Plateau). The boundaries roughly encompass the basin upriver of the confluence of the Jinsha Jiang and Yalong Jiang, but also the headwaters of adjacent basins to the west.

Terrestrial habitats

This freshwater ecoregion encompasses parts of many terrestrial ecoregions: North Tibetan Plateau-Kunlun Mountains alpine desert, Central Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe, Tibetan Plateau alpine shrublands and meadows, Southwest Tibet shrublands and meadows, Hengduan Mountains subalpine conifer forests, Qionglai-Minshan conifer forests, Qin Ling Mountains deciduous forests, Qilian Mountains conifer forests, Central China loess plateau mixed forests, Daba Mountains evergreen forests, and Nujiang Langcang Gorge alpine conifer and mixed forests (Wikramanayake et al. 2002).

Description of endemic fishes

The ecoregion contains 19 endemics, dominated by the genera Anabarilius, Sinocrossocheilus, Triplophysa, and Yunnanilus in the Cyprinidae and Balitoridae families. There is also an endemic monotypic genus, Metahomaloptera (M. omeiensis).

Justification for delineation

For Southeast Asia, delineations were determined using a bottom-up approach that employed both published and unpublished field data and expert assessment (Abell et al. 2008). Delineations for this ecoregion were based on information from Li (1981), Ding (1994), and Wu and Wu (1992).


  • Abell, Robin,M.L. Thieme,C. Revenga,M. Bryer,M. Kottelat,N. Bogutskaya,B. Coad,N. Mandrak,S.C. Balderas,W. Bussing,M.L.J. Stiassny,P. Skelton,G.R. Allen,P. Unmack,A. Naseka,R. Ng,N. Sindorf,J. Robertson,E. Armijo,J.V. Higgins,T.J. Heibel,E. Wikramanayake, (2008). "Freshwater Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Biogeographic Units for Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation" BioScience 58 (5) pp. 403-414.
  • Wikramanayake, Eric,Dinerstein, Eric,Loucks, C.,Olson, D.M.,Morrison, J.,Lamoreux, J. L.,McKnight, M.;Hedao, P. (2002). "Terrestrial ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: A conservation assessment" Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • Wu, Yunfei;Wu, Cuizhen (1992). "The fishes of the Qinghai-Xizang plateau" Chengdu, China: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology.
  • Li, Sizhong (1981). "Studies on zoogeographical divisions for fresh water fishes of China" Beijing, China: Science Press.
  • Ding, R. (1994). "The fishes of Sichuan" Sichuan Scientific Press pp. 315-319.