The Ruoergai high mountain peatlands are located at the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. The landscape is built up of peatlands and alpine grassland. It supports Himalayan flora and fauna, featuring the flag species of the Black-necked crane, for which it is a breeding and summering site.
The main source of life for the inhabitants of the Ruoergai is cattle farming, more specifically yaks and sheep. The Ruoergai area is severely degraded due to human interventions and climate change.
More than 70% peatlands is degraded with years of overgrazing and drainage of peatlands for the extraction of peat for domestic and other fuel use. Grasslands are also degraded and desertification intensified due to overgrazing and climate change. Desertification is caused by changing river flows leading to sedimentation, as well as the overgrazing by yaks and sheep, taking away the vegetation cover.