China’s Mystic Waters

In this month’s issue of National Geographic magazine, writer Edward Hoagland and photographer Michael Yamashita document the dichotomy that exists at China’s Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, a World Heritage site that gets over 18,000 visitors daily. The deep emerald-colored pools are considered magical by the Chinese: “Nowhere else under the sky,” they say, “can match Jiuzhaigou.” The images Yamashita took are the antithesis of images of China’s urban sprawl we’re most commonly accustomed to seeing. But the forests are also threatened – already, their panda population has been decimated, and though there’s a growing call for more conservation efforts, items from illegally-harvested herbs to snow leopard pelts are still sold to tourists. Check out the full story here, and visit the photo gallery of images here.

Photo: Michael Yamashita