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With mountains in the west, north and east and low, humid plains in the central south, Hubei is like a basin of a slightly irregular shape which can be divided into four topographical zones: 1) The Jianghan Plain in the central south forms part of the Lianghu Plain together with the Dongting Lake Plain of Hunan Province. Low and flat and crisscrossed by rivers and lakes, it is the major farming area of the province. 2) The Western Hubei Mountain Area includes the Wudang, Jingshan, Daba and Wushan mountains. Its main peak, the 3,053-metre Dashennongjia, is the highest peak in central China. A primeval forest area known as the "green treasure-house," it teems with animal and plant life. The spectacular Three Gorges, formed as the Yangtze River cuts through the Wushan Mountains, offer wide prospects for hydroelectric power and are the key water transport artery to Sichuan. Under construction here is the gigantic Gezhouba key water conservancy project. 3) The Northeastern Hubei Hilly Area on the Hubei-Henan-Anhui border consists mainly of the Tongbai and Dabie ranges and is the watershed of the Huaihe and Changjiang rivers. 4) The Southeastern Hubei Hilly Area includes the northern sloping foothills of the Mufu Mountains.

There are more than 1,000 rivers in Hubei. The Changjiang River serves as the backbone into which its tributaries flow from two directions to form the single Yantze River, system. The section of the Yangtze from Zhijiang to Chenglingji, known as the Jingjiang River, follows a zigzag course. The Hanshui is the longest tributary of the Yangtze River. Hubei has more lakes than any other province with most of them in the Jianghan Plain. The best-known lakes are Honghu, Liangzi and Changhu.


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