The eastern part of the province is the mountainous area of the Changbai Mountains with an elevation of over 1,000 meters and the Jidong hilly land of 500 meters above sea level or lower. The western part of the province is the Songliao Plain, whose low and level western section is the grain base of the province.
The province is one of China’s six major forestry areas. The Changbai Mountains stretching about 500 km is known as the “Changbai Sea of Forest.” The province’s land used for forestry covers 9.7226 million hectares, accounting for 51.37 percent of the province’s total and ranking the 12th in the country. Forests cover 7.9767 million hectares, accounting for 82.04 percent of the total land used for forestry, ranking the eighth in the country. The province’s storage of live limber is 840 million cubic meters, ranking the sixth in the country. The province’s forest coverage is 42.4 percent. The highest summit of the province, the White Cloud Peak of the Changbai Mountains, is 2,691 meters above sea level.
The prairie in western Jilin is situated in the center of the Songjiang-Nenjiang Prairie, one of the famous grasslands in China. The prairie is known for its rich forage grasses for sheep, most of which are perennial rootstock and bushy grasses. It is also one of the breeding bases of commercial cattle and fine-wool sheep in northern China. There are 4.379 million hectares of grassland are available in the province, mainly in its western and eastern parts.
Its western part is the easternmost point of the Euro-Asian grassland, where the source of water is rich and the quality of grass is good. A part of the Horqin Grassland, it is Jilin’s animal husbandry base.
The province is abundant in minerals with a total of 136 varieties of ores discovered. The number of surveyed mineral deposits is 93, 75 of which have been explored. The province’s reserves of 22 minerals rank the top five in the country. Its main minerals, include: coal with a reserve of nearly 2.1 billion tons; petroleum with a remaining potential reserve of 113.99 million tons; iron ores with a reserve of 460 million tons; gold with a reserve ranking the 13th in the nation; the reserves of 10 other minerals such as oil shale, diatomite and wollastonite rank the first in the country; veneer gabbro and carbon dioxide gas rank the second in the country; that of molybdenum and germanium rank the third; the remaining potential reserve of petroleum ranks the sixth in the country. Jilin is favored with nonmetallic mineral products and most of its export products are crude nonmetallic minerals and their products. The reserves of wollastonite, diatomite, bentonite, and refractory clay are rich enough for mining. The reserves of petroleum, natural gas and coal are also affluent.
There is a rich resource of wildlife in Jilin Province, particularly in the Changbei Mountains area. Jilin is the original producer of the worldwide famous Three Northeast China Treasures — ginseng, fur of marten and pilose antler. Its other products, such as glossy ganoderma, the tuber of elevated gastrodia, astragali, and pine mushroom, hedgehogt fungus, frog fat are all well-known at home and abroad.
There are about 2,300 species of plant in the Changbai Mountains, of which 900-odd are of high economic value. There are 870 varieties of medicinal herbs and more than 200 varieties of edible plants. Trees of quality timber for industrial use include Korean pine, Changbai pine, yeddo spruce, northeast China ash, yellow pineapple, Manchurian walnut catalpa, and linden. Chinese grapes, the fruit of Chinese magnoliavine, cowberry and haw are materials for brewing wine. There are 300 varieties of wild plants that provide a rich source for honey-making. Among its 437 species of wild animals, there are precious fur animals and feather fowls such as sables, otters, lynx, Manchurian tigers, leopards, and flowery-tail pheasants. Precious animals that can be used as medicinal materials include red deer, musk deer, brown bears, badgers, frogs, and wood frogs. Animals of high economic value include wild boars, roe deer, and grouses.
Agriculture and crops:
The province’s soil is fertile, suitable for growing grains, beans, oil crops, beetroot, tobacco, jute, potato, ginseng, traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, and fruits. The province’s sown area is 3.959 million hectares.
Its per capita consumption of grain, the commodity rate of grain, the volume of grains shipped to other provinces, and the export of corn are leading the country continuously for many years.
The province is China’s largest base of commercial grain. It produces corn, soybean and rice.
The Song-Liao Plain in Jilin is an important grain base of the country and a world-known corn-growing zone.
The province boasts rich tourism resources. In the provincial capital Changchun, there are the former government office of the Manchurian State established by the Japanese invaders during World War II, the Jingyuetan Forest Park, the Monument to the Martyrs of the Soviet Red Army, the Automobile Town, and the Changchun Film Studio. There are also the Jilin University, the Changchun Institute of Optical and Mechanical Engineering, and the Changchun University. Among its five-star hotels are Mingmen Hotel and the Shangri-la Hotel. In Jilin City, there are the mountain city of Gaojuli on Mount Longtans; Beishan Park; the Songhua Lake in Fengman; the Baohai Ancient Tombs in Mount Liuding of Dunhua; the Chengzishan mountain city in Yanji; the Changbeishan Nature Reserve that covers a vast area in the three counties of Changbei, Antu and Fusong and boasts scenic spots such as the Heavenly Pond, waterfalls, and groups of hot springs and grand canyons. In Tonghua, there is the Tomb of General Yang Jingyu. In Ji’an, there are the Wandu mountain city; Donggou Ancient Tombs; the General Mausoleum known as the “oriental pyramid” and the stone tablet of King Haotai. Furthermore, there is the Liao Pagoda in Nong’an and the group of volcanoes at Yitong.
Jilin Province is located in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere, east of the Euro-Asian continent, the northernmost section of the temperate zone in China, nearing the sub-frigid zone. The eastern part of the province is close to the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, where the atmosphere is moist often accompanied with much rain. The climate of its western part, which is far from the sea and approaches to the arid Mongolian Plateau, is dry. As a whole, the province has a distinct temperate continental monsoon climate with a clear-cut change of four seasons. The yearly average temperature of most part of the province is 3-5 °C. The annual time of sunshine is 2,200—3,000 hours. The annual average accumulated temperature in activity is 2,700—3,600 °C. The precipitation of the province in a year is 550—910 mm and the frost-free period lasts 120—160 days. With hot and rainy days in the same season, it is good for farming. The frost period begins in the last 10 days of September and lasts until the end of April or early May.