Over 300 rare and endangered plant species will be relocated for better protection and a regeneration center will be established in southern China within two years, said the Botanical Garden of South China.
Dr. Ren Hai, director of the garden, said that the new project involves a total investment of 35 million yuan (US$4.2 million). The capital will be used to set up reservation areas around the plant’s original habitats in collaboration with the local forestry bureau and the agriculture bureau. More than 300 rare and endangered plants will be resettled in the botanical garden for the purpose of exhibition, research and regeneration. The total number of plants in the Botanical Garden of South China will be increased from 6,000 to 10,000. In addition, the garden will develop a database for each species.
Southern China has many ancient plant species and Guangdong Province has 66 species listed in the Plants Under State Protection, including the black tree fern, the Chinese yew, the Guangdong pine, and the Tsoong’s tree (Tsoongiodendron odorum Chun). The living environments for these plants have changed dramatically and many rare plants are on the verge of extinction. People have had to adopt new measures and the botanical garden will become the new home for many of the plants. Dr. Ren Hai admitted that the biggest challenge in moving the species to the garden is creating a similar growth environment. For example, there are more than 300 kinds of longans. All longans are closely linked to each other and are affected by a variety of inherited characteristics. We need to collect all possible kinds of longan for study and research. If one kind happens to have a natural immunity to a particular disease or pest, they can be cross bred with other kinds through disease-resistant research.
China has one of world’s largest reserves of plants. However, among its 33,000 plants 15 to 20 percent are considered endangered species.
The protection of China’s plant species has been listed as one of China’s Knowledge Innovation Projects. There are three important protection areas that have the richest varieties of plants. One is southwest China’s Xishuangbanna, another is south China, Hainan and Guangdong, and the other is in the Qinlin Mountain Ranges in the northwest.
(China.org.cn by Zhaomeng December 16, 2002)