China travel guide

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China Travel Guide

Forests in China

Forests in China The vast territory of China and its particular geography have created a diversity of forest types. In northern China there are large tracts of coniferous forest that harbor unique wildlife, including moose and Asiatic black bear and around 120 types of birds. Humid conifer forests usually have thickets of bamboo in template zones. In higher areas appear rhododendrons with yew and juniper.

The central and southern China is occupied by subtropical forests. 140,000 species of flora, along with the well-known giant panda, golden monkey, and South China tiger inhabit in these areas. Yunnan and Hainan Island contain also a great variety of subtropical species.

The excessive deforestation of Chinese forests in the last half-century has caused irreparable harm in the country and still has considerable consequences, like flooding in the banks of the greatest rivers, the increase of desertification in the north and west, water shortages in the whole country and a over-exploited forestry sector.

The "Green Great Wall" campaign, initiated in 1970s, along with other associated reforestation efforts has achieved the recovery of some natural forests despite that logging continues. Today, the efforts are focused on main river systems such as the Yangtze, Yellow and Liao rivers, to control their flow and reduce their contamination; while anti-desertification projects are been developed on north-central China, particularly in Inner Mongolia and Ningxia.

Unfortunately, the natural value of the replanted forests is very lower than the original forests. Replaced forests provide wood for industrial and household purposes, but it does not effectively restore the function of natural forests in retaining water, protecting soil or preserving wildlife.

Another big problem is the immense number of people who depend of the timber commerce. These loggers have reduced the forest areas of almost all provinces including the humid subtropical forests of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi, where giant panda inhabits. Giant panda requires great quantities of bamboo, which grows only with an upper storey of trees (trees prevent that bamboo wither).

Logging in Yunnan is also devastating the habitat of the snub-nosed monkey. Some parts of the province are protected, but the unstoppable necessity of timber at this poor region - wood is the unique valuable resource - maintains an uncertain future for the specie.

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