POST TIME: 26 May, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 May, 2017 03:39:04 AM
Gaoligong Mountains: Yunnan’s largest nature reserve
Yunnan Daily

Gaoligong Mountains: Yunnan’s largest nature reserve

This is path where forest rangers usually come and go for the patrol. Photo by Zhou Can

Editor’s note: Yunnan is one of the Chinese provinces with the most abundant biodiversity in China, and is often referred to as the “kingdom of fauna and flora”. In Yunnan, the protection of ecosystems is never a slogan but instead practical work. Over the coming weeks and months, we will take you on a tour of Yunnan’s 17 national nature reserves, relating stories and changes that have occurred over the past 60 years since the establishment of the province’s first nature reserve.

Located in western part of the province, the Gaoligong Mountains are recognized by UNESCO as an important part of interconnected biosphere reserves. The region is referred to as the “Three Parallel Rivers” protected area. Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve covers an area of 405,200 hectares and is the largest of its kind in Yunnan.

 Hundreds of millions of years ago, the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates caused the water of the ancient Mediterranean Sea to gradually recede. A plateau begun to rise out of the sea, giving birth to the Gaoligong Mountains. Thus, the Gaoligong are often referred to as “a stitch in the Earth’s crust”. The range is high in the north and low in the south, with a relative height difference of 4,918 meters. Due to the great vertical height disparities, weather along the eastern slopes of Gaoligong Mountains ranges through dry and hot valley zones, subtropical zones, warm temperate zones, , and a cold temperate zone successively from the foot to peaks. You can experience four seasons on the same day and the weather is different over a distance of just five kilometers.

There, you can see plants growing and animals living in tropical, temperate and frigid zones simultaneously in a small space. Endowed with abundant biological resources, the Gaoligong Mountain range is also known as a genetic store house. The higher plants so far discovered in the mountains cover 90 families, 800 genera and 5,133 species. To date, 3,108 species of wild animals have been discovered living amongst the mountains. (Yunnan Daily)