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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Foping Biosphere Reserve, corresponding to the Foping Nature Reserve, located in the Shanxi Province at the southern side of the Qinling Mountains, is one of the three major habitats of the giant panda in the country. It belongs to the mid-alpine region and includes well-preserved primitive forest communities unique to the Qinling Mountains at altitudes above 2,200 metres. Foping Biosphere Reserve encompasses typical and complete mountain forest ecosystems and landscapes where the northern subtropical and warm temperate zones meet, and has rich biodiversity and natural heritage represented by the giant panda. It also abounds with important medicinal plant species, and has significant potential for ecotourism and scientific research.

The area is situated where typical North, Central and Southwest China flora meet. There are 1,765 species of wild plants including wild economic plants such as medicinal, aromatic and oil-bearing plants. The fauna is a mixture of species in a transition zone including both the oriental and the palaearctic realms. It is characterized by having a complex composition, ancient origin, capacity of survival, and polymorphism. The Biosphere Reserve includes key rare and endangered species such as the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), takin (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi), golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellanae), South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) and Indian leopard (P. pardus fusca). The Qinling Mountains provides an ideal habitat for the giant panda and comprises the densest population with a population size of 89-97 (2002) of the total 280 that live in the Qinling range. The unique geographical location and relatively primitive environment provide the giant panda with adequate food and a sound environment, and also presents a natural area for the study and protection of the species.

Foping is a semi-enclosed state with poor transport facilities and low human activity. The local population, all belonging to the Han ethnic group, consists of some 8,000 people. They live from traditional farming supplemented by commercial tree planting and propagation. Local people mainly plant economically useful trees such as the medicinal plant Macrocarpiun officinale. The Biosphere Reserve has been proactive in helping local communities develop their economy by providing guidance and financial assistance. One project aimed at helping the local farmers changing their previous slash-and-burn method leading to an increase of the average yield of grain per unit area. A complex diversity of landscapes, complete forest ecosystems, and rich and diversified biological resources provide a research and teaching base for a range of disciplines and they also serve as an open classroom and laboratory to popularize natural sciences and environmental education.

The Overall Planning of Foping Nature Reserve, which was approved by the State Forestry Administration in 2000, is a plan for the construction of infrastructure and hardware facilities, implementation mechanisms for conservation and research projects, ecotourism and community participation.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broadleaf forests or woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Sub-alpine shrub vegetation, meadow/periglacial landform with Spiraea myrtilloides, Potentilla arbuscula var. mandshurica, Lonicera hispida etc.; Alpine coniferous forest/periglacial landform, sub-alpine meadow soil characterized by Larix chinensis, Fargesia qinlingensis, Abies fargesii etc.; Coniferous broadleaf mixed forest/alpine brown soil, alpine dark brown soil, broad-valley peaks and ranges including Tsuga chinensis, Betula utilis, Abies chensiensis etc.; Warm temperate deciduous broadleaf forest/alpine yellow-brown soil, alpine brown soil with Quercus glandulifera var. brevipetiolata, Q. variabilis, Q. aliena var. acuteserrata etc.; Subtropical evergreen deciduous broadleaf mixed forest/river valley systems, characterized by Quercus aliena var. acuteserrata, Q. spinosa, Bashania fargesii etc.
  Location   3327'36" to 3346'0"N; 10739'36" to 10759'24"E
3335'24"N; 10749'48"E (Central point)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   10,326
  Core area(s)   10,326
  Buffer zone(s)   6,139
  Transition area(s) when given   55,978
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +700 to +2,904
  Year designated   2004
  Administrative authorities   Shanxi Foping State-level Nature Reserve Administration, reporting to State Forestry Administration of China
  Brief description   The zonation provides the basis for resource protection and reserve management. It was defined using the following principles:
Favourable to maintaining the integrity and primitive features of the natural ecosystems and safeguarding the primitive habitats of the protected targets and other species. The core area should be big enough to guarantee effective protection of the resources and a baseline for measuring long-term dynamic changes of the ecosystems;
Favourable to the conservation and management of natural resources and ecosystems. It should also facilitate the maintenance of special communities' integrity;
It should contribute to scientific research, education and reasonable development and utilization of resources to enhance the development capacity of local communities;
It should help achieve long-term, steady and sustainable development as well as internal networking with infrastructure facilities and links to the external society.
The core area was defined for the protection of the giant panda and its habitats, biodiversity and the intact forest ecosystems. The buffer zone provides the basis for scientific research and monitoring. Human activities and settlements are regulated

Monitoring of meteorological factors; Studies on the Qinling giant panda (adaptability of the population to different living environments, types and distribution pattern of bamboo, genetic studies of the populations, GIS application for its protection); Study of the breeding strategy of male takin (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi); National panda monitoring system concerning the panda population and their habitats; Wide community participation plan with the objective to coordinate development between economy and resource conservation and between man and nature; Annual socio-economic survey among different communities to monitor and assess factors related to socio-economy, population structure, culture and education, medical and health services, mode of resource use, industry, land use, energy demand and consumption and resource management; Monitoring of the impacts of community activities.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Habitat, meteorology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Breeding/Reproduction, conservation, fauna, genetic resources, mammals, monitoring/methodologies, plants, population genetics/population dynamics.
  Socio-economic   Cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, human health, industry, local participation, monitoring methodologies, people-nature relations/man/nature, resource use, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   Education and public awareness, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, land use/land cover, management issues.
  Contact address   Ma Yisheng
Shanxi Foping State-level Nature Reserve Administration
12 Huangjiawan Road, Foping County
 Shanxi Province
  Telephone   (86.0916) 8916002
  Fax   (86.0916) 8916002

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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