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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

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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