Close to the city of Zhaoqing in Guangdong province lies a territory known as the ‘Green Jewel of the Tropic of Cancer’. Home to centuries-old forests that shelter important Buddhist shrines, Dinghushan was designated China’s first nature reserve and became one of the first UNESCO biosphere reserves in the country.
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Dinghushan nature reserve was established in 1956, it was the first nature reserve in the People’s Republic of China and one of three sites to be designated as the country’s first biosphere reserves in 1979.
Dinghushan is one of Guangdong Province’s four famed mountain ranges, together with Danxia, Xiqiao and Luofu. The biosphere reserve is renowned for its lakes and Buddhist shrines, such as the Baiyun and Qingyun temples.
Dinghushan is an important habitat to the elegant silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera). An impressive sight to behold on the grassy slopes or in a wood clearing, the male’s dashing tailfeathers can measure up to 75 cm.
The great altitudinal range makes up for its compact size. The biosphere reserve harbours a rich biodiversity: 1,778 species of wild higher plants, 267 species of birds, 77 species of reptiles and amphibians, 41 species of mammals and 836 species of macrofungi.
The humid and hot climate of southern China sets the atmosphere for Dinghushan’s hilly terrain. Its steep inclines are covered in primary forests of evergreen broadleaf and thought to be over 400 years old.