The Tianmu Mountain is situated within the Tianmushan Biosphere Reserve in eastern China. It is home to five unique specimens of Ostrya rehderiana, a tree known as the single child of the Earth. These few individuals comprise the total population of this species worldwide. Research is being carried out in the biosphere reserve on these trees to improve their conservation and to save it from extinction.
Listen to this podcast to hear the stories of Yang Shuzhen and Yang Wenjie who live and work in the biosphere reserve.
Tianmushan is a safe haven for the Sika deer (Cervus nippon), an emblematic species throughout East Asia that used to range from Vietnam to Siberia. It preserves its spots into adulthood with varying patterns from region to region.
The twin peaks of West Tianmu (1,506 m) and East Tianmu (1,480 m) each have ponds near their summits, inspiring the name of Tianmu Shan or ‘Mountain of the Heavenly Eyes’. These mountains hold signiﬁcance in Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
The 1,200 m altitudinal range and monsoon climate result in rapidly changing vegetation. Scrubland, marshes, bamboo forest, evergreen, deciduous broad-leaved trees and conifers create a concentrated web of biodiversity.
The ‘Kingdom of big trees’ is home to the largest remaining wild Ginkgo forest in the country, with 200 Ginkgo trees. Other old trees include Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), Taiwan red pine (Pinus taiwanensis), golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) and Chinese nutmeg tree (Torreya grandis).