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Tianchi reserve houses rich genetic resources of Yunnan pine

Updated:2017-08-10 17:32:49   english.yunnan.cn

The Tianchi nature reserve in west Yunnan’s Yunlong County has long been lauded as a treasure house of genetic resources for Yunnan pine.

Yunnan pines at Tianchi nature reserve

The Yunnan pine is an indigenous tree species of southwestern China, with its natural distribution centering around Yunnan, according to a recent report by the Forestry Department of Yunnan Province.

"Tianchi Reserve lies at the core of Yunnan pine origin area. In early 1950s, renowned Chinese botanist Wu Zhengyi proposed to set up a germplasm base for Yunnan pine here ", said Yin Ruihe, deputy director of the Management and Protection Bureau of Tianchi Reserve. 

Since the reserves was founded in 1983, natural stands of the Yunnan pine have been under provincial protection. 

"In the Tianchi reserve, natural stands of Yunnan pine covers 8710.2 hectare, making up 60.2 percent of the total area,” said Xu Huiming, a research fellow in the reserve. “Since 1990s, two areas have been designated as the germplasm base for Yunnan pine."

At the Xiaoping area, Yunnan pine varieties coexist: pine seedlings, medium pines in their teens, and century-old pines with a height of over 20 meters. 

"The coexistence shows the pine has strong ability in natural regeneration,” said Zhang Lizhou, a reserve staff in charge of eco-tourism. “Yunnan pine in the reserve can be divided into six sub-categories, and the variety makes the reserve an ideal place to study Yunnan pine."

With a pinecone in hand, Xu Huiming told about the propagation of Yunan pine.

“A cone of Yunnan pine contains many seeds, with each seed having two petty wings. When the cone falls at ripeness, seeds will leave the cone shell and fly to all directions.”

Thanks to favorable earth and climate conditions, the seeds will mostly sprout and grow to be tender seedlings in the surrounding areas of any lofty pine tree in the following year.

Yunnan pine was over-exploited in some other localities of the province. “By setting up a genetic base, excellent seeds in the nature reserve are collected and dispatched to the localities to achieve forestation,” said a specialist with the Forestry Department of Yunnan Province. 

At a certain area of the reserve, each Yunnan pine is equipped with a signage of figures. “This is a quadrat, and we use the data to study and monitor Yunnan pine," said Xu Huiming.

Based on the data, the pine increment in the area will be calculated, providing scientific evidences for genetic resources protection and sustained exploitation of the pine.

Yunnan Pine is of considerable economic importance in China, with natural stands covering between 5.5 and 6 million hectare and 275,000 ha in plantations across the country.

Chinese reporting by Zhu Jinlei, Trans-editing by Eric Wang

Keywords:   Tianchi reserve Yunnan pine