Located in the juncture of three counties of
Badong, Xingshan and Fangxian, Hubei Province, the southwest of Shennongjia
National Nature Reserve is on the border of Xiangfan City, Yichang City and
Wanxian County respectively. The Reserve was established in 1982 with a total
area of 70,467 hectares. The Reserve encompasses three vertical vegetation zones
namely subtropical, warm temperate and cold temperate; hence, it is an ideal
place for ecological research on biodiversity, typicality and natural transition
of vegetation. Shennongjia National Nature Reserve was accepted by the
International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network of UNESCO in 1990.
The Reserve lies in the transitional zone of
northern subtropical to mid subtropical. It is cool, moist and rainy. Its
average temperature is 7.9¡æ with the extreme high temperature of 36.4¡æ and lowest temperature of
17.7¡æ below zero. Its
yearly precipitation averages 1,440 millimeters. July and August are rainy
seasons. Generally speaking, it is in the glacier period from the end of
September to the next April and is covered with hails all year round.
Complicated terrain, plenty of rain, big relative height difference and other
reasons make the Reserve a mysterious place.
Located between Daba Mountain and Wudang
Mountain, Shennongjia is a part of Qinba Mountains, extending from southwest to
northeast. In the Reserve, the highest peak, Shennongding, is 3,105.4 meters
above sea level while the lowest place has an altitude of 398 meters. Its
average altitude is 1,700 meters and there are 6 peaks whose altitude top 3,000
meters. Hence, Shennongjia has been called "the roof of central
The unique geographical location has
provided the Reserve with opportunities to preserve precious plants and animals.
There are 2,062 species of pteridophyte and seed plants. Among them, 32 species
including dove trees, Katsura trees and ginkgoes are under the state protection;
33 species are indigenous Shennongjia plants. There are more than a thousand
medicinal plants including Magnolia officinalis, Gastrodia elata
and Coptis chinensis in the Reserve, so it is called Natural
Medicinal Park. In addition, the Reserve is rich in domesticate wild
plants and close relative plants. During the period of 1986-1990, 163 crop
species are collected such as yangtao, Chinese goosebeery and Hubei Hawthorn,
which are of great value for breeding new varieties or improving current
It is known that there are 336 species of
terrestrial vertebrate, 200 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and 27
orders of insects that approximately account for 81.8% of the total. 40 species
of animals such as golden monkeys, South China tigers, golden eagles and giant
salamanders are under the first-grade state protection. White bears, white
monkeys and white toad are found in the Reserve now and then. In addition,
Shennongjia is also famous for the sightings of wild, ape-like creatures -- a
Chinese equivalent of the Himalayan Yeti or Bigfoot.
The stories are interesting, which attracted
great attention from scientists at home and abroad. Many scientists have been to
Shennongjia National Nature Reserve and got some preliminary results. It is also
said that the creatures seem to be able to distinguish between peasants and
scientists -- molesting the former and evading the latter.
|footprint and hairs of Chinese