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Shennongjia National Natural Reserve

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 with the extreme high temperature of 36.4 and lowest temperature of 17.7 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.

 Physical Features      

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 China".


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 species.


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.
footprint and hairs of Chinese "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.