Biodiversity Science ›› 2003, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (1): 70-77.doi: 10.17520/biods.2003010

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A general review of the conservation status of Chinese orchids

LUO Yi-Bo1, JIA Jian-Sheng2, WANG Chun-Ling2   

  1. 1 Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany,Institute of Botany,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100093
    2 Department of Wild Fauna and Flora Conservation and Management,State Forestry Administration,Beijing 100714
  • Received:2002-07-01 Revised:2002-11-01 Online:2003-01-20
  • LUO Yi-Bo

Orchids are a flagship group in plant conservation. There are about 1,247 species and about 171 genera in China. The Chinese orchid flora is distinguished by having rich diversity in geographical types, especially by having a broad subtropical area lying between the Qinling Mountains and the Tropic of Cancer. This paper generally reviews the present situation of research and conservation of Chinese orchids. The publication of three volumes of flora of China (Orchidaceae), and some local flora of orchids, such as those for Hainan, Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guangxi Provinces, has laid down a profound foundation not only for correctly identifying and naming Chinese orchids but also for properly making conservation policy and strategies. Compared with relatively rich taxonomic knowledge, however, there is a wide gap in our knowledge of orchid ecology and many other aspects of orchid biology related to conservation. Five main priorities for education and scientific research for the long and short terms are suggested. First, strengthen and improve basic research such as ecology, biology and floristics. Second, identify and categorize Chinese orchid diversity hot spots at the country level. Third, promote study of ex situ conservation techniques, particularly developing artificial propagation methods for commercially important species, and starting reintroduction of selected endangered species. Fourth, develop public education programs through school lessons, the press, TV and radio. Finally, establish a scientific information pool at national level.

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