Biodiv Sci

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Plant biodiversity assessment of the ancient tea garden ecosystem in Jingmai of Lancang, Yunnan

Danhui Qi1, 2, Huijun Guo1*, Jingyun Cui1, Caiyu Sheng1   

  1. 1 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
    2 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2004-12-01 Revised:2005-04-25 Online:2005-05-20 Published:2005-05-20
  • Contact: Huijun Guo


Ancient tea gardens in Lancang County, Yunnan Province are regarded as the provenance of the well-known Pu’er Tea. The ancient tea garden ecosystem is a typical example for the integration of conser-vation and utilization of natural resources. In order to understand its role in biodiversity conservation, we conducted field surveys in 78 sample plots of 20 m×20 m, and surveyed 360 households using house-hold-based agrobiodiversity assessment(HH-ABA) in two neighboring administrative villages, Mangjing and Jingmai, of Lancang County. The results showed that (1) the geobotanical components of Jingmai and Mang-jing areas are of obviously tropical characteristics; (2) a large number of important species, including five endangered, seven vulnerable and three rare, are well protected in the ancient tea gardens. Among them, 11 species are listed in Category III of the State Protection List; (3) the plant diversity of ancient tea gardens is slightly lower than that of natural forests but much higher than that of normal tea gardens; (4) the life forms of plant species in the ancient tea gardens are as follows: herbs> arbors> shrubs> vines>epiphytes (including parasites). Compared to natural forests, there are less arbors and shrubs and more herbs and epiphytes (in-cluding parasites) in the ancient tea gardens; (5) the analysis of agrobiodiversity revealed that there existed differences in species richness and resource utilization extent from different villages. The average species richness index in the 6 villages is 0.059, which is higher than that of upland rice field and rubber plantation at the same latitude. The ancient tea gardens in this area play important roles in maintaining biodiversity. We suggest that local peoples’ knowledge and experiences on resource management should be well documented and encouraged, and effective conservation and reasonable utilization of ancient tea gardens would be achieved through training and demonstration with the participation of the local government, research insti-tutions and farmers.