Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 531-539.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017022

• Original Papers: Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of the orchid trade at public markets and implications for conservation in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China

Yaqiong Song1,3,#, Zhilong Liu1#, Sophie Willian1, Jiangyun Gao2,*()   

  1. 1 Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishaungbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    2 Laboratory of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2017-01-21 Accepted:2017-03-09 Online:2017-05-20 Published:2017-06-06
  • Contact: Song Yaqiong,Gao Jiangyun


The Xishuangbanna region is one of the orchid hotspots in China. To understand the characteristics and trends of the orchid trade in the region, we surveyed six public markets in 2015. We identified and recorded 107 orchid species, belonging to 38 genera. Among them, 87.9% of the species were epiphytic. Apart from Dendrobium officinale, all species were collected in the wild. Among the 106 wild-harvested species, 93.4% were originally distributed to Xishuangbanna, and represented a quarter of the total species found in the area. The record frequencies of most species were very low. Only 14 species were recorded more than ten times, suggesting that the collection and trade of wild orchids was not systematic. Most of the sellers were local people. Collecting wild orchids for sale was not their main economic activity, and none of them collected or traded orchids across international borders. The highest abundance of orchids was recorded between April and June. Dendrobium species were traded the most. In total, 35 Dendrobium species were identified, representing 32.7% of all the recorded species. Dendrobium species had also the highest recorded frequencies. Although recently the area has seen rapid development of commercial cultivations of medicinal Dendrobium orchids, this development does not seem to have reduced the harvesting pressure on wild Dendrobium species and on the contrary, may have encouraged it. Based on market surveys, we make several conservation suggestions targeting orchids in the area.

Key words: orchid trade, conservation, Dendrobium industry, over-harvesting, Xishuangbanna