Shennongjia Nature Reserve

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Updated: 2011-06-27

Located in the juncture of three counties of Badong, Xingshan and Fangxian, Hubei Province, Shennongjia National Nature 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.

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 six peaks whose altitude top 3,000 meters. Hence, Shennongjia has been called "the roof of central China".

July and August are rainy seasons. Generally speaking, the glacier and hail period starts late September and ends in April. Complicated terrain, plenty of rain, varying altitudes make the Reserve a mysterious place.

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 are under the state protection; 33 species are indigenous Shennongjia plants.

There are more than 1,000 species of medicinal herbs, so it is called Natural Medicinal Park. It is also known that there are 336 species of terrestrial vertebrate, 200 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and 27 orders of insects living in the reserve.

Forty species of animals such as golden monkeys, South China tigers, golden eagles and giant salamanders are under the first-grade national 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. Rumors also said that the creatures seem to be able to distinguish between peasants and scientists -- molesting the former and evading the latter.

Yantian Scenic Zone

Yantian Scenic Zone is located in the northwestern Shennongjia, covering an area of 926 sq km. It features virgin forest scenery, distinctive plantation, caves and folk customs.

The area is covered with different trees, bushes, bamboos and grass, which have granted clear air and quiet environment.

It is a perfect place to watch snow in winter. The frozen waterfall, the snow-capped mountains and trees form a majestic picture of natural harmony.

Shennongjia Natural Museum

Located in Songbai town, Shennongjia Natural Museum is the only one regional natural museum in Central China. A large number of specimens of animals and plants and samples of rocks are collected in the museum.

The building has two floors. On the first floor, there are more than 2,000 specimens of plants. Many of them are rare and endangered species.

On the second floor, there are more than 400 specimens of animals. The albino animals and golden monkey are among the most eye-catching ones.

See photos of Shengnongjia on the next page.

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