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Home >> Northwest Yunnan >> Biodiversity

A Land of Biodiversity

There are 15,000 plant species in Yunnan, and approximately 6,000 species in the project area alone.  The project area is known throughout China as a primary source of medicinal herbs, including 40% of Chinese and 75% of Tibetan medicinal herbs.  Approximately 700 flowering plant species are endemic to Northwest Yunnan.  The area is home to 30 plant species listed as endangered and protected in China. Yunnan is the epicenter of rhododendron and azalea evolution; some 465 species are native to the area.   Primula, Gentians, Anemones, Clematis, Lilies are also endemic to Northwest Yunnan.  Some of China’s largest stands of primary forest can be found here as well. 

Northwest Yunnan provides habitat for over 30 rare and endangered species, including the Snow Leopard, the Yunnan Black Golden Monkey or Snub-nosed Monkey, the Red or Lesser Panda, and Black Necked Crane.  More than 400 species of birds are endemic to or migrate through Northwest Yunnan.   The mountains ranges are also home to Himalayan bears, wolves, foxes, mountain sheep and mountain goats.


Besides its biodiversity significance, this area provides very important ecological services for each of the four rivers, which downstream reach nearly half of the population of China and millions of Southeast Asians.  If the natural forests in this region are destroyed, vast areas and populations downstream will suffer from more severe floods and decreased water quality. 


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This web site is a project of the Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association and has been developed to introduce you to unique ecotourism opportunities around Lijiang and beyond. By developing and promoting ecotourism in Northwest Yunnan, our goal is to support environmental protection, preserve the areas’ diverse cultural heritage and contribute to community development.  Read more about this project.

Copyright © 2002 Northwest Yunnan Ecotourism Association