Situated in the Yangtze River basin in eastern China, the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve was formed in 1975 to preserve an area of the old-growth evergreen broadleaved forest in the region (1) (2).
Evergreen broadleaved forest is a key habitat in eastern Asia, extending not only in a broad belt across 1,750,000 square kilometres of southern China, but also covering large areas of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Japan (3).
The evergreen forests of Gutianshan National Nature Reserve cover slopes that rise from 500 metres above sea level up to the highest peak, Shi’er Shan, at 1,258 metres (4). The peaks and steep cliffs of the reserve give birth to an abundance of rapid streams, whose waters flow into the vast Poyang Lake before entering the great Yangtze River (4).
With an average annual temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and an average of almost 2 metres of rain each year, which falls primarily between March and September (1), the climate within the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve is highly favourable for plant growth (3). As a result, the evergreen broadleaved forests of eastern China are among the most productive agricultural regions in the country. A variety of temperate and subtropical crops thrive here, most importantly paddy rice, but also tobacco, sweet potatoes and barley (3).