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Saving the Last Rainforest in Southwest China -- Restoration of Forest Ecosystems and Building Sustainable Livelihood in Xishuangbanna and Pu’er of Yunnan, China

Release time:2018-07-31



Saving the Last Rainforest in Southwest China
-- Restoration of Forest Ecosystems and
Building Sustainable Livelihood in
Xishuangbanna and Pu’er of Yunnan, China

(Progress Update as of September, 2017)


International Fund for China’s Environment as one of the program partner, we are constantly concerning the development of this program as well as propagating the achievements, call for more and more people's attention to Rehabilitation of Tropical Rainforest and Protection of Wild Asian Elephants.
The following is the summary for 2017.



Component 01: Rehabilitation of Tropical Rainforest & Improvement of Ecological Tea Plantations


As of August 2016, the bionic trial cultivation of 5,000 herbal dendrobe (Dendrobium chrysotoxum) clusters on trees covering about 20 ha., > 95% survival rate, in the natural tropical rainforest in Zhengdong Township of Jiangcheng County in Pu’er City.

Following the previous successful trial cultivation  on the demonstration site, 15,000 herbal dendrobe (D. chrysotoxum) clusters were cultivated on some valuable tree species covering about 47 ha. in the natural forest in and around the Sanguo Farm in Zhengdong Township of Jiangcheng County from October 2016 to April 2017.

In May 2107, we cultivated 200,000 herbal dendrobe (D. chrysotoxum) clusters (of which 10,000 were supported by the project and the rest 190,000 by the locals) were cultivated on rare and valuable tree species covering about 67 ha. in the natural forest of the local communities and in the Sanguo Farm of Zhengdong Township.


Cultivation of herbal dendrobes (D. chrysotoxum)

Introduced and planted 700 saplings (about 2 ha.) of Malania oleifera, which is endemic to southeastern Yunnan and also a Class II state key protected species to Sanguo Farm. The species was intercropped with banana and tea. It aims at increasing the local communities’ cash income through the high added value of the nervonic acid contents of Malana (M. oleifera).


Malana (M. oleifera) — a woody plant with high value oil content

Introduced the obligate host plant Cinnamomum kanehirai for Antrodia cinnanonea, a high-valuae medicinal fungus, and established a demonstration area by mixing 11,000 C. kanehirai stems with tea trees, covering 133.3 ha. in Pu’er Tea Plantation of Sanguo Farm. A unique close-to-nature Cinnamomum-tea plantation is taking shape, where the pest and diseases resistance and the tea quality are greatly improved.


C. kanehirai – A host plant of high-value medicinal fungi

Supported and introduced 7,500 samplings (1,000 were support by the project and the rest 6,500 by the locals) of Plukenetia volubilis, an oil contented liana species and cultivated  in Sanguo Farm, covering 3.3 ha.. The initial harvest of small amount of fruits is expected in November 2017. It is an NTFP approach for the local communities to generate immediate cash income.


P. volubilis – a high value oil-contented liana species  




Component 02: Establishing Pilot Sites for Habitat Restoration (ecological corridors) of the Wild Asian Elephants

The field survey for the wild Asian Elephants, its habitat restoration and corridor building in China was accomplished in January 2017. It provided a clear understanding of the current status of the distribution of the populations and herds, status of conservation management, progress in habitat restoration & corridor building projects, and the anthropogenic and elephant conflicts (including types, extents, causes and trends) of wild elephant populations in China. The threats on and needs of wild elephant conservation in China were identified and the relevant strategies proposed.




Conflicts between anthropogenic activities and the wild Asian elephant


Asian Elephant Hurt by Human-being




The survey shows that wild elephants in China are distributed in  Xishuangbann, Lincang and Pu’er prefectures/cities of Yunnan Province, totaling  259-302 individuals in 33-36 herds. Out of such a population, 116-151 individuals in 15-18 groups, as well as 5-13 lonely individuals in Xishuangbanna, about 25-32 individuals in 7groups migrating between northern Laos and Mengla County of Xishuangbanna. There are 20 individuals only in the 2 groups in Pu’er, and another 84 individuals in 7 groups migrating between Pu’er and Xishaunbanna. The trest 14-15 individuals, including 2 independent individuals, are in 2 groups in the Nangun River Watershed of Lincang.

The natural habitat of wild elephants in China spans about 7,000 km2  in the regions of Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Lincang and Pu’er cities, among which 12,834 patches are distributed mainly in the 3 sub-reserves of Mengyang, Mengla and Shangyong in Xishuangbanna, totaling about 6,000 km2 , the 3 districts/counties of Simao, Lancang and Jiangcheng occupying about 400 km2 in Pu’er, and the 2 townships of Banlao and Banhong covering 38 km2 in Cangyuan County of Lincang City.

In February 2017, partial information of indigenous knowledge of the ethnic groups on Asian wild elephant conservation was collected during the surveys in Cangyuan County of Lincang City and Pu’er City. Analysis was conducted on the ongoing problems and successful experiments in habitat restoration, including prescribed burning, building sites of elephant food soureces, corridor planning and other demonstration projects, and project implementation measures.



Eco-corridor Construction



In May 2017, the pilot project partners, sites and activities were identified, including: 1) Demonstration of Eco-corridor Restoration of Wild Asian Elephants --- cultivating bamboo species with high shoot yield;  2)Demonstration of Wild Asian Elephant Habitat Restoration; 3)Demonstration of Habitat Improvement for Wild Asian Elephant in China; 4) Demonstration for Building the Feeding Sites for Wild Asian Elephants in China; 5) Demonstration for establishing Environment Friendly Rubber Plantations

In May 2017, at least 8,630 clusters of bamboo (of which 3,500 clusters supported by the project, 5,130 clusters by the local communities) were planted covering 20.66 ha. It serves to provide food sources of bamboo shoots and to establish an eco-corridor for wild Asian elephants in the guided areas in Zhengdong Township of Jiangcheng County.



Shooting-bamboo Cultivation in Eco-corridor




8 sign boards illustrating wild Asian elephant distributions, pilot project sites, and relevant activities were set up in the project areas.


Project Sign Boards




Component 03: Building of Environmental Friendly Demonstration Rubber Plantation

In May 2017, 5.3 ha., totaling 8,000 plants of red ginger were planted under the forest in the environment friendly rubber tree plantation in the lower latitude area in Naban River National Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna.

Red Ginger Planting in Rubber Plantaion’s Under-growth

In July 2017, we demonstrated the establishment of artificial plantation (4 ha.) mixing rubber trees with valuable timber tree species in the higher latitude area in the upper Xiaonuoyou Village of Naban River National Nature Reserve, including the local native species of Toona ciliata, Chukrasia tabularis var.velutina, Gmelina arborea, Mesua ferrea, Aquilaria sinensis, Cinnamomum tamala, Dipterocarpus turbinatus and Dysoxylum binectariferum.

Poor Growth Performance of Rubber Plantation in the Higher Latitude Area


Mixed Local Native Tree Species in Interlaced Logged Rubber Plantation


The comprehensive training on the knowledge and practical operational skills about environment-friendly rubber plantation, and cultivation of bamboo and traditional Dai ethnic herbal plants was conducted for at least 100 trainees. The specific topics included the skills for red-ginger cultivation in the undergrowth of rubber plantation, mixing rare and valuable tree species in rubber plantation, bamboo species breeding & transplanting in the rubber plantation’s undergrowth, as well as identification, utilization, economic value and cultivation methods of traditional Dai ethnic medicinal herbs.

On-site Training

Component 04: Community Capacity Building of Sustainable Livelihood Development

In May 2017, preparation, including cluster-division, transport and transplanting of wild Chimonobambusa species was implemented, and a mixed bamboo plantation of 10ha. was established efficiently in Naban River National Nature Reserve.
Site Identification of Bamboo (Chimonobambusa) -mixed Plantation
Wild Chimonobambusa Species Transplanting


Established a 10 ha. bamboo and rattan plantation near the wild Asian elephant habitat to replace the rubber & banana plantation in Xishuangbanna. This serves as a new food source site of fresh bamboo-shoots and functions as an eco-corridor for the wild Asian elephants. Meanwhile, it provides additional alternative livelihood approach to develop high value-added NTFP economy for the local communities adjoining the nature reserve.

Another bamboo plantation of 20 ha. was established close to the wild Asian elephant habitat in the rainforest area of Pu’er City. This serves to provide fresh bamboo-shoots for the wild Asian elephants and functions as an eco-corridor as well.



Site Identification of Bamboo (Dendrocalamus)
Planting Bamboo (Dendrocalamus)


From April to May 2017, over 50 villagers were trained on-site about the skills of breeding, transplanting of the bamboo species in Naban River National Nature Reserve and Puwen Township. The villager trainees were taught those skills including cluster-division, site-preparation, transplanting of divided-clusters, culm-cuttage, and secondary-branch cuttage.

In May 2017, at least 70 villagers were trained on the knowledge and practical operation skills of environment-friendly rubber plantation, bamboo (Dendrocalamus) planting and cultivation of traditional Dai ethnic herbs in the home gardens.
On-site Training
On-site Training


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