Flora and fauna of China

Chinese flora

The flora of China is a set of plant species historically established in the territory of the People’s Republic of China. China’s plant cover is characterized by its great diversity and richness of forms, including more than 31,000 species of vascular plants growing in all climatic zones in China, constituting nearly ⅛ of the total number of known plant species, including thousands species endemic to mainland China.

There are many forest species in China, and in the northeast and northwest of the country there are boreal coniferous forests in mountainous areas, which are home to many species of wildlife, including Himalayan elk and bear, many species of birds and insects. In the foothills, along with moist coniferous forests, there are thickets of bamboo and rhododendrons, and in the highlands there are juniper and yew.

In the central and southern regions of China, subtropical forests predominate, in which more than 14,000 species grow. Tropical and monsoon forests grow in the south of the country, in Yunnan province and Hainan Island, and are extremely rich, accounting for a quarter of China’s biodiversity.

A forest in Yunnan

By the nature of vegetation and wildlife, China is clearly divided into eastern and western parts.

The modern vegetation cover of the eastern part of the country has been strongly affected by the long and very intense economic use of the territories. Native forests have been preserved mainly in mountainous areas; the lowlands are almost entirely cultivated. However, the flora of eastern China is quite rich: there are more than 25 thousand species, among which there are many relics of the tertiary period.

Several natural zones change from north to south. In the north, in the Amur basin, the taiga is dominated by podzolic soils, with a predominance of larch and Korean cedar; among the conifers also grow broad-leaved breeds. Mixed forests (coniferous and broadleaf) gradually change as you move south, with oak, linden, maple, and walnut predominating on the slopes of the Qin Range.

To the south of the Qin mountain range begins the belt of subtropical forests, represented by various species of laurel, camellia and magnolia. In mountainous areas there are numerous deciduous species. In the far south, on the red and yellow iron and red soils, there are tropical forests, and in western Yunnan there are savannahs.

The western part of the country is monotonous in its vegetal composition. Xerophytes (drought-resistant evergreen shrubs and shrubs) predominate and the ground cover is thin.

vegetation tibet flora

The Tibetan Plateau is represented by cold high mountain deserts, where there are very few species adapted to extra-arid conditions, along with strong winds and increased solar radiation. Only in the eastern part of the sierra, where the climate becomes milder and more humid, do mountain meadows appear, and even coniferous forests appear lower on the slopes.

Chinese wildlife

China’s vast and diverse landscape is home to a profound variety and abundance of wildlife. As one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, China has, by one measure, 7,516 vertebrate species, including 4,936 fish, 1,269 birds, 562 mammals, 403 reptiles and 346 amphibian species. In terms of the number of species, China ranks third in the world for mammals, eighth for birds, seventh for reptiles and seventh for amphibians.

Panda bear

One of the most famous symbols of China, pandas are a rare species of bear found in bamboo forests in southwestern China. These are very rare animals and their population is only about 2,000 individuals today and about 300 are in zoos.

Panda bear

Wild pandas are usually found in the high mountain ranges of central China. Since these animals are endangered, the protection of the giant panda is vital to Chinese policy. It is one of the most popular Chinese animals in the world.

Tibetan antelope

The Tibetan antelope (or chiru) is a medium-sized bovid found on the Tibetan plateau of Qinghai. There are about 100,000 Tibetan antelope distributed throughout the Qinghai, Tibet and Xinjiang plateaus, but their population is now known to be increasing.

tibetan antelope

But at the same time, many of these shy animals are being poached, which is why it is also considered endangered. They often feed only on grass and during the winter they dig through the snow to find their food.

Golden snub-nosed langur

These are one of the rarest monkey species and are found only in China. These monkeys have a diminished nose and golden hair, hence their name. These monkeys can live in a group of 5 to 10 or in bands of about 100 monkeys.

golden snub langur

At present, it is found that there are only around 15,000 golden snub-nosed monkeys and they are all found in parts of Central China in and around Gansu, Hubei and Sichuan provinces.

Pink dolphin

Commonly known as boto (or bufeo), it is a special species of dolphin characterized by its pink color and a hump on its dorsal fin. It is distributed in waters of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, as well as in eastern China.

pink dolphin

This dolphin does not socialize much; not with humans and not even with his own kind. They are known to be solitary and prefer to swim alone.

Golden pheasant

This pheasant is considered by the Chinese to be a sign of good fortune and everlasting beauty. It has golden and yellow feathers, hence its name. The golden pheasant is native to the mountainous forests of western and central China.

golden pheasant

These birds are bright and colorful, while the males are more attractive than the females. They are shy and difficult to see birds and often try to hide in the dark and dense forests where they live. They have strong wings and can fly for a long time without any hindrance.

Amoy tiger

This ferocious tiger is found in central and southern China. There were more than a thousand of these tiger species in the early 2000s, but today, it is estimated that there are only around 100 in captivity.

amoy tiger

Most of these tigers disappeared in the wild and were never seen again due to the rapid colonization of the regions where they lived. They are becoming an endangered species due to habitat loss and human hunting.

Chinese alligator

The Chinese alligator is one of the smallest crocodiles with a stocky body and rough scales on the back and comparatively smoother scales on the front.

chinese alligator wildlife

These alligators were quite abundant years ago, but right now they are numbered and live in the lower Yangtze River. They are currently classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List.

Chow chow

Of course, one of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world is on this list! What makes this breed of dog special is that it has a bluish-black or purple tongue and lips. In fact, it is the only dog ​​in the world that has such a strange distinction on its tongue and lips.

chow chow

Aggression is a major problem with these dogs and they become aggressive when they see a dog of their own sex. But it is a medium-sized dog, growing from 40 to 50 cm and weighing only 20 to 35 kilograms. They have post like straight legs, which contributes somewhat to a zigzagging gait.

Bactrian camel

A clear feature that separates the Bactrian camel from its Arabian relatives is the fact that they have two humps on their backs. These humps help store energy and fat, which goes a long way in helping camels cover legendary distances without a drop of water and even in the harsh conditions of the Chinese desert.

Bactrian camel

After a severe drought, they have the ability to drink a quarter of their body weight in one sitting. But unfortunately, these camel species are critically endangered right now. It is one of the animals on the list that could disappear forever.

Nippon ibis

In 1964, an ornithologist recorded what was believed to be the last crested ibis sighted in the wild in China. But Chinese researcher Liu Yinzeng wasn’t so sure, and after six years of searching he came across an adult pair with three chicks in Yang County, Shaanxi Province.

nippon ibis

There were guards around the tree and fertilizers, pesticides and shotguns were banned from the area. Today, the area is a conservation zone for the crested ibis and the population of the species is more than 2,600 individuals.

Przewalski’s horse

Przewalski’s horse, also known as the takhi, was once believed to be the world’s last wild horse (meaning its ancestors were never domesticated), but a new study suggests it descended from a breed of domesticated horse.

Przewalski's horse

Hunting, habitat loss, and interbreeding with other horses led to its extinction in the wild in the 1960s, but efforts to reintroduce the population to China and Mongolia have been successful, and the horse was reclassified as “critically endangered.” » in 2008, and then «endangered» in 2011. WWF attributes the survival of Przewalski’s horse to zoo conservation programs.


This bovine is very popular with Himalayan settlers. This animal is one of the representatives of the Chinese fauna. The word “yak” in the Tibetan language means “male”, and the females are known as “nak” in this region.


This animal has long, dense, dark-colored fur that is usually black or brown, and has short, hoofed legs. The yak can weigh up to a tonne and be two meters tall in the wild. They have almost no problems with predators. The females and their young live in herds and the males live alone.

These animals were domesticated by man about 3,000 years ago and are used for their strength, to carry loads. In addition, they provide milk to make cheese and butter, and wool to make blankets and coats.

Red panda

This endangered mammal is another of the typical animals of the area. It inhabits the southern region of the country, particularly in temperate and humid forests, with abundant bamboo trees. As its name suggests, its fur is red. However, it looks more like a raccoon than a bear, because it is small and has a long tail.

Red panda

The red panda is a sedentary animal that is only active at dawn and dusk. It is sensitive to heat and is able to move from branch to branch sleeping with its tail covering its face. In addition, it “cleans” its legs and stomach every day before eating. In addition to eating bamboo, it also eats berries, mushrooms, roots, and fruits.

Snow Leopard

Also called an irbis, this cat is common in the mountains of Central Asia, which are over 6,000 meters high. That is why there is very little information about this animal that has dense gray hair, with black spots and a white belly. His tail is very long and furry because he uses it to cover himself while he sleeps.

chinese snow leopard

The snow leopard is in danger of extinction, due to hunting for its fur. This predator feeds on rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds, shrews, and even goats and cattle, attacking during the day. It is one of the few cats that does not roar, because its vocal cords are very small.

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