Zhou Jinfeng: How Should China’s National Botanical Gardens be Built? To Cherish “Sacred Hills (竜山)” and “凼(dàng)” for Biodiversity Conservation
2022/3/17 13:43:00 本站

Editor’s notes: In January 2022, China's State Council approved the establishment of a national botanical garden in Beijing. The announcement arose hot debate. Many experts have expressed different opinions on whether and how to build a national botanical garden, and whether to build several or many, as well as if the the ex-situ focused way of conservation should become a mainstream for plants conservation. Some experts are highly concerned and openly questioned that such national support could result in significant relocation and thus may result in habitat destruction.

On February 18, 2022, Dr. Jinfeng Zhou, Secretary General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), gave an open speech and proposed that the construction of China National Botanical Gardens should full absorb traditional wisdom and faith-based solutions. For example, the practice of Sacred Hills in southern villages and the Dang (, small-and-micro-sized wetlands’ in rice paddies). Here’s a translation about Zhou Jinfeng’s speech. And his speech is also available through this video: https://haokan.baidu.com/v?pd=wisenatural&vid=5149560785641812557

Really great to see quite a number of experts now concerned about how to build a national botanical garden!

From the perspective of national ecological security, there is no doubt that it is important to establish a national botanical garden system in the country. Then how to build a national botanical garden is the key which I think there are several starting points as follows.

First, we must adhere to the idea of ecological civilization for the construction of our national botanical garden system, taking into account all the plant species involved in natural landscape ranging from mountains, water, forests, fields, lakes, grasses to sands and ice, as well as in-situ conservation, already a consensus among scientists, since the harmony between human and nature is also part of the idea of ecological civilization.


                                                                                          “Sacred hills” in Man’e Village, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan   Photo Credit: Duan Qiwu

In addition, we should also find “Longshan (竜山)”, which is referred to as “Sacred hills” and serves as an important part of traditional Chinese culture. People in Southern China have set us a great example in their years’ daily production and life by worshipping the hills around the village to pray for peace, pray for a good harvest, and pray for health. Such nature worship that has been developed over thousands of years greatly helps the biodiversity conservation. All life including the forests, the water, the soil, wild birds, animals and plants…in the ecosystem hat got well preserved.

A scientist told me that there used to be thousands of such “Sacred hills” in many places, whose history can be traced back to at least a thousand years. Ideally, the “Sacred hills” are supposed to be part of our national botanical garden system since they are part of our traditional culture, and are the wisdom of the working people and the latest science.

What is the latest science? Harmony between man and nature is the real nature, the “Sacred hills” are the real nature.

The focus of the construction of the national botanical garden system is to connect the plant systems with unique, traditional, people’s, local and natural characteristics in our country, with special emphasis on microorganisms and animals, taking into account biodiversity including genes, species (animals, plants and microorganisms) and ecosystems, instead of seeking for different alien plant species all over the world to make it a big project for the construction of national botanical gardens like westerners.

There is also an agricultural practice called “凼(dàng)”, which means small pond or puddle in today's Chinese language, in Hunan and many south-central provinces. In traditional agricultural practices, the “凼(dàng)”, actually a small micro-wetland with rich biodiversity, where there may be aquatic life like bugs, snails and frogs’ eggs, can perform important ecological functions as nitrogen fixation, fertilizer, etc., which is also part of our traditional culture like “Longshan (竜山)”.

Our national botanical garden system should be built to show the achievements of the people for thousands of years, to help people discover different local plants in different ecosystems across the country, the unique genes brought by the ecosystems and the ecosystems on which the plants depend.

“Lucid waters and lush mountains” in the context of ecological civilization are the real nature and the habitat of human beings. The construction of our national botanical garden system should be an important aspect of our biodiversity work, which is the protection system of “Lucid Waters and Lush Mountains” in our country.

Original Chinese Article: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FPTXIrPQv5JG3R32sM4shw

Translator: Samantha

Editor: Linda

Contact: V10@cbcgdf.org; +8617319454776



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