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Tropical Botanical Garden in Menglun

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is situated in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, at lat.21°41′N, long.101°25′E, and 570 m altitude, with annual mean temperature of 21.4°C, annual precipitation of 1556.8 mm and mean relative humidity of 83%. The site is a gourd-shaped peninsula almost totally surrounded by the Luosuo River, a branch of the Mekong River. Still having large areas covered with tropical rain forest, it is an ideal place for studying tropical plants. Since it’s establishment in 1959 under the leadership of the well-known botanist Prof. Tsai Hsetao, the Botanical Garden has been engaged in scientific research, germplasm preservation, public education and scientific exploitation, and has developed its typical tropical landscape and colourful ethnic features.

Among the 424 staff members are 207 researchers and technicians, including 50 of senior rank and 64 of intermediate rank. In total more than 3000 taxa of tropical plants introduced from home and abroad are cultivated in the Garden, with an area of 900 ha. Picturesque scenes are composed of specialized gardens and sections, such as the Tropical Fruit Resources Section, the Orchid Resources Section, the Palm Section, the Bamboo Section, and the Rare and Endangered Plants Ex Situ Conservation Section. There are also Research Departments of Landscape Gardening, Ex Situ Conservation of Plants, Agroforestry, Forest Ecology, the Ailaoshan Forest Ecosystem Research Station, the Xishuangbanna Minitoring Station of Tropical Rain Forest Biodiversity, and the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Center, jointly built by CAS and Yunnan Province. In addition, the Herbarium of Tropical Botany, the Library, the Plant Ecology and Physiology Laboratory, the Phytochemistry Laboratory, the Seed Bank. plantations of tropical economic plants and the experimental field for agroforestry provide good facilities for research workers of plants.

The Garden aims at tropical plant diversity conservation and sustainable use, combining these with ethnic culture preservation and social and economic development. Since the foundation of the Garden, 585 projects have been undertaken and 283 achievements have been made. The 75 important achievements winning national, provincial or ministerial prizes include researches on model of artificial rubber-tea community, resources of dragon’s blood in China and propagation and conservation of Parashorea chinensis and Alsophila spinulosa. Twenty-nine books and 1300 papers have been published.

Seed and living plant exchanges are carried out with 54 countries. The Garden has become an important center for academic activities, where were held the 1st and 2nd Meetings on Work of Botanical Gardens, the Symposium on Ethnobotany, the Symposium on Plant Diversity Conservation, and other international symposiums and conferences. Frequent academic exchanges are made with botanical gardens and academic institutions in the USA, Japan, the UK,Thailand and other countries.

A tourist souvenir market and the Cultural Museum of Forest Ethnobotany have been built, with the audio-video Biodiversity Exhibition Hall and other scheduled to be constructed, to meet the increasing demand of tourism.

The Xishuangbanna Candle Scientific Development Company Ltd., the Xishuangbanna Gourd Peninsula Tourist Company, the Service Center and the Pharmaceutical Manufactory have been set up in the Garden and are engaged in the production of tropical fruits, flowers, spices, herbal medicines, and in providing tourist services. They have contributed to the development of the society, the local economy and the Garden itself.