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China's Xizang spearheads in orchid conservation for biodiversity

Updated 15:47, 04-Nov-2023

Medog County in China's Xizang Autonomous Region is one of the counties with the most diverse orchid species in the country. Medog County has a significant distinction in terms of vertical elevation, spanning various climate and vegetation zones, resulting in diverse flora and fauna that provide favorable conditions for orchid growth. Over the past decade, it has taken the lead in protecting its abundant orchid resources.

To further promote orchid conservation and the high-quality development of the orchid industry, Medog County has invited 15 research institutes and universities from across the country to collaborate on these efforts. Additionally, the central government has invested 1.5 million yuan (around $204,957) in establishing a seed collection and cultivation base for rare and endangered species in Medog County.

Surveys conducted by the conservation center show that many orchids are being artificially planted, and local residents are engaging in the cultivation of wild orchids in their yards at home. Subsequently, the local government began encouraging villagers to reintroduce their rare orchid species into the wild to enrich the local ecology.

"We have returned more than 1,000 orchids to nature. People used to bring wild orchids back home and didn't know what was wrong with them. After our forestry department worked with scientific organizations and encouraged them to release those orchids to the natural habitat, they have taken an active part in this task," said Tashi Chophel, a forest ranger.

"After the release, we established a management mechanism. We collaborated with research institutions for long-term monitoring and dedicated forest rangers are responsible for daily management and patrols. We have built two orchid conservation demonstration communities, one is Gelin Village and the other is Yaren Village," said Liu Zhen, deputy director of the local forestry department.

The beauty of orchids, combined with the presence of tea plantations, has attracted an increasing number of tourists to Gelin Village, where they can immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the forest. Every household in the village has a small garden, and six homestays have been opened to accommodate visitors. Orchids are becoming an important hallmark of Medog County's development in eco-wellness, scientific exploration, and rural tourism.

"My family released some 50 orchids back into the forest, which allows them to return to nature and gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature. We are all willing and eager to release more orchids back into the forest," said Tsomo, a homestay owner.

Medog County's commitment to orchid conservation and the development of the orchid industry is a testament to its dedication to preserving its natural heritage. With ongoing research and collaborative efforts, Medog County is poised to become a leading destination for orchid enthusiasts, researchers and nature lovers alike.

(If you have specific expertise and want to contribute, or if you have a topic of interest that you'd like to share with us, please email us at nature@cgtn.com.)

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