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Foping Biosphere Reserve, China

Foping Biosphere Reserve, located in the Shanxi Province at the southern side of the Qinling Mountains, is one of the three major habitats of the giant panda in the country. The other three “treasures” present here are golden monkey, takin and crested ibis. The forest coverage has increased to 98.5% during the last 10 years, playing a great ecological role. Stated with poor transport facilities, the Biosphere Reserve has been proactive in helping local communities develop their economy by providing guidance and financial assistance.

Designation date: 2004

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN)

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 72,443 ha

    • Core area(s) : 10,326 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 6,139 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 55,978 ha

    Location: 33°38'N - 107°48'E

    Administrative authorities

    Foping National Nature Reserve, Shaanxi
    35, Panda Road
    Foping County, Hanzhong City
    Shaanxi Province 723400

    Tel.: +86 916-8916002


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    Ecological Characteristics

    Foping Biosphere Reserve is located in the northwest of Foping County of Shaanxi Province and situated on the southern slope of the middle Qinling Mountains. It belongs to the mid-alpine region and includes well-preserved primitive forest communities unique to the Qinling Mountains at altitudes above 2,200 metres. Foping Biosphere Reserve encompasses typical and complete mountain forest ecosystems and landscapes where the northern subtropical and warm temperate zones meet, and has rich biodiversity and natural heritage represented by the giant panda. It also abounds with important medicinal plant species, and has significant potential for ecotourism and scientific research.

    The area is situated where typical North, Central and Southwest China flora meet. There are 1,765 species of wild plants including wild economic plants such as medicinal, aromatic and oil-bearing plants. The fauna is a mixture of species in a transition zone including both the oriental and the palaearctic realms. It is characterized by having a complex composition, ancient origin, capacity of survival, and polymorphism. The Biosphere Reserve includes key rare and endangered species such as the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), takin (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi), golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellanae), South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) and Indian leopard (P. pardus fusca). The Qinling Mountains provides an ideal habitat for the giant panda and comprises the densest population with a population size of 89-97 (2002) of the total 280 that live in the Qinling range. The unique geographical location and relatively primitive environment provide the giant panda with adequate food and a sound environment, and also presents a natural area for the study and protection of the species.


    Socio-economic characteristics

    Foping is a semi-enclosed state with poor transport facilities and low human activity. The local population, all belonging to the Han ethnic group, consists of some 7000 people at present. They live from traditional farming supplemented by commercial tree planting and propagation. Local people mainly plant economically useful trees such as the medicinal plant Macrocarpiun officinale. The Biosphere Reserve has been proactive in helping local communities develop their economy by providing guidance and financial assistance. In agriculture, the plastic film mulching technology was introduced to help villagers to increase corn yield. What’s more, villagers were provided with sumac and dogwood seedlings, bottles of auricularia auricular and gastrodia elata strains, boxes of improved Chinese bees and some beekeeping materials to support the development of agritainment. Infrastructure such as small hydro-power stations, stone arch bridges, chain bridges, roads connecting villages and public hydraulic engineering have been built to provide conveniences for local residents and ensure water supply for households. A complex diversity of landscapes, complete forest ecosystems, and rich and diversified biological resources also provide a research and teaching base for a range of disciplines and they also serve as an open classroom and laboratory to popularize natural sciences and environmental education.


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    Last updated: July 2019