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15 July 2015

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Natural Resources

Water resources


Hunan has an extensive network of rivers, with a fresh water area covering 13,500 square kilometers. In the north lies Dongting Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in China. It has the largest reserve of natural water resources among the nine provinces of southern China. Xiangjiang, Zijiang, Yuanjiang and Lishui Rivers are the four main tributaries of Yangtze River flowing through Hunan, falling into Dongting Lake at Chenglingji, Yueyang.


Land resources


Cultivated land, forests and grasslands are distributed widely across Hunan. Cultivated land covers 3.788 million ha., accounting for 3.1% of the total of China; natural grasslands are 6.373 million ha., about 1.6% of the national’s total; forests cover 10.3699 million ha., about 6.6% of the country’s total. All these benefit Hunan for its agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries.


Forestry resources (Updated on Nov. 14, 2018)

Hunan has made a great leap from a forest province to a green province and now embarked on its new journey towards an ecologically strong province.
In the past four decades, Hunan’s forestland area has risen from 109 million mu to 195 million mu; its rate of forest coverage from 38.92% to 59.68%; and its living wood growing stock from 189 million cubic meters to 548 million cubic meters, an increase of 189.5%. The wetland area of the whole province reaches 15.3 million mu (except of rice fields), with its protection rate up to 75.44%, ranking first throughout the country. The grassland area amounts to 15 million mu (including more than 10-thousand-mu concentrated and contiguous grassland). The total value of output in forestry industry has increased from 540 million CNY to 425.6 billion CNY.
At present, the numbers of Hunan’s national forest and wetland parks rank first across the country. Its rate of forest coverage and living wood growing stock respectively rank sixth and ninth nationwide. Hunan forestry deserves to be called the central backbone in preserving the national ecological security. 

Mineral resources


Hunan is rich in both nonferrous and non-metallic minerals. To date, geologists have confirmed reserves of 143 different minerals in the province. Among the 108 minerals in verified reserves, 45 are in Top five and 64 rank Top ten in China.


The reserves of tungsten, tin, bismuth, stibium, stone coal, fluorite, sepiolite clay, garnet, and dolomite used in glass production are in the nation's front rank. Vanadium, barite, cryptocrystalline graphite, and ceramsite shale reserves rank the second in each category in the country. Manganese, zinc, lead, mercury, adamas, limestone for cement and kaolin are of significant role in China.


Hunan is one of China’s largest resources of shale gas with a deposit of 9.2 trillion cubic meters, about 7% of the national total, and ranking 6th nationwide. 


Plants and Animals


Hunan has abundant resources of animals and plants. Five rare surviving "living fossil" in the world are found in Hunan, namely: Cathaya Aargyrophylla, Met sequoia Glyptostrobodies, Glyptostrobus Pensilis, Gingko and Davidia Involucrate.


There are around 5,000 species of seed plants, ranking 7th across the country. There are more than 2,000 species of woody plants, 1,000 species of wild economic plants, and 800 species of medicinal plants. 55 species are identified as rare wild plants under the state protection, making up 17.7% of that throughout the country.


Reputed as a land of rice and fish, Hunan has a wide variety of grain crops, with over 9,000 categories of rice. Oil crops include tea oil camellia, seed of tung tree, rapeseed, sesame, sunflower, cottonseed and castor-oil plant. Economic crops are mainly cotton, ramie, jute (red jute) and tobacco. In addition, there are 100 varieties of medicinal plants like coptisroot and gastrodia elata, and 88 species of eight categories of agricultural and sideline products including citrus, tea, Hunan white lotus, day lily, water-soaked bamboo slice, lily bulb, pearl barley and chili pepper. (Click to know more Hunan Products)


There are woody plants of 103 families, 478 genera and 2, 470 species. Hunan's forest coverage reached 59.57% by the end of 2015, higher than the national and world level. 22 national and 27 provincial natural conservation areas, and 126 forest parks, have been established, and the first national forest park Zhangjiajie Forest Park is among them.


The provincial grassland area covers 6.373 million hectares, among which available grassland reaches 5.666 million hectares. The grazing capacity achieves 7,040 thousand cattle unit. There are grassland plants of 137 families and 868 species, among which 775 species serve as the food of livestock.


Hunan has a great variety of animals. There are 66 kinds of wild mammals, over 500 sorts of birds, 71 kinds of reptiles, 40 types of amphibians, more than 1,000 sorts of insects and over 200 kinds of aquatic animals.


There are 18 categories of animals under the first-class state protection, like south China tiger, clouded leopard, golden cat, whitecrane and white-flag dolphin; 28 sorts of animals included in the second-class such as macaque, stump-tailed macaque, pangolin, hellbender and cowfish, and; 49 types of animals belonging to the third-class including egret, wild duck and bamboo partridge. As the well-known freshwater fish producing area in China, Hunan has over 160 types of natural fish, including carp, blackcarp, grass carp, bighead carp, silver carp, bream fish, crucian carp, gurnet, which mainly belong to the cyprinidae family. Famous species are Chinese sturgeon, Chinese paddlefish, silverfish, hilsa herring and eel. Regarding livestock and poultry, Ningxiang pig, Binhu buffalo, Xiangxi cattle, Xiangdong black goat, Wugang bronze goose, Linwu duck and Liuyang three buff chickens are the most well-known.


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