Introduction to a four-year biodiversity survey of Tengchong Section of Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve, in the footsteps of pioneering naturalists in western Yunnan, China

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Bosco Pui Lok Chan
Zeng Bi
Shao-Zhong Duan


The Gaoligongshan Mountains in Yunnan Province, southwestern China, is one of the biologically richest areas on Earth.  In 2014, we launched a four-year biodiversity survey in the Tengchong Section of Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve and its immediate vicinity, aiming to update the current diversity, distribution, and status of the mammals, birds, herpetofauna, freshwater fishes, and butterflies on which we have expertise.  Despite the intensity of earlier scientific explorations, our survey resulted in the discoveries of a new genus, a number of new species, genera and species new to China, Gaoligongshan, or Tengchong County, and updated the altitude limits for some species.  Species richness of mammalian and avian fauna, the two groups most susceptible to habitat loss and hunting, remains remarkably high, but past impacts of hunting and habitat degradation were in evidence.  Our results clearly illustrate the immense conservation value of this mountain range and the necessity for more in-depth, focused biodiversity field surveys.  This monograph summarizes our findings, and this chapter gives an overview of the geography, climate, vegetation, and ecology of Tengchong, a history of earlier and present biodiversity explorations, and conservation recommendations based on our findings.


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