WATCH: A journey to an ancient tea forest in China
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The Ailao Mountain National Nature Reserve is located within the mid-western section of southwest China’s Yunnan province.
It is a place where a forest ecological system and rare animal and plant species are well preserved.
The nature reserve is home to more than 28,000 mu (one hectare equals 15 mu) of wild tea trees, with 470,703 tea trees having a trunk diameter of 5 centimeters and above at their breast height and with more than 3,400 tea trees having a trunk diameter of 30 centimeters and above at their breast height. The largest tea tree there includes one planted some 2,700 years ago, which is 25.6 meters in height and with a trunk diameter of 2.82 meters.
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Wild tea trees are under second-class state protection in China. Qianjiazhai, a scenic area within the nature reserve, preserves the largest, most primitive and most complete community of plants in which tea trees account for the majority of the trees, positioning the area as a superb location for carrying out scientific research on tea trees.
The nature reserve preserves 11 wild plants that are under first- and second-class state protection, including the long-pistil magnolia, Taxus chinensis, and Bretschneidera sinensis. Furthermore, 178 families, 663 genres and 1,357 species of vascular plants can also be found at the reserve.