Plant Diversity
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Rare Plant Garden under the Three Gorges Dam
Category: News, Posted on: 2024/3/23 0:05:27

     The rare plant garden under the Three Gorges Dam, which combines the protection of endemic rare plants with hydropower engineering effectively, adopts the four major design concepts of “combining with the Three Gorges Project, combining with engineering relics, combining with soil and water conservation, combining with rare plants”, and constructs a five-level overlapping ecological community by combining the five-stage ship lock of the Three Gorges Dam to create the Tanziling Ecological Park in the dam area, plan the Xiyuan rain and sewage ecological restoration demonstration park, etc. The construction of the botanical garden is integrated with elements such as the Three Gorges Dam, the miniature landscape of the dam, and the red genes of the Three Gorges. On the original terrain of the slag dump of the Three Gorges Project, the planning and design of the rare plant garden were carried out, and a large-scale unique rare plant garden with regional style, local characteristics, comprehensive functions and outstanding benefits was built for hydropower projects. Now walking in the rare plant garden, one can feel both the shade of trees and birdsong, and also see small landscapes made by construction relics. Such a unique rare plant garden combined with the Three Gorges Dam has better practiced the green development concept of harmonious coexistence between man and nature, not only protected biodiversity but also promoted the culture of the Three Gorges, and is a model for the ecological construction of unique rare plant gardens for hydropower projects.

    The rare plant garden, situated at the base of the Three Gorges Dam and spanning an area of 12.8 km^2, stands as the most expansive such garden in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area. Through rigorous theoretical research and practical engineering applications, a unique ecological restoration model was developed for this specialized flora. This model led to the establishment of two distinct gardens: one dedicated to ground cover ornamental plants and another focusing on rare species. Notably, this initiative marked the first instance of a domestically-driven ecological restoration effort that integrates rare plants with engineering relics. By harmoniously blending regional motifs with local nuances, it showcases distinctive rare plants while ensuring soil and water conservation in the vicinity of the Three Gorges dam. The park is segmented into six primary zones: germplasm nurseries, scientific research experimental areas, expansive field breeding zones, domesticated cultivation zones, facility conservation zones, and areas designated for science popularization displays. Within these zones, specialized gardens have been established for various species, including Nephrolepis cordifolia, Acer platanoides branch, Davidia involucrata, Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, among others. Additionally, there are specialized spaces for trees from the Lauraceae family, Aceraceae family, Magnoliaceae family, and aquatic plants. These configurations have fostered the formation of robust plant communities, attracting numerous wild animal species to establish residency.

      Tourists are provided with access to diverse plant populations, creating an immersive experience reminiscent of a kingdom of rare plants. A specialized garden dedicated to the conservation of rare plant species in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area has successfully preserved 1450 unique plant resources and propagated 250 thousand specimens. Additionally, it has safeguarded over 4000 rare resource samples from the Yangtze River Basin and collected more than 300 seeds. Addressing the challenges associated with the adaptability of plant introductions and cultivation across varying altitudes, as well as field returns, a novel "double leap" incremental protection approach was introduced. This method involves an in-depth analysis of the wild plants' original habitats, enabling the identification of essential environmental factors such as water, fertilizer, gas, heat, and soil for plant growth. During the transplantation phase, the native habitat is replicated, leading to the development of refined maintenance techniques. Furthermore, the implementation of "one tree one file one code" archival management ensures meticulous documentation.

         An intelligent monitoring and early warning system for pests was developed, utilizing the core of intelligent monitoring equipment. This system leveraged technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud data storage, and visualization data analysis to enhance the intelligence of pest information collection in rare plant species. The aim was to improve pest monitoring capabilities and provide early warnings, thereby digitalizing the protection of rare plants.In recent years, the Rare Plant Garden has dedicated itself to establishing a platform that integrates scientific research with popular science. This initiative aims to foster the utilization of scientific and technological resources, as well as the transformation of scientific and technological achievements. It plays a pivotal role in promoting scientific and technological innovation through popular science, thereby achieving a harmonious development between scientific innovation and science popularization. The "Three Gorges Baby Tour" study tour has been conducted for eleven consecutive years, providing popular science reception to nearly 10,000 primary and secondary school students. This initiative effectively enhances researchers' understanding of rare plants, stimulates their interest in exploring plant mysteries, communicates scientific knowledge on plant protection, and yields positive outcomes from popular science publicity.

      The rare plant garden situated beneath the Three Gorges Dam represents a distinctive, comprehensive multifunctional botanical haven. This garden has emerged as a benchmark for the development of regionally tailored rare plant gardens in hydropower engineering contexts. The scientific research conducted under the title "Research on Key Technologies for Integrated Innovation of Rare Plant Gardens in Large Hydropower Engineering" has garnered recognition as advanced globally by Hubei Province's science and technology departments. It is progressively being disseminated both domestically and internationally. In China, its application has been extended to various provinces and cities such as Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, among others. As of 2023, the Jinsha River Xiangxi Rare Plant Garden, situated in Yibin, commenced operations primarily focusing on the conservation of unique species within the dry hot valley of the Jinsha River basin. Concurrently, the Anhui Lu’an Sudashiya Wetland Rare Plant Garden is currently under construction, while plans for the Chongqing Guangyang Island Rare Plant Garden are underway. The conservation approach employed at the Three Gorges Dam's rare plant garden is gaining traction and finding resonance across the entire Yangtze River Basin.About the authorGuangxin Zhang, an Engineer at the Yangtze River Biodiversity Research Center and a staff member of the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Group Co., Ltd., primarily focuses on research related to the conservation of rare plants and ecological restoration within the Three Gorges Reservoir area.

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