On 21 July 2023, the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Conference on the Conservation of Rare Dipterocarps Species was held at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XTBG). During this Conference, XTBG and eight participating organizations jointly initiated and formally committed to the “Conservation Initiative of Dipterocarps in China”, calling on scientific and technological personnel, nature reserve employees, and members of the public to work together to strengthen the conservation of Dipterocarps in China. This important project will implement the programmatic documents such as the “Opinions on Further Strengthening Biodiversity Conservation” and the “Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation of China” (2011-2030), and strive to promote the in situ and ex situ conservation of Dipterocarps.
Alongside XTBG, participating organizations are:
- Yunnan Daweishan National Nature Reserve Management and Conservation Bureau
- Yunnan Huanglianshan National Nature Reserve Management and Conservation Bureau
- Yunnan Jinpinfenshuiling National Nature Reserve Management and Conservation Bureau
- Yunnan Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve Management and Conservation Bureau
- Yunnan Tongbiguan Provincial Nature Reserve Management and Conservation Bureau
- Jiangcheng County Forestry and Grassland Bureau
- Malipo County Forestry and Forestry and Grassland Research Institute of Wenshan Prefecture
Conservation Initiative of Dipterocarps in China
Dipterocarps are flagship species of tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia and are the iconic tree species of typical tropical rainforests in China. Most Dipterocarps are important timber species, which play an important role in the international tropical timber trade, and their gums or resins also have high economic value. However, 357 of the 580 species of Dipterocarps have been assessed as seriously threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so strengthening the conservation of Dipterocarps has become the focus of global attention. To strengthen the conservation of Dipterocarps, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), with Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XTBG) as Lead institution, established the “Global Conservation Consortium for Dipterocarps”.
There are 13 dipterocarp species belonging to five genera in China, including one cultivated species. However, dipterocarp ecosystems are under threat and seven species are Endangered, two are Vulnerable and one may already be extinct, according to the IUCN Red List. It is essential to protect dipterocarps as they dominate tropical rainforests and contribute significantly to climate regulation, soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration and sink enhancement. The health and sustainable development of ecosystems depend on dipterocarps; therefore, their protection is crucial. Although most natural populations of dipterocarps in China are in protected areas, many species remain endangered, with no significant population growth. Furthermore, human interference and habitat destruction are threatening some populations outside protected areas, posing a significant threat to their survival. Therefore, it is imperative to implement urgent protection measures to safeguard these valuable species.
Since the establishment of the older generation of scientists such as Cai Xitao, XTBG has been dedicated to the conservation of Dipterocarps. As the Lead institution of Global Conservation Consortium for Dipterocarps, we call on scientific and technological personnels, nature reserve employees, and members of the public to work together to strengthen the conservation of Dipterocarps in China. We will actively implement the programmatic documents promulgated by the government, such as the “Opinions on Further Strengthening Biodiversity Conservation” and the “Strategy and Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation of China: (2011-2030), and strive to promote the in situ and ex situ conservation of Dipterocarps. To achieve programme objectives, the following initiatives were proposed:
- Adhere to the conservation priority, and green development principle, and actively participate in the conservation and research of dipterocarps.
- Abide by Chinese laws and regulations strictly, refuse illegal collection, put an end to illegal trading, discover and report relevant illegal acts and actively to the local authorities.
- Actively promote the collection, preservation, evaluation, and utilization of rare and endangered plant species of Dipterocarpaceae and formulate scientific conservation strategies.
- Strengthen scientific and technological cooperation, promote resource sharing and collaborative development, and achieve high-quality conservation of dipterocarps.
- Follow and actively respond to the conservation actions of dipterocarps, actively publicize the importance of dipterocarps conservation, and enhance the public conservation awareness of dipterocarps.
We call on more enterprises, public institutions, social organizations, and individuals to join us in conserving dipterocarps and making contributions to the construction of ecological civilization and biodiversity protection.
Hao Yang and yu-Hao Tang.