The HengDuan Mountains
are the biggest series of parallel north-south ranges in China and
extend from SiChuan and YunNan Provinces to eastern Tibet. Alternating
high ridges and deep valleys range from 2,000 to 6,000 meters above
the sea level.
The Hengduan Range is complicated in geological structure and active in new tectonic movements. It lies on the east flank of the juncture area where south Asia and Eurasia are mounted. Tt is the transition region between the east zones encircling the pacifi and the west zones of ancient Mediterraniean. The altitude of this area declines from northwest to southeast.Most parts of the area are characterised by a series of paralleled mountain ranges and rivers from south to north, and with a sharp altitudinal differentiation.Its unique physical conditions and variety ecosystems being rich in flora and funa with abundant relic species,give thc area a cirtical nature for the fundamental research in the field of bilolgy and earth science.
The Hengduan Moutains Region is abundant in natural resources, among which multi-mineral products, hydrological resources, forest and grass-lands account for the great part. But with fast growth of the population and an extensive exploitaion and utilization of the natural resources,the human pressure on natural resources has vastly increased which even caused ecologic equilibrium damagement in some part of thearea.In order to make a more reasonable utilization of natural resources,it is necessary to study the characteristics of the resources in this region so as to work out certain ways and metods for protecting, utilizing and exploiting them rationally.
The vegetation of the Hengduan Mountains includes many species that would be surprisingly familiar to gardeners from across the world. These mountains are where many of the flowers so popular in gardens first evolved¡ªgeraniums, lilies, and lady slipper orchids, to name just a few. In fact, the mountains of southwestern China are home to an estimated 12,000 species, and roughly 3,500 of them are endemic, found naturally nowhere else. Although prized by botanists, the Hengduan Mountains¡¯s biodiversity is under threat from overgrazing, firewood collection, and development.