Plant life and Wildlife in China

By | September 15, 2020

Plant life in China

Vegetation and flora within China’s borders are extremely rich and varied, as one would expect in a country of this magnitude.

Vegetation Regions

There are no insurmountable geographical barriers between the tropical and the more temperate and cool parts of the country, and when in addition the wind systems change throughout the year and there are often cyclones, there is a striking variation and mix of tropical and temperate plants. In the tropics in the southeast there are species that also grow at the equator, while the steppe and taiga areas in the northwest can exhibit species that can occur north of the polar circle.

Rain forest in Futian, Shenzhen, Guangdong

There are tropical and subtropical rainforests in Guangdong and Hainan, evergreen deciduous forests and temperate deciduous forests further north, and coniferous forests, primarily as a summer green coniferous forest, in the northernmost regions. Furthermore, mangrove forest grows at the estuaries and along the beaches of the South China Sea, steppe, desert and savannah vegetation, and so on.

China has almost all vegetation types that occur in the northern hemisphere, except for the most pronounced Arctic. The rainforest in southern China does not differ significantly from that in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, while the desert and steppe vegetation in the northwest is very close to that in Mongolia and Kazakhstan.


The total number of seedlings in China is approx. 30,000 species benefits in 2700 genera. Of these genera, more than 200 are endemic to China. Only from wild forest trees are there approx. 2,500 species, many with economic significance, such as orange, tea bush, camphor, star anise and Aleurites species that provide Chinese tree oil. Many species and genera are of great plant geographic interest, such as the nude “living fossils” Metasequoia glyptostroboides and ginkgo tree, Ginkgo biloba. Also striking are some similarities to the flora of eastern North America, such as the presence of the primitive magnolia family.

Wildlife in China

Animal geographically, China includes both parts of the Palarctic and Oriental regions, as well as the wide transition zone between them. The fauna in the northeast is similar to the one we know from Siberia. At the far south-east and on Hainan there are tropical fauna including shellfish, sunbirds and parrots.


The largest mammals comprises tiger, leopard, collar bears and at least 15 deer species (including sambar, Sika, muntjac, musk deer and the rare David deer). Many sheep and goat-like animals (bharal, goral, serov, takin and tahrgeit), numerous pheasants, timalis (screams) and rose finches are found in the mountainous regions. Giant Panda (bamboo bear), small panda (cat bear) and golden snub-nosed monkey is found in the mountain forests in the southwest. Wild seal, gazelle and jackal are found on the plateaus of Tsinghai and Xinjiang. Some rare Chinese animals have their closest relatives in North America (spade and alligator) or in Japan and North America (giant salamander).

More than 1300 bird species are registered in China. Some are known for the song (safrantimal, popularly called Chinese Nightingale) or a beautiful plumage (mandarin duck, gold, silver and diamond pheasant) and held captive. Swan goose is domesticated for meat production.

Goldfish and veil tails have for centuries been livestock and the silkworm still has some national economic significance.

The stump apes

The stump apes are all endangered and of the North Vietnamese Tonkin stump apes (R. avunculus) there are probably no more than a few hundred individuals.