Development of recovery techniques for three rare camellias through the active engagement of local communities in Fangcheng Golden Camellia National Nature Reserve, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Local coordinator: Guangxi Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin
Fangcheng Golden Camellia National Nature Reserve, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is a seasonal rainforest area of outstanding biodiversity with nearly 1,400 vascular plant species. It was established in 1986 particularly to protect the rare camellia species occurring in the reserve: Camellia nitidissima, C. euphlebia and C. tunghinensis – often referred to under the collective name Golden Camellia given their great value as ornamental plants. As unfortunately so often elsewhere, despite its status as a national reserve area, habitat conversion, invasive species and indiscriminate exploitation have severely fragmented and degraded the natural forest. To reduce the pressure on the forest resources, this project aims to develop and trial propagation and cultivation techniques for the Golden Camellia species and explore their potential for income-generation to improve the livelihoods of the local community of Nasuo town in the vicinity of the reserve. A number of propagation and cultivation studies have been carried out to date and the results were published in scientific journals. Accompanied by a series of training courses on reproduction and cultivation methods for local community representatives, over a 110 households have been involved to plant Golden Camellia species. A three hectare-large demonstration base has been established where over 6,000 saplings of the three camellia species are being grown to reduce the pressure exerted on wild populations. The selling of flowers and leaves for the production of tea and other goods to a local company is expected to significantly improve the local farmers’ income.