Fujian 福建

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Fujian was once the home of two of the greatest of western naturalists in China. Pére David lived in the Wuyi mountains in the 1860s, while La Touche made his base in Fuzhou in the early decades of the twentieth century. However, the province has been neglected since the late 1930s. From the 1980s onwards a trickle of birding pilgrims have made the trek to Wuyi (hardly a trek now that there are direct flights from Hong Kong), but the rest of the province remains largely unexplored by foreign birdwatchers. In particular, the contorted coastline with numerous bays and inlets formed from rias should be thoroughly searched for wintering ducks and waders. The mountains in the west should also be thoroughly explored, if only to confirm whether the ranges of many species which are found in northern Guangdong but seemingly no further east also extend right along the spine of mountains to Wuyi Shan and beyond.


Key Species

Until very recently few new exciting species had been recorded in Fujian in the last twenty years. The province’s reputation for birds rested mostly on old records - a small number of species with isolated ranges found (or formerly found in the case of the White-eared Night Heron) in the Wuyi mountains, and mostly old records of pelicans, storks and cranes from the coast. There is a crying need for a proper ornithological survey of the province, but unfortunately the local authorities have provided the Forestry Department with very few resources. However, the formation of the Fujian and Xiamen birdwatching societies in the last few years is very encouraging for the future. The coastline is beginning to be explored more regularly and it is becoming apparent that there are still a number of good quality mudflat areas that support large numbers of wintering and migrating shorebirds. In addition there is still a great deal of exploration still to be done of the inland forest areas. The recent record of Blyth’s Kingfisher in Shaowu county less than 100km south-west of Wuyi, is one encouraging sign of what may still be found in the hill forests in the west of the province.
The key species for the province include White-necklaced Partridge, Elliot’s Pheasant, Swinhoe’s Petrel, Bulwer’s Petrel, Dalmatian Pelican, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Chinese Crested Tern, Blyth’s Kingfisher, Rosy Pipit, Short-tailed Parrotbill, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch and Green Shrike Babbler.



There are 20 reserves in the province spanning most habitat types. The best known are the previously mentioned Wu Yi Shan in the north-west and a second national nature reserve, Min Xi Mei Hua Shan, in the south-west. Longxi Shan became the third national nature reserve in Fujian in 1998. Fujian, like Hunan, still as yet has no book covering the province’s reserves.


Geography of the Province

The coastal eastern part of the province is low-lying and easily accessible. In contrast on the western side the border between Jiangxi and Fujian comprises a spine of mountains, reaching up to the 2158m peak of Huanggang Shan. In-between the two the majority of the province is characterised by rugged low-lying hills, perfect for tea growing so now largely cleared of good forest. The seaboard is warm for most of the year but the mountains can be cold in winter.


Habitat and Vegetation

The Wuyi mountains have a very rich flora, dominated by Cyclobalanopsis glauca and Clerodendrum inerme. A rich variety of azaleas are also found there. In the central section of the province most of the original forest cover has been removed (though not as much as in Guangdong) and much of the cover is either Pinus massonia or shrubland. Where the forest has been untouched there are sometimes to be found some excellent patches of forest. The narrow forested valley at Mang Dang Shan is a good example where superb specimens of Cryptomeria fortunei, Castanopsis eyrei and Liquidambar formosana are found amongst others. In the south of the province there are patches of coastal mangrove.


Ten years ago there were flights from Hong Kong to Fuzhou and Xiamen but getting around the province was still difficult. Access has improved considerably in recent years with the advent of direct flights from Hong Kong to Wuyi Shan and with the completion of a good highway down the eastern seaboard.



The provincial forestry department is located at 10 Yeshan Road, Fuzhou 350003. Tel. +86-591 7858294.
Fujian Bird Watching Society: http://www.bird-watch.org
Xiamen Bird Watching Society: http://www.xmbirds.org



Maps of the province are readily available.