Recovering rare Camellia species in Guangxi, China

Conservation problem

High-value Endangered Golden Camellia species C. nitidissima and C. euphlebia are declining due to over-collection and degradation of their habitat in the Fangcheng Golden Camellia National Nature Reserve (FGCNNR).

Project goal

Facilitate habitat recovery for Golden Camellia species within FGCNNR through refinement of propagation and cultivation techniques and establish a network of local farmers to grow Golden Camellia products, thereby reducing pressure on wild populations.

Why this species

Fangcheng Golden Camellia National Nature Reserve is home to two beautiful and Endangered species of Camellia, C. nitidissima and C. euphlebia. Both species have a high ornamental, medicinal and nutritional value and are sold under the trade name Golden Camellia. Despite their socio-economic importance, the species are threatened by overharvesting of flowers and leaves and extensive removal of seedlings in the wild for trade, as well as by logging, grazing, insect pests and other diseases.

The flowers of the Golden Camellia C. nitidissima. Photo credit: Wei Xiao/Guilin Botanical Garden

What did we do about it?

The main activities of this project included:

  • Establishment of 12ha restoration demonstration plot in Jiangping near FGCNNR.
  • Training local farmers in Golden Camellia propagation and cultivation techniques.
  • Facilitation of multi-institutional partnerships between local communities, researchers and the private sector to grow and sustainably harvest Golden Camellias.
Key achievements

The propagation efforts carried out under this project have led to a significant stock (approximately 20,000 plants) of C. nitidissima and C. euphlebia saplings. This reserve will continue to provide plants for future restoration work. The restoration demonstration plot presents a valuable resource to increase public awareness of the need for further species and habitat recovery work. As a direct result of the project, 365 households are now engaged in Golden Camellia propagation and cultivation. The project has encouraged local people to work jointly with local companies, which process flowers and leaves into various products, including the highly priced Golden Camellia teas. These partnerships have proved to be very successful and have provided an alternative source of income for participating households.

Overall, the project has been enthusiastically received by the local community in Fangcheng. While the number of participating households is expected to increase in the future, the project may be used as a model to promote large-scale cultivation of other native, socio-economically important species, in Guangxi and beyond.

Local people at Nasuo township planting Golden Camellias.

Contact details

For more information on this project, please contact globaltrees@bgci.org

Did you know?

The makore tree (Tieghemella heckelii), itself threatened by logging, provides an important food source for forest elephants in Central Africa.

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