Hopea chinensis is a large subtropical tree that is valued for its very high-quality timber. This tree was first found in the Shiwandashan Mountains west of Guangxi. It is now known to be distributed in south and southwest Guangxi, south and southeast Yunnan Province (Kiangcheng, Luchun, Pingbian and Hekou) and also in northern Vietnam. Studies of the H. chinensis population of Guangxi revealed that it is mostly found in secondary tropical forest with a rich makeup of species. Populations of this species are generally concentrated and grow very slowly with limited natural population expansion. As a result this species is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List.
Hopea chinensis, of the genus Dipterocarpaceae, is an endemic species of China and Vietnam. It is one of the representative species of tropical seasonal rainforest, however it is now threatened by timber exploitation. The durable wood is used for making boats, furniture, and heavier construction purposes such as building bridges. In China, the wood is known as “ten thousand years wood”, the name attesting to the excellent durability and resistance of its timber. The main threats to this species are timber exploitation and the fact that the seeds are short-lived but slow-growing once germinated resulting in slow natural regeneration.
Funding for this project will allow for urgent survey and monitoring work to examine the true extent of the remaining populations of H. chinensis. From here work will begin to propagate and reintroduce more than 1,000 individuals of this species and more than 10,000 individuals of related species into ecological restoration sites. Once established, these restoration sites will be used as bases for scientific education. In order to enhance public engagement with the protection of this species, ecological restoration and other threatened species popular science programmes will be carried out.