Sep. 8th 2009, the first 'National Wild Plants in Minimum Population Protection and Back-to-nature' project was started in Kunming. Three endangered wild plants in minimum population in Yunnan Province, Manglietiastrum sinicum, Cyclobalanopsis sichourensis and Paphiopedilum concolor, were officially implemented the experiment of returning to nature, in order to achieve the objectives of the reconstruction of wild plant populations. It is reported that the project was co-organized by State Forestry Bureau, Kunming Institute of Botany of CAS and Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department.
Back-to-nature is the important way to rebuild wild plant populations and its protective effect exceeds the simple in-situ conservation and the single species conservation and can more effectively rescue and protect the wild plants in minimum population. Yunnan has up to 30 species of wild plants in minimum population, most of which are endemic in China and have irreplaceable ecological, economic, scientific and cultural value. In order to save the endangered plant groups, State Forestry Bureau, Chinese Academy of Sciences and State Environmental Protection Division formulated "China's Strategy for Plant Conservation", planing to include 10% of the endangered plant species which need ex-situ conservation in the back-to-nature program until 2010. The starting of back-to-nature program of three wild plants in minimum population, Manglietiastrum sinicum, Cyclobalanopsis sichourensis and Paphiopedilum concolor is a major contribution to the threatened plant conservation.
Researcher of Kunming Institute of Botany, CAS and executive director of the Kunming Botanical Garden Sun Weibang introduced that Manglietiastrum sinicum only distributed in Jinping, Xichou and Maguan, Yunnan; Cyclobalanopsis sichourensis just has five adult plants and is listed as critically endangered species under first-class protection; Paphiopedilum concolor is the endemic species in China as well and due to the factors of artificial over-excavation and so on, its wild species are badly damaged, becoming one of the most seriously threatened species in our country at present. Now Kunming Institute of Botany has already succeeded in sterile germination breeding technology of Paphiopedilum concolor seeds and carried out the experiment demonstration of Paphiopedilum concolor’s back-to-nature. It is the time to explore a suitable model of species conservation in the region. The start of this project will provide reference and be the exemplary role for saving this plant.
It is understood that the number of Manglietiastrum sinicum that has returned to nature is 100, that of Cyclobalanopsis sichourensis is 50 and that of Paphiopedilum concolor is 100 and they will separately be progressed the back-to-nature trial in Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve and other 2 return lands.