Located in the subtropical monsoon climate zone with abundant rainfall and heat, Sichuan has a complex topography and diversified biological resources. A great number of rare and ancient plant and animal species can be found in Sichuan, making it one of the precious biological gene pools in China and even in the world.
Sichuan has nearly 10,000 species of higher plants, accounting for about 1/3 of the national total, second only to Yunnan Province. Of all the higher plants, there are over 500 species of bryophytes; vascular plants fall into over 1620 genera of 230-plus families; there are 708 species of pteridophytes, more than 100 species of gymnosperms (variations included), over 8500 species of angiosperms and 87 species of pines, firs and cypresses, all ranking the first in China. Sichuan has 74 species of all the 389 species of rare and endangered plants throughout China, and 3 species are of the first class at national level, 32 of the second class at national level and 39 of the third class at national level, respectively accounting for 37.5%, 20% and 18% of the total number of national key protected plants at all levels. Over 5500 species of wild economic plants, 4600 among which are medicinal plants. Chinese herbal medicines produced throughout Sichuan represent 1/3 of China’s total output, making Sichuan the largest base of Chinese herbal medicine. Sichuan is also the biggest production place for aromatic oil with more than 300 species of aromatic plants. Sichuan’s wild fruit plants have a total number of over 100 species, and kiwi fruits have the largest output which rank the first in China and enjoy considerable international reputation. Sichuan has the richest resources of fungi and there are up to 1291 species of wild fungi, accounting for 95% of the national total. Sichuan’s forest coverage rate reaches 31.27% with 15,166,000 hectares of forests, ranking the fourth in China. Sichuan’s reserve of living trees amounts to 1.673 billion cubic meters and its timber reserve ranks the second in China.
Sichuan is rich in animal resources. 1246 species of vertebrates can be found in Sichuan, accounting for more than 45% of the national total and mammals and birds account for 53% of the national total. Of all the vertebrates, 217 species are mammals, 625 species are birds, 84 species are reptiles, 90 species are amphibians and 230 species are fishes. There are 146 species of national key protected wild animals, 30 species among which are of the first class at national level, representing 30.9% of the national total and 112 species are of the second class at national level, 47.1% of the national total. There are also 77 species of provincial key protected ones. Sichuan has 1206 wild pandas, representing the largest population in China, and accounting for 76% of the national total. Sichuan boosts extraordinarily rich pheasant resources, and thus comes to be known as “a paradise for pheasants”. There are 20 species in the family phasianidae, 40% of the national total, and a number of them are rare and endangered species like the pheasant grouse, the Sichuan hill partridge and the Lophophorus lhuysii and so on, all being the national first-class protected animal. (The above data are provided by the Sichuan Yearbook Press. See Sichuan Yearbook 2008 for more details.)