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PKUers witness old tea forests in China's Pu'er being listed as world heritage site
Sep 21, 2023
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Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2023 shows the old tea forests in Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er City, southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

Peking University, September 21, 2023:The Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er, southwest China, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday.

At its extended 45th session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee examined the site nominated by China and added it to the list as a cultural property, making it China's 57th World Heritage site.

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A farmer picks tea leaves in the old tea forests in Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er City, southwest China's Yunnan Province, March 25, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Wenyao)

The decision heralds the great vitality that lasts today of the old tea forests and related cultural landscape in Jingmai Mountain, Lancang Lahu Autonomous County of southwestern Yunnan Province, one of the regions that practiced the earliest use of tea resources and had a significant influence on the tea culture of the world.

Consisting of five ancient tea forest areas, nine traditional villages, and three protective forests, the landscape stands as an example of well-preserved and culturally rich domesticated ancient tea forests.

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Photo taken on Aug. 30, 2023 shows the old tea forests in Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er City, southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Xinhua/Li He)

The forests have been well managed under a unique conservation system that respects the cultural and biological diversity and sustainable utilization of natural resources. 

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PKU experts in Jingmai Mountain discuss with villagers about village planning

As early as March 2011, Peking University dispatched an interdisciplinary team of experts to Jingmai Mountain to conduct comprehensive research and compile the most important documents leading up to the inscription on the World Heritage List. In a span of 13 years that ensued, the PKU team carried out over 40 on-site surveys and discussions.

Among the PKU team is Chen Yaohua, an associate professor from Peking University's College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, who has taken part in the preparation efforts since the project was initiated in 2010. As the chief expert overseeing the drafting of the nomination proposals, Prof. Chen sees for himself how the endeavor has amounted to a success from scratch. 

The well-preserved tea forest is a paradigm example of agro-forestry, marvels Prof. Chen, adding that the model "represents human beings' reverence for nature and their wisdom of rational use of nature." 

Edited by: Dennis Meng
Source: Xinhua News Agency, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences at Peking University