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South China Botanical Garden, CAS

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China - Guangdong - Guangzhou

Institution Code: IBSC

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

Main Entrance of South China Botanical Garden
Main Entrance of South China Botanical Garden

About the South China Botanical Garden, CAS

South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCBG, CAS), formerly known as the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Sun Yat-Sen University, was founded in 1929 by Chen Huanyong (Woon-young Chun), a renowned botanist and academician of CAS. It was renamed South China Institute of Botany, CAS in 1954, and then to its present name in 2003 in accordance with CAS developmental plans.

As one of the most important botany research institutions in China, SCBG has obtained abundant research achievements in the fields of ecology, systematic and evolutionary botany, plant resources, biotechnology, landscape and gardening. Since 1954, approximately 335 monographs such as Flora of China, The Vegetation of Guangdong, Studies on the Tropical and Subtropical Degraded Ecosystem and Its Rehabilitation, Rare Plants of China, and Introduction to Restoration Ecology have been published. From 1978 to 2010, over 1150 papers were published in international journals indexed in SCI, including two highly prestigious journals, Nature and Science; 369 research achievements have been obtained, of which 264 were awarded prizes at various levels, including a first prize and a second prize National Natural Science Award and five second prizes of the National Science and Technology Advance Awards. The research achievements were twice honored as "Top Ten Basic Research News in China" in 2000 and 2006, respectively. 98patents have been filed, of which 49 have been licensed.

As one of the largest gardens in China, SCBG is composed of three divisions: 1) a nursery and exhibition zone, viz. the arboretum, occupying an area of 282 ha. It was designed mainly for plant ex-situ conservation with more than 13,000 plant taxa grown in over 30 specialized gardens, including magnolias, bamboo, palms, gingers, orchids and medicinal plants; 2) a research and residential zone, covering an area of over 37 ha. It features a herbarium conserving more than 1,000,000 plant specimens and a state of the art laboratory complex; and 3) Dinghushan Nature Reserve, which was established in 1956, the only reserve of CAS and the first national nature reserve in China. The total area of the reserve is 1,155 ha, where over 2,400 plant species are under in situ protection. In addition, SCBG runs several field research stations, including Dinghushan National Field Research Station of Forest Ecosystem, Heshan National Field Research Station of Forest Ecosystem, and CAS Xiaoliang Research Station for Restoration of Tropical Coastal Degraded Ecosystem.

At present, there are about 410 staff members in SCBG including over 280 professional researchers. There are 318 graduate students in either Ph.D.(119) or M.S.(199) programs.The Ph.D. or M.S. degree is conferred in the fields of botany, ecology, and biochemistry & molecular biology, while the M.S. can also be conferred in ornamental plants & gardening, and biological engineering apart from the three fields above. There is also opportunity for postdoctoral training and the present number of postdoctorates is 20.

The research fields of SCBG include: 1) Global change and ecosystem service; 2) Environmental degradation and ecological restoration; 3) Plant systematic and evolutionary biology; 4) Biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization; 5) Agricultural food quality and safety, and phytochemical resources; and 6) Sustainable use of plant and gene resources. At present, there are 30 research groups associated with the 6 research fields.

In the past decades, SCBG has established productive exchange and collaboration programs with research institutions in dozens of countries, with the number of exchange scholars close to 100 each year. During the period of 2002-2010, SCGB successfully organized 12 international conferences including Symposium on Theory of Ecosystem Succession and Practice of Ecological Restoration, Third International Conference on Vetiver, Symposium on Theory and Methods of Carbon Equilibrium and Circulation in Ecosystems, International Symposium on Artemisia and its Allies, BGCI China Program Workshop, Second International Symposium on Family Magnoliaceae, and 23rd New Phytologist Symposium: Carbon Cycling in Tropical Ecosystems. Approximately 1,000,000 visitors from home and abroad visit the SCBG every year.

In tune to national strategic objectives and the frontiers of science, SCBG will further carry on fundamental, strategic and cutting-edge basic research projects in restoration and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems, systematic and evolutionary botany, conservation and sustainable utilization of plant resources, as well as landscaping and horticulture. SCBG is also striving to integrate popular science education with tropical and subtropical plant research, species conservation, and sustainable resource utilization. SCBG is beginning the steps towards becoming a world-class botanical garden.

Main Address:
South China Botanical Garden, CAS
No. 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District
Guangdong 510650 China

Telephone: 0086 20 38314070
Fax: 0086 20 83986637
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Dr. Hongwen Huang, Director
    Curator's Name: Thomas Wood, Curator of Ginger Collection
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number:
    Educational Staff Number:
    Research Staff Number: 185
    Administration Staff Number:

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
  • Date founded: 1929
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 1133 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
  • Latitude: 23.1333
    Longitude: 113.3208
    Altitude: 0.00 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: 中科院华南植物园
  • Local Address: 中国广东省广州市兴科路723号中科院华南植物园,邮编 510650
  • Locality: City: 广州
  • Locality: State: 广东

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 1000000
    Arboretum: Yes
    Arboretum Size: 300
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: Yes
    Seed Bank: No
    Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: No
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: No
    Disabled access: No

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 11000
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 11000

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: Yes
    Plant Breeding: Yes
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: No
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Molecular Genetics: Yes
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Seed/Spore Biology: Yes
    Sustainability: Yes
    Pharmacology: Yes
    Agriculture: Yes
    Land Restoration: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes
    Courses for University/College Students: Yes
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems in oil shale waste

South China Botanic Garden is carrying out research in cooperation with Maoming Petrochemical Company. We screened out the suitable plants, including 20 tree-species and 3 grass-species. These species have strong adaptability to oil shale waste and could be extended to revegetate acidic discarded mineral waste residue in tropical and subtropical regions and degraded ecosystems in arid wasteland. Six tree-species showed strong ability to enrich Cd, Pb, Zn and Mn via uptake through their roots, indicating that these plants had strong scavenging capacity to these toxic metals, speeding up the revegetating process of the oil shale waste dump. Paspalum notatum was found to have strong accumulation capacity of active Al in its leaf and finally pull Al away from the waste. This technology was granted a national patent “A method eliminating Al toxicity in soil by phytoremediation” (Patent No. ZL 200710035750.2)

Ecological Research in South China

South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCBG), CAS carries out studies on the structure, function, mechanisms during the process of degradation and restoration of degraded ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions of China. It integrates basic research and applied studies by assessing the health status and establishing restoration models at the same time. The Garden is establishing sustainable models for degraded ecosystems such as hilly lands, coastal regions, agricultural fields and urban areas, recognizing that it is critical for the sustainable development of economy in southern China to restore the vegetation and soil of degraded ecosystems.

In 1984, SCBG together with Heshan Forestry Research Institute, established the Heshan Station, to set up demonstration models for comprehensive utilization and exploitation of abandoned hilly lands that can ensure sustainable and concerted development both ecologically and economically. Studies on the relationship between species diversity and stability, structure and function in artificial forest ecosystem have been carried out.

In one project experiments are carried out across various vegetation types with grass land (control plots), monoculture plantations of native tree species or exotic fast-growing tree species, and mixed plantations of native tree species. Issues addressed concern the configuration of pioneer community, tree species adaptation and selection; the impacts of spatial configuration of plant species and communities on the establishment of native tree species and soil biodiversity; variation of soil properties and the carbon balance of different plantation ecosystems in response to vegetation restoration. The results show that legume tree species were more suitable to be pioneer species, while fast-growing tree species were effective to reduce the leaching of soil nitrogen. The impacts of fallen litter and live roots of Eucalyptus and Acacia species on native tree species were examined separately. According to the findings, different strategies for colonization of different native species in those plantations are proposed. Additionally, a simplified system was designed to measure rhizosphere respiration in situ, and the data demonstrated that the contributions of fine and coarse roots were much similar in terms of their contribution to total root respiration; importantly, young plantation of Eucalyptus urophulla was proved to be a strong carbon sink.

Initiated in 2012, a BGCI supported project aims to promote and contribute to forest restoration using native tree species in large-scale pine, eucalyptus and acacia plantations of Heshan County, Guangdong. In the first part of 2013, work continued to grow native species in eucalyptus and acacia plantations as understorey vegetation, including medicinal species (e.g. Millettia speciosa, Gardenia jasminoides, Polygonum cuspidatum, Flemingia stricta), and to study their ecological role and economic benefits. To date, some 9000 saplings of these species have been planted in pilot plots. In the same vein, to enhance the conservation value of the plantations, some 1000 plants of three native tree species (Machilus chekiangensis, Phoebe bournei, Aquilaria sinensis) were introduced to the plantations.