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Lijiang Field Station, September 2nd, 2002 - Photograph © Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The attractive traditional-style building is the result of dedication by local craftsmen working alongside RBGE staff in challenging conditions. The completed Lijiang Field Station, which includes an 18-bedroom accommodation block, will now allow the research and conservation aspects of the project to get underway.

On the 25 September 2002, in a project that would have made George Forrest proud of Scotland's continuing support of plant exploration in China, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) will celebrate the completion of the 1st stage of the joint project;

Lijiang Botanic Garden and Field Station

by officially opening the Lijiang Field Station on the slopes of the Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) in Yunnan Province south-west China.

The opening ceremony, which will include an official ribbon cutting plus colourful entertainment provided by local people and Scottish piper Bruce Hitchins, will be attended by the British Ambassador to China, His Excellency Christopher Hum, along with a delegation from RBGE led by Dr Mary Gibby, Director of Science.

David Paterson (Lijiang Botanic Garden & Field Station Project Leader) reflected on the enormous achievement which has taken place over the last 18 months;
"The completion of this stunning building is a testament to the hard work of all those involved. On a slope at 3200 metres above sea level, simple construction elements become a huge challenge. With over 500 tonnes of material used in the building of the Lijiang Field Station, its creation was a tremendous feat and hopefully will be the first of many in the Project".

Launched with the laying of the first foundation stone on 18 May 2001 and representing a new era of collaboration, the Lijiang Botanic Garden and Field Station involves RBGE and three other Chinese partners (the Kunming Institute of Botany, The Alpine Economic Plant Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University and the local Yunnan Government). Funded completely through sponsorship including generous support from BHP Billiton and BP Amoco plus a substantial grant from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, at the heart of the project is the creation of a new Botanic Garden and fundamental conservation initiatives. Concentrating on endangered alpine plant species, scientific research will focus on discovering successful propagation and cultivation methods of these plants and recommend the best means of securing the survival and recovery of endangered plants. Many such plants cannot yet be cultivated. By targeting threatened plants of medical, horticultural or other economic importance that are now harvested from the wild, work at the Field Station will allow selection of specific plant species for display within the Garden and permit the reintroduction of these to the wild.

Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) from Lijiang plain - Photograph © 2002 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Yulong Xue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) from Lijiang plain

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Photographs © 2002 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Home Page   National Botanic Gardens of Scotland