Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve
Changbai Mountain, rising in the northern part of Jilin's Antu County, is generally acknowledged as the most famous mountain in the northeast of China, and it gradually extends southwards to the North Korean border. Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve is located in the juncture of Antu, Fusong and Changbai counties with an area of 190,781 hectares, forest coverage of 87.7% and a timber storage capacity of 44 million cubic meters. Changbai Mountain is the most typical natural composite body in the Eurasia Continent regarded as a rare genebank of species and natural museum in the world.
The Reserve was established in 1960 with approval of the Government of Jilin Province, accepted by the International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network of UNESCO in 1980, and listed as one of the 40 Class-A reserves in China by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1992.
The climate of the Reserve is continental temperate climate with obvious vertical climate-changing features. The winter is long and nippy, the summer is transitory and warm, the spring is blustery and dry and the autumn is foggy and cool. The annual average temperature is between 7℃ below zero and 3℃. The temperature in July does not top 10℃; and the average temperature in January, the coldest month, is around 20℃ below zero. Up to now, the lowest temperature is 44℃ below zero. Its annual sunshine accounts to no more than 2,300 hours. There are about 100 frost-free days and only 60 days or so on the peak. The depth of firn is commonly about 50 centimeters; in some places it can reach 70 centimeters. The annual precipitation is between 700-1,400 millimeters; the precipitation between June and September accounts for 60%-70% of the whole year.
Changbai Mountain Range is a composite shield-shaped dormant volcano, which is the highest mountain range in Northeast China and the east of Eurasia. All the 16 well-known Changbai peaks are 2,500 meters or more above the sea level. Its major peak, Baitou Peak, even with an elevation of 2,691 meters, is the highest peak in Changbai Mountain Range. The Lake Tianchi, which is an alpine lake formed by volcanic eruption on the summit is the headspring of Songhua River, Yalu River and Tumen River. The Lake Tianchi is the deepest alpine lake in China with average depth of 201 meters and the deepest part of 373 meters. Hot springs are 800 meters north to the Lake Tianchi, the temperature of the water is mostly between 70℃ and 80℃, containing various kinds of minerals which are beneficial to human health. Those springs are really suitable for drinking as well as bathing.
A varied topography, weather, soil and other natural conditions in Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve result in rich biodiversity and vertical zonal distribution of vegetation. Research shows that, 2,277 species of plant namely 550 species of lower plant and 1,727 species of higher plants are distributed in the Reserve, among which Panax ginseng is a national Class-A plant; Panthera spp., Cervus nippon, Mergus squamatus and Gastrodia elata are also under the state protection.
Spruce, mangrove, white birth, elm trees and other timber trees can be found in the Reserve. There are some famous and precious medicinal plants in the Reserve such as ginseng, dangshen (Codonopsis Pilosula), Fritillaria thunbergil and Gastrodia elata. There are also some plants which can be taken for food such as hawthorn, hazelnut, brakes and Auricularia auricula-judae, etc.
The Reserve bears a great variety of wild animals and 1,225 known animal species, among which 43 species such as leopard, Siberian tiger, sika, sable, golden eagle, black bear, lynx, otter and goral are under the state protection. All of the animals are of high economic and research value.