Sacred Sites in Laojunshan

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Information about Sacred Sites in Laojunshan
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Published on October 11, 2007

Author: Aric85

Source: authorstream.com

Laojunshan: A Sacred Mountain in Northwestern Yunnan,China:  Laojunshan: A Sacred Mountain in Northwestern Yunnan,China Pei Shengji Kunming Institute of Botany, China Luo Peng Chengdu Institute of Botany, China 1. Origin and Cultural Context:  1. Origin and Cultural Context Laojunshan, or the mountain of Laojun in Chinese is a legendary place where Laojun, the founder of Daoism, made immortality pills and caltivated vital energy in Northwestern Yunnan. Local Bai,Naxi and Han people believe that herbs collected from this mountain are trueborn and have magic power in curing diseases. In addition, a number of holy forests, with different sizes and cultural backgrounds, scatter throughout the mountain and sacred to individual ethnic communities like Bai, Lisu, Naxi,Pumi and Yi. Ethnic groups in Laojunshan:  Ethnic groups in Laojunshan Different ethnic groups, including Lisu, Bai, Naxi, Yi, Pumi, Han and Tibetan are found in the area. Bai, Naxi and Han usually inhabit valleys, while Lisu and Pumi dwell mid-mountain and Yi are mostly found at higher altitudes. Among these peoples, Lisu account for over 50% of the total population. 2.Location and holy forests of Laojunshan:  2.Location and holy forests of Laojunshan Location of North-western Yunnan in China Location of Lijiang in Northwestern Yunnan:  Location of Lijiang in Northwestern Yunnan Slide8:  Location of Laojunshan Area Area: 670km2 Holy forests in Laojunshan:  Holy forests in Laojunshan Temple forests(Bai,Tibetan Villages) Holy forests in Laojunshan:  Holy forests in Laojunshan Grave forests (Pumi, Yi and Bai) Holy forests in Laojunshan:  Holy forests in Laojunshan Coffin forest(Naxi) Holy forests in Laojunshan:  Holy forests in Laojunshan God forests(Naxi, Pumi) Holy forests in Laojunshan:  Holy forests in Laojunshan Ghost forests(Lisu and Yi) 3.Environment Significances:  3.Environment Significances 1.Over 2200 species of higher plants; 2. About 260 vertebrates; 3. Habitat of Yunnan Golden Monkey 4.High ecosystem diversity Ecosystem types of the Sacred Sites:  Ecosystem types of the Sacred Sites Warn conifer forest (pine forest); Semi-humid evergreen broadleaf forest*; Temperate hard evergreen broadleaf forest (oak forest)*; Temperate conifer and broadleaf mix forest (Tsuga forest)*; Sub-alpine conifer forest*. Note: * conservation priorities identified by TNC Plant species diversity of sacred forests and control plots in Laojunshan area:  Plant species diversity of sacred forests and control plots in Laojunshan area Vegetation types from the low to high elevation are: I. Warn conifer forest (pine forest); II. Semi-humid evergreen broadleaf forest; III. Temperate hard evergreen broadleaf forest (oak forest); IV. Temperate conifer and broadleaf mix forest (Tsuga forest); V. Sub-alpine conifer forest. Slide17:  Plant community composition of sacred forests and control plots in Laojunshan area (%) 2 species found only in a certain vegetation type or in a certain succession phase. 3 species shared by a few vegetation types. 4 species shared by many vegetation types and commonly distributed. Conclusion of ecological studies:  Conclusion of ecological studies Ecologically, the vegetation types vary greatly among the different sacred forests but mostly accord with the vertical and horizontal zonation patterns of the region. Many sacred forests have a clear boundary with their adjacent areas, and are significantly different in species composition and vegetation types. the sacred forests in the study are generally richer in species diversity, more similar to “primitive vegetation”, and containing more “diagnostic species” which are extinct or even disappeared in surrounding degraded environments. Conclusion of ecological studies:  Conclusion of ecological studies Local religious temple sacred sites are closely associated with sacred forests in origin and some of these temple sacred sites were evolved from sacred forests. In high mountain or on the Plateau, temple sacred sites usually preserve the only forest patches in the area. Sacred natural sites can function as a species bank for local and regional vegetation rehabilitation. 4.Functions of the holy forests to local communities:  4.Functions of the holy forests to local communities Cultural: where traditional cultural beliefs are reposed on. Social: strengthening social relationship between and within households. Economic: herbs, fuelwoods, natural fertilizer, wild vegetables, timbers. 5.Management and Changes:  5.Management and Changes Land tenure changes: Before 1954: community or private owned. 1954-1959: community owned. 1959-1982: mostly state owned, with some collective owned. 1982 to now: 54% stated owned, 46% collective owned. Logging in Laojunshan:  Logging in Laojunshan 1978-1994: commercial logging by stated and collectively owned companies (according to official records, a total of 170,000m3 trees were cut during the period. ) 1994-1999: illegal logging by local people.(A official report estimated that a total of 210,000m3 trees were cut during the period) 6. Opportunities to conserve:  6. Opportunities to conserve Tourism Zone(1994,Prefecture Government) Hengduan Mountains “Hotspot” (CI,1996) Logging Ban(Central government,1998) “Retreating farmland to Forest” Project(Central Government, 2000) Provincial level Natural Reserve (2000,in planning) TNC project area(2000, in evaluation and planning stage) GEF project area(2003, in evaluation and planning stage) Key Issues in Conservation:  Key Issues in Conservation Alternative livelihood for local people. Benefit sharing in tourism development. Co-management of forest resources. Public awareness and capacity building.

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