The limestone karst forest in western Hainan supports many species found nowhere else on earth. Sadly, poaching and logging are decimating the fragile ecosystem, and the ever-expanding demand for agroindustry and cement factories are putting unprecedented pressures on this imposing and biodiverse landscape. Yet very little have been done to study and preserve this unique ecosystem.
Since 2004, the Kadoorie Conservation China Department (KCC) has been working with partners and funding research projects to study Hainan's limestone ecosystem and its conservation value. These studies found pristine rainforest and uncovered many new-to-science species and new China records in this specialised ecosystem.
To conserve the limestone ecosystem of Hainan, KCC and the Provincial Forestry Department of Hainan co-organised a workshop titled 'Hainan Limestone Habitats and their Biodiversity' in 2006. A declaration signed by over 60 ecologists from China and abroad was sent to the Provincial Government, highlighting the conservation needs of limestone habitats in Hainan, and calling for the establishment of limestone forest nature reserves.
KCC has been heavily involved in protecting Exianling which is home to the largest and best-preserved limestone forests in Hainan. Since 2009, we have sponsored the construction of a ranger station, provided training and equipment to the wardens, and monitored the site’s biodiversity and threats by camera trapping and field research. We also worked with the Provincial Forest Department in efforts to gazette Exianling as a formal nature reserve.
In 2019, Exianling finally become Hainan’s first limestone forest nature reserve.