Exianling Limestone Ecosystem

Hainan Island has limited area of limestone karst landscape, but these limestone gems, scattered mainly in western Hainan, support many species found nowhere else on earth. Sadly, the ever-expanding demand for agroindustry and cement factories are putting unprecedented pressures on these limestone forests, and very little have been done in studying and preserving this unique ecosystem.

Since 2004, Kadoorie Conservation China Department (KCC), has been working with partners to study Hainan's limestone ecosystem and its conservation value; researchers we supported 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 the workshop '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. Presentation materials were compiled and published in Tropical Forestry - 2007 Vol.35 Supplement. Topics included tropical limestone ecosystems of Hainan Island and conservation experience of surrounding regions.

For details, please see 'Contents of Hainan Limestone Ecosystem Articles'. If you would like to obtain any of the articles, please contact KCC by email at

KCC has been heavily involved in protecting the Exianling limestone forest, which is the largest limestone outcrop in Hainan with the best-preserved forest. Since 2009, we have sponsored the construction of a ranger station, provided training and equipment to the local wardens, and monitored its biodiversity and threats by camera trapping and field research. We work with the Provincial Forest Department in efforts to gazette Exianling as a formal nature reserve.


Read more:

1. Galliformes in Exianling