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Natural Resources

With an abundance of mineral resources, Hunan is known as “the land of non-ferrous metals” and “the land of non-metals”. Its reserves of stibium and wolfram rank first in the world, and those of many other metals are the largest in the country. The mining area of Shizhuyuan, Chenzhou, is even reputed as “a museum of world’s nonferrous metals”, while the so-called “tin mine” in Xinhua County is honored as “world’s capital of antimony”. Based on these rich resources, many primary-sector factories have risen as chief producers or extensive processors  of such raw materials.

Hunan is blessed with an extensive network of rivers and streams, and boasts the largest volume of natural water resources among the nine provinces of southern China. To the north is the Dongting Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in China.

Its cultivated land, pastureland, and forests total 3.78 million hectares, 6.37 million hectares, and 10.3699 million hectares respectively, occupying approximately 3 percent, 1.6 percent and 6.6 percent of the country’s total. The province has rich and varied land resources, favoring the development of its agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries.

Hunan is endowed with rich resources of animals and plants. Five rare surviving "living fossils" in the world are found in Hunan, namely: Cathaya Aargyrophylla, Met sequoia Glyptostrobodies, Glyptostrobus Pensilis, Gingko and Davidia Involucrate.

There are around 5,000 types of seed plants, taking the seventh place across the country, over 2,000 kinds of woody plants, more than 1,000 types of wild economic plants, over 800 sorts of medicinal plants and 66 categories of rare wild plants under state protection in Hunan. Grain crops are rich in category, with over 9,000 types of rice. Oil crops include camellia oleosa seed, seed of tung tree, rapeseed, sesame, sunflower, cottonseed and castor-oil plant. Economic crops are mainly cotton, ramie, jute (red jute) and tobacco. There are 100 types of medicinal plants like coptisroot and gastrodia elata and 88 sorts of agricultural and sideline products including citrus, tea, Hunan white lotus, day lily, water-soaked bamboo slice, lilium brownii var. viridulum, pearl barley and hot pepper.  

There are woody plants of 103 families, 478 genera and 2, 470 species. Hunan’s forest area has reached 7.5,014 million hectares, with forest coverage of 51.4%, higher than the national and world level. 23 forest natural reserves have been established, including the first national forest park—Zhangjiajie Forest Park.

The provincial grassland area is 6.373 million hectares, among which available grassland reaches 5.666 million hectares. The grazing capacity achieves 7,040 thousand cattle unit.  There are grassland plants of 137 families and 868 species, among which 775 species serve as the food of livestock.