Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Jiaxian Traditional Chinese Date Gardens




Site location: Jia County, Shaanxi Province, P.R. China,

Area of GIAHS: 2.4 ha (core area)

Population working for this system: 795 people in the core area

Topological Characteristics: on the loess plateau, in the earth-rock mountainous

region along the Yellow River

Climatic Classification: semi-arid continental monsoon climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Mainly Han, but also Meng, Hui, Zang, Wei, Miao, Yi, Korean, Man Dong and Menba communities

Primary Income Sources: agriculture


Jujube is a unique fruit species native to China. Located in the Jinshaan Canyon at the middle reach of the Yellow River, the Jia Count is recognized as the place with the longest history of jujube cultivation. It boasts a large over-one-thousand-year-old jujube community, which presents the whole domestication process of jujube from wild sour jujube, via half-cultivated sour jujube, cultivated sour jujube to cultivated jujube.

The Jia County suffers frequent drought, making the jujube trees “life-saving plants” for the locals, who place their hope on the jujube trees. Meanwhile, the jujube trees are significant in preventing sandstorms and conserving water and soil on the loess plateau sparsely vegetated. The System is a strong evidence of China being the origin of jujube, its domestication and scale cultivation. It also constitutes an important germplasm bank for the future development of the jujube industry. Besides, the System is of outstanding eco-functions, and culture significance.

Not only being a high reserve of biodiversity and at the heart of the local culture, Jujube production is the root of the economy of the region. However, this system must be protected to face the desire of planting new varieties on the market and the climatic accidents.