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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Kuajishan Ancient Chinese Torreya




Site location: Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province, P.R . China

Area of GIAHS: 402 Km2

Population working for this system: 68 000 people

Topological Characteristics: mountain forest ecological zone

Climatic Classification: Subtropical monsoon climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: The majority population is Han (97%), and 25 ethnic

minorities such as Hui, Manchu, Mongolian, Korean, Zhuang, Tujia occupy 3% of

the population; however the population of three villages is Han.

Primary Income Sources: Han (98.15%); Minorities (1.85%)


With more than 2000 years of history, the Kuaijishan Community developed the application of ancient grafting and artificial selection techniques in ancient China, making it a rare "living fossil". The ancient Chinese Torreya trees, some of which are more than 1000 years old, form a spectacular landscape merged with the traditional villages, abundant streams, and mountains. The Kauijishan Ancient Chinese Torreya Community is a harmonious system that prevents soil erosion while providing diverse ‘high value’ economic products such as nuts, medicine, oil and ornaments from the trees.

In all, the Kuaijishan Ancient Chinese Torreya Community not only has historical, artistic, scientific, ecological and economical value, it also reflects a highly sustainable mode of human survival through the careful transformation, sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.

Nevertheless, the Kuaijishan Ancient Chinese Torreya Community is facing severe threats and challenges due to natural aging, natural disasters, land use competition, population aging, and the lack of agriculture labor resources. It is urgent to establish the social, economic and ecological values of this important system and protect them in dynamic ways.