Sistemas Importantes del Patrimonio Agrícola Mundial (SIPAM)

Pu’er Traditional Tea Agrosystem




Site location: Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, P.R.C

Area of GIAHS: 187,000 ha

Population working for this system: 490 000 people

Topological Characteristics: mountainous temperate

Climatic Classification: dry temperate climate

Ethnic Groups/Indigenous People: Hani, Yi, Dai, Lahu, Wa, Blang, Yao, etc

Primary Income Sources: agriculture


The Pu'er Tea Agroecosystem is the world's largest area of tea forest plantations established by village ancestors thousands of years ago.

Yunnan province (China) is considered the world's provenance of tea trees. Located at the starting point of the Ancient Tea-Horse Route, it is an important node in tea culture dissemination. This province contains the largest area of wild tea tree communities and ancient tea plantations with a predominant amount of ancient tea trees.

Pu'er Tea Agriculture System is rich in bio- and cultural diversity and is composed of old wild tea tree populations, ancient transitive tea plantations and ancient cultivated tea plantations. Centred on tea culture, the Pu'er Tea Agrosystem holds a complete vertical evolution of ancient magnolia and tea trees as it relies on the traditional methods of Blang, Dai, Hani and other minorities.

The components of the Pu’er Tea Agricultural System are wild tea tree populations, old transitive tea trees and ancient cultivated tea plantations. Organized in different layers, tree layer, tea plant and bush layer, and herb layer form the whole system. The tea trees in the forests rely on natural fertility and free chemicals being totally integrated in their environment.