South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity
For over a century, Arboretum staff have explored and documented the natural and cultural resources of Asia.
In 1924, a three-year expedition departed for one of the most unusual areas on earth;the first of many Arboretum expeditions to a region that is floristically one of the richest in the world. Seventy years later, other Arboretum expeditions returned to collect and inventory the flora. Today the Hengduan Mountain region, comprising western Sichuan and eastern Tibet (Xizang), is considered by international conservation organizations to be a hotspot of biodiversity, a term used to designate areas with a high number of endemic species (those found only in a single region) that are under severe threat of destruction due to human activities.
Members of these expeditions returned to the Arboretum with seeds and live plants, dried herbarium specimens, stuffed birds, and images of plants, people and landscapes.
Search expedition collections to learn more about the natural history and ethnographic collections which are now held at Harvard’s herbaria, museums, libraries, and archives.
This material depicts the area’s natural and ecological resources, and also documents the social and cultural history of China and Tibet.