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It is very clear that the right way to develop jungle farming is to choose appropriate plant species for further plantation. More or less, they should fit most of the following criteria :

– species adapted to the reserve’s biotopes

– rare or vulnerable plant species

– plant with potential economic value

– or plant with structural interest

The best explanation is to describe some examples.

Here is a beautiful fruit from a liana called Kadsura coccinea. It is not only beautiful, it is also extremely tasty. Moreover, it belongs to the Schisandraceae family where one can find the famous spice Schisandra chinensis known as the spice of the 5 tastes, and reputed adaptogen. Kadsura coccinea contains interesting lignans (like schisandra). It is used in local traditional Chinese medicine as anticancer and against dermatosis. As per recent studies its roots would present anti-allergic properties. A great future for this plant.

An other example is the extremely rare Heliciopsis terminalis small tree. We have amazingly one specimen in the reserve, quite young. The shape of its leaves is just quite unique.

It is considered as medicinal, but so rare, it is not really used anymore, and I have still not met anyone who exactly knows what it is good for.

It belongs to the Proteaceae, and therefore should  give beautiful flowers. I am eagerly waiting to watch them (probably yellow to whitish as per Chinese Flora). This specimen will be carefully multiplied as soon as we get seeds.

An other interesting fern (or more precisely a lycophyte), and present near the road of our TianZi reserve, is the rare Huperzia squarroza. Its sister species, Huperzia squarrosa is known in the whole world for its antidementia property, or anti-Alzheimer’s diseases property. 

With a biology even more complex than Huperzia serrata, Huperzia squarrosa may contain interesting alkaloids, if not huperzine like in the more common one.

Essential to the structure of our jungle farming, are big trees, giving partial shade to smaller trees. So is the case for Castanopsis diversifolia. This very high tree belongs to the Fagaceaea family (oak family) and give some tasty chestnuts. orchids love its bark, and climbers take their pleasure in embracing them.

We are actually tracing some seeds of Castanopsis rockii too, as the seeds are even bigger than our European chestnuts, and easier to harvest and prepare for food than Castanopsis diversifolia.

A final example of what should be a well-selected species is a climber from the Cucurbitaceae family with an unpronounceable name “Hodgsonia marcocarpa”.

This liana is as rare as useful. It was the main source of oil for the Dai living in South Yunnan, Laos and North Thailand, and it is now very rare, disappeared.

I have personally tasted its big nuts, and they are really good, and very healthy ; in fact the content of unsaturated acids is impressive.

An additional advantage, the climber attract very aggressive red ants which clear the tree which support it from undesirable pest and insects.

 

 

Finally the best way to select the interesting plant species, is doing what does the humanity since ever, talk to each other.

We have learnt a lot from old people especially. They know sometimes more than 3000 or 4000 different plant species, and they often know how to use them. They know where to find them and if they are common or start to disappear.

 

At New Nordic, we respect a lot this approach, as most of the herbs we use in our formula, are supported by a great capital of knowledge which had been given to us through elders.

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It was really great to see the strength of the vegetation after the rainy season. No more ashes, with soil covered with delicate grasses. Just here and there, traces of the horrible fire with young trees below 3 years, black and dried, lifeless.

Some burned orchids sprouted amazingly from inert biomass, for the joy of all visitors. These plants are really extraordinary, and I’m sure than in the future, their properties are going to be the future of the medicinal 21st century.

For plantations this last summer, an emphasize had been put on tea trees as it will structure this biotope. More than 40 000 seedlings had been planted in the reserve, and around 1500 had been assigned to the 3 hectares supported by New Nordic.

Tea forests are becoming very rare in China, although 70 years back, they represented the essential of tea production instead of these now predominant industrial tea terrace plantation. Tea grows very slowly, and a specimen like this one on the picture, 4 meters height, with a trunk of 20 cm is around 500 years old.

Tea trees, grown as free trees, and not reduced as pruned shrubs, are perfect to welcome high biodiversity. They need higher trees for a opportune shade. Orchids love to grab on their solid trunk as well all kind of ferns and other epiphytes. Herbaceous plants, gingers, and even terrestrial orchids like to develop under their lower branches. Grown under shades, the leaves in Spring or in fall develop the moste delicate aromas, and its quality is far above the industrial teas. This is actually why in Japan, luxury teas are shaded 2 weeks before the harvest.

The policy of TianZi Biodiversity Research Centre, is to look for sponsorship in order to facilitate the reforestation during the 3 first years, as well as to start the biodiversity implementation, and support the seedling growth by proper weeding the 3 first years. But after this 3 years period, the system should be economically viable, and this is the reason why around 40 to 50 % of the species present an economic potential.

Tea seedlings had been interplanted by great trees like Schima walichii, from the Theaceae family. This species can reach 60 meters, and is particularly loved by the great Vanda coerulea, quite present in the reserve.

Many other tree species had been planted this year, like Myrica esculenta (Myricaceae), Saurauia tristyla (Saurauiaceae), Mangifera sylvatica (Anacardiaceae). This last species, known also as pickling mango, or chicken mangoes, is highly threatened, although it gives, if very small, very tasty mangoes.

Some seedlings of Betula alnoides (Betulaceae) had been also spread into the reserve. Although it is quite common, this is a fast growing tree which gives shade to the environment and limit the development of grasses, helping natural sowing to come over. Moreover, the bark of this birch is well appreciated by the food supplement industry, as it is recognised for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is also accepted by EFSA.

In between all the trees planted, I would like to introduce you the very endangered Gardenia sootepense, a beautiful gardenia with powerful orange flowers, and remarkable scent. This tree is just unique and we have sown some near Jinghong, and they will be planted this coming month of May 2012.

Coming back to you soon, with more information on rare and valuable plants !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,5 hectares!!

In four months together with our Scandinavian customers, July 2011 – October 2011, we have increased the preserve with approx. 2,5 hectares!!Our goal to help the TianZi Biodiversity Research Centre to enlarge their preserve with at least 7 hectare in one year is really increasing. As you may know, the project will also contribute to the conserving and replanting, into their natural habitat, endangered species of trees, bushes, lianas and medicinal plants. The best time for replanting is before the rainy season starts, and next time in April 2012 one of the employees in New Nordic will be able to help the TianZi Centre as an volunteer. We draw lots, a fair thing to do,  and Gittes name came up. She will work for one week in the preserve as an volunteer. For you who haven´t met Gitte she is the account manager of New Nordic in Denmark where she spreads joy to us all. We are all very excited for her and of course; We hope that our matter of heart can inspire other companies. Together we can make a change.

One of the most important target of the reserve, is to protect orchids as they are all in great danger due to the destruction of their habitat. Here is an Epigenium which had been installed in the reserve. Orchids have a very amazing but complex biology, and therefore they need a whole ecosystem to live and survive. For instance, each species has its own insect for pollination, insect which can be extremely rare, could it be a wasp, a fly or a butterfly.

The seeds of orchids are amazingly small, as they need to fly to find adequate environment. In one pod, there are from 100 000 to 1 million seeds. They don’t have their growing energy in the semen, and this is why they need a special fungus to be associated in order get food and to germinate. Each species has its own fungus ! 

The seeds find the fungus in the interstices of the bark of certain species. Some orchids like better so and so tree. Vanda coerulea for instance prefer Schima walichii, a quite rare Theaceae from Yunnan.

Orchids usually need more than 7 years to flower in the wild, and if they grow slowly they have an extraordinary longevity sometime over 500 years old. 

 

Clearly, when we protect an orchid species, it is in fact thousands of plant species which are saved and protected through this process.

In the reserve, it is quite magic to watch up on the left over old trees and contemplate the astonishing diversity of colours and forms of the wild orchids.

Vanda coerulea spread their blues in fall. Dendrobium christyanum illuminate with their white (centred by a drop of gold and orange) in june.

 

 

 

 

Dendrobium chrysotoxum offer their golden wealth in April (you can see them on the welcome picture at the top of all pages of this blog).

 

In a next spot I will emphasize on many other endangered species which had been particularly taken care of besides orchids.

The first rains in Xishuangbanna start end of April, but at this time they are quite scarce. They operate as a signal for most of the plants to start to deliver seeds.

Real showers occur mid May, and correspond to the perfect time to sow seeds which had been collected during the dry season. They are sown in nurseries right in the middle of the reserve.

June and July are also perfectly opportune for transplanting young seedlings. The young trees will be showered almost every day, and will root enough to be ready for the dry season, starting from mid of October.
This last month of June 2011 and July 2011, many trees and shrub species had been planted. Some very high trees like 20 Betula alnoides, 10 Schima walichii had been transplanted. These trees are going to structure the rainforested jungle, and give shade to many shade lover smaller trees and shrub like Camelia oleifera (200 planted) or Camelia sinensis (tea tree, 200 planted).
50 Alnus nepalensis had been also planted as a fast growing tree; it presents the advantage to be loved by orchids, as they like to be gently attached to their bark.
In total this month of August 2011, nearly 900 tree seedlings had been planted, and more than 1000 seeds had been sown in the nursery, concerning 30 different plant species. In a next post, I will detailed more about the endangered species which had been protected this year.

The tropical rain forests have over all been the most important source of food, medicine and food supplements in human history. Without them our possibilities of finding tomorrow´s medicinal and natural remedies will disappear. The latest figures show that 16 million hectares of tropical forest is disappearing each year.

Therefore we want with our campaign I LOVE SAVING PLANTS contribute in conserving and protecting the rain forests and their biodiversity. But it is not only a strategic question for us at New Nordic, it is a matter very much in our hearts

Through our consumers purchase of one of New Nordic´s products from July 2011 to July 2012 our customers are actively contributing in conserving the rain forests and its biodiversity for coming generations. Under this period of time New Nordic will pay 1 SEK per sold New Nordic product to the TianZi Preserve, located in the rainforest of the Bulang mountains, China.

Our goal is to enlarge the TianZi Preserve with at least 7 hectares, 70 000 m2, tropical mountain rainforest together with our customers.

Together we can contribute to protect the rain forest, the world´s greatest health pharmacy, for coming generations.

We hope that our matter of heart can inspire other companies. Together we can make a change.

In April 2011, 6 weeks after the fire,  it was possible to assess the extend of the disaster. Almost 90 % of the young trees and seedlings of 1 to 3 years were burned. But the good news was that all older trees were saved and some shrubs species were just growing again.

But the amazing spectacle was to observe the unusual well-being of hundreds of Musella lasiocarpa, also called “Golden Lotus”.

Musella lasiocarpa is part of the Musaceae family(banana family). Its considered by the Dai minority as a sacred plant due to the sun like shape of their flowers. It is quite rare in Yunnan although we can find some near Dai buddhist temples. Very much possible is that the very high water content of these small banana shrubs protected them against fire. A plant as tough as beautiful !


But what stroke me while walking on the ashes was to discover extremely rare specimens of a very special tree-fern : Brainea insignis, also known as Sago cycas fern.

It was a great population of around 30 specimen, all with new shoots, raising an astonishing flame colour. The strenght of these new leaves after fire was a great sign of how nature will recover.

New Nordic decided to itensify a multiplication program for this fern in order to increase the population with in the reserve. Brainea insignis is the single species of the genus Brainea, and belongs to the Blechnaceae.

Additional sign of hope was the strenght of certain orchids which were really willing to regrow although burned at 80 % !