Vegetation mapping in China

Chi Hongkang



The article gives the brief outline of the history of vegetation mapping in China. Three periods in the development of Chinese vegetation cartography are distinguished.

1. The primary period (before 1957) is characterized by schematic, mostly regionalization, small-scale maps based on a physiognomic approach with few divisions of the legend. An example is the Vegetation Map of China at 1 : 18 000 000, published in 1957 which showed basic reguliarities of the geographic distribution of vegetation in China, its legend having included 13 numbers.

2. The period of maturation (from 1958 up to 1979). The extensive field investigations and rapid development of theory and methodology promoted the creation of some important cartographic works. The most significant of them are: Vegetation Map of China at 1 : 10 000 000 (Hou Hsiohyu et al., 1965), Vegetation Regionalization Map of China (Hou Hsiohyu, 1965), Vegetation Map of People s Republic of China at 1 : 4 000 000 (Hou Hsiohyu at al., 1980). These maps are notable for a great deal of various data involved, the hierarchic complex legends of almost two hundred divisions, the application of some new scientific approaches: showing the latitudinal, longitudinal and altitudinal differentiation, the edaphic variation of and the dynamic phenomena in vegetation. In this period some regional maps were published as well: vegetation maps of North-East China at 1 : 500 000 and of Zun Ge Er at 1 : 2 000 000.

3. The period of rapid and intensive development (after 1980). Owing to remote sensing technique numerous small-scale maps were prepared and published. The basic one is the Vegetation Map of China at 1 : 1 000 000. For its preparing a great deal of field materials, satellite images and literature data were involved. About 300 researches took part in this work.

Section: Articles

How to cite

Chi Hongkang 1996. Vegetation mapping in China // Geobotanical mapping 1994-1995. St. Petersburg. P. 55–58.