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Firmiana major is a rare and endangered plant endemic to China, which was listed as the second-class national key protected plant, in the “List of the Rare and Endangered Plants of China (First Batch)” issued in 1984. It has been considered as extinct in the wild, until in 2004, the staff of the Panzhihua Cycad National Nature Reserve Management Bureau found nearly 200 strains while patrolling, and promptly carried out the “salvage protection”.

In July 2017, the Kunming Institute of Botany found two wild populations of Firmiana major in Ninglang County and Yuanmou County of Yunnan Province, and conducted a more detailed survey and scientific data collection. Results showed that the number of population found in Ninglang County was up to one thousand strains, while population found in Yuanmou County only had a small number, only about a dozen.

At present, the protection of these two populations has attracted great attention from Yunnan Provincial Forestry Department, Chuxiong Prefecture and Lijiang Municipal Forestry Bureau, who have actively explored effective ways to establish small reserves or protection site for the conservation of the existing individual plants and their habitats, and carried out the ex-situ conservation, naturalization and population restoration on the basis of artificial high-efficiency breeding. Kunming Institute of Botany has collected the corresponding breeding materials, carried out researches on the embryo culture and tissue culture technology, which has made important progress. (Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management, State Forestry Administration)

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