A base will be set up to further protect 1,100 Ziyuan fir saplings found in central China's Hunan. The Class-A protected plant in China is considered to have less than 2,000 mature individuals.

CHANGSHA, August 20, Xinhua -- Researchers have found around 1,100 Ziyuan firs, a rare endangered tree that is considered to have less than 2,000 mature individuals, in the Hunan Nanshan National Park in central China.

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Photo taken on August 16, 2019 shows a full-grown Ziyuan fir tree in the Hunan Nanshan National Park, China's central Hunan Province. (Xinhua/Yang Wangchun)

The Ziyuan fir, or abies ziyuanensis, is a Class-A protected plant in China and is categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The number of its matured individuals is put at 250 to 1,970, according to the IUCN website.

The researchers have discovered around 1,100 saplings with heights ranging from 2 cm to 60 cm. They also found six more mature trees with a trunk diameter of 25 cm at the breast height.

"We will use security cameras for monitoring the trees, assign special personnel for managing them and use drones for patrolling," said Yang Xianglun, senior engineer of the management committee of the national park.

To further protect the trees, the park will set up a reproduction experiment base for conducting long-term observation of the plants in the future, Yang said.

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