The People’s Republic of China occupies an enormous, geographically diverse portion of eastern Asia. It holds impressive biological diversity, including many endemic forms. China also ranks among countries seeing least scientific study in recent decades, given political situations that have prevented close collaborations. This combination of great diversity, unique forms, and little study makes China strategic for biodiversity surveys. Of particular interest in China are the southern borderlands, including the borders with Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and northeastern India, and representing the tropical lowlands of southern China that transition into Southeast Asia. This region is among the least explored in the country, yet is richest in biodiversity. Surveys in this area are urgent, given increasing pressure on the southern Chinese landscape for conversion to agriculture.

Our project is focusing on lowland tropical areas, where our team is surveying birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and associated parasites in a region for which almost no specimen based biodiversity information exists.

The project includes five annual surveys in the borderlands area. Beginning in Guangxi Province and finally westward to the lowlands of southeastern Tibet Province, areas of extremely difficult access. Survey teams consist of two ornithologists, two mammalogists, two herpetologists, one ectoparasite specialist, and one endoparasite specialist.

Summary article in Harvard Asia Quarterly

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