Rain Forest Biodiversity
Winter 2013 was abnormal: HainanIsland in southern China had never experiencedsuch a cold weather – weather whichthreatened the “Ark of Images” campaignon Jianfeng Mountain, a national park featuringuntouched tropical rainforests.
Launched in June 2013, Ark of Imagesinvolves a team of Chinese naturalistsand photographers who are committed todocumenting rare species through imagesin regions such as Hainan Province andGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Special studios were established in thewilderness for the collection and documentationof subjects. Along with scientistsand photographers, local guides also playa crucial role. Jianfeng Mountain was thefirst stop of the campaign.
Jianfeng Mountain is believed to bean ideal natural studio for the study ofrainforest biodiversity, particularly insects,amphibians and reptiles. The vertical throwof the main forest, spanning 260 square kilometersin area, reaches nearly 1,000 meters.The precipitous cliffs act as a naturalprotective screen, isolating animals fromthe outside world and providing shelter forrare species.
In the early 1960s, little attention waspaid to natural resources of the mountain.The local government most valued itsgeographical location of military importancefor the South China Sea. However,the military base protected the environment,favoring the survival of insects,birds, reptiles, freshwater fish, and manyother animals, such as macaques and blackcrested gibbons. Nevertheless, the densityof the rainforest has determined the destinyof certain species. During the late 1950s,Jianfeng Mountain became a tree farm,which heralded the beginning of loggingand a wildlife exodus.
The cold air was wet with drizzle.Everyone was hoping for long-lost sunlight,which meant a chance to see more species.
It began pouring rain at midnight onDecember 16, 2013. A rare species of frogcrept into the tent. Photographers jumpedat the unexpected opportunity and put it in a box as if it were gold, hoping it to bea good luck omen for the entire campaign.The temperature jumped from 13 to 21 degreesCelsius by December 20. Occasionally,croaking of frogs resounded throughthe valley over its winding brook.