Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department



Conserving The Rare And Endangered Flora

Efforts on flora conservation are concentrated on the rare and endangered plant species. Once they have been identified, they are conserved mainly through the following approaches.

Enforcement of legislation

  • [Enforcement of legislation]
    Under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance, Chapter 96, damaging plant in any forest or plantation on Government land is prohibited.
  • [Iris speculatrix]
    Iris speculatrix
    Some rare and attractive species that are subject to exploitation are specifically listed in the Forestry Regulations, a subsidiary legislation of Chapter 96, which further controls the sale and possession of the listed species.
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Habitat Protection

  • Designation of Country Parks, Special Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interests (SSSIs) have been adopted by which habitat protection for rare and endangered plants can be achieved.

  • The existing Country Parks and Special Areas, with about 40% of the land area of the region, cover most of the Hong Kong remaining green hillsides and wooded valleys and play an important role in flora conservation. Habitats of a number of rare plant species are located within Country Parks and Special Areas under statutory protection.

  • A number of SSSIs have been listed due to their floristic importance. For example, Mau Ping at Ma On Shan has been listed as a SSSI in recognition of the presence of the largest population of Camellia crapnelliana in Hong Kong.

  • What is SSSI?

[Mau Ping SSSI]

Mau Ping SSSI

[Camellia crapnelliana]

Camellia crapnelliana

The listing of SSSIs is an administrative device to ensure that government departments are aware of the scientific importance of such sites and to ensure that they give due consideration to conservation when development in or near these sites are proposed. In considering whether a site should be recognised as a SSSI, the site or its features will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • its uniqueness, naturalness or rarity in a territory-wide context
  • its scientific value in a territorial or regional context
  • whether it is representative or typical of its kind

The Register of SSSI is kept by the Planning Department and can be inspected at the Planning Information Enquiry Counter (Enquiry: 2231 5000)

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Active Propagation

  • Various methods such as seed collection, cutting, air-layering, etc, have been attempted to propagate rare plants. Transplantation may also be carried out if their habitats are found to be under threat.

  • [Keteleeria fortunei]
    Keteleeria fortunei
    Successful examples of active propagation include Keteleeria fortunei, Camellia crapnelliana and Camellia granthamiana. Seeds of these species have been collected in the field and seedlings raised in nursery. The seedlings have then been re-planted to the wild and populations successfully established.
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Ex-situ Conservation

  • [Ex-situ Conservation]
    A base for flora conservation has been established in the Shing Mun Arboretum. About 300 species of native plants representative of Hong Kong and South China have been propagated and established there for conservation and education purposes.
  • [Ex-situ Conservation]
    [Ex-situ Conservation]
    The Greenhouse of Field Investigation Unit (FIU) at Tai Tong Nursery provided an excellent environment for conservation of rare and precious plants. The Greenhouse is equipped with automatic misting, temperature and humidity control system as well as environmental growth chambers and seed depository. More than 100 species, especially the more fragile species and orchids have been conserved.
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Last Review Date : 14 February 2018