Situated in Lancang Lahu autonomous county in Pu'er, Yunnan province, this cultural landscape includes five well-preserved ancient tea forests, three protective barrier forests, and nine historic villages. These villages are primarily inhabited by the Blang and Dai ethnic groups.
This cultural landscape, developed by the Blang and Dai people over a thousand years ago for tea production, is characterized by their innovative understorey cultivation technique. This method involves nurturing shade-tolerant shrubs or trees under taller tree canopies, a practice deeply rooted in the region's mountainous ecosystem and subtropical monsoon climate.
The forests are meticulously managed through a distinctive conservation system, blending government oversight with grassroots autonomy and honoring traditional tea ancestor beliefs.
This system adapts to local climate, terrain, and biodiversity, promoting the preservation of both cultural and biological diversity while ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources. Over centuries of care and stewardship, this landscape has evolved into a harmonious blend of tea forests and plantations, embodying a deep reverence for nature.
The Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sept 17.