192 pages, 150 col illus, 15 maps
In this vast country - the third largest in the world - varied climate conditions produce an array of habitat types, from the snowy wastelands of the frigid northeast to the tropical paradises of the far south. Spectacular scenery - much of it unique - includes breath-taking karst stone forests, multiple columnar peaks, dramatic caves and solitary pines clinging precariously to bare rocky peaks reminiscent of a Chinese ink-brush painting. Heather has had unusual access to little-known parts of China for many years.
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HEATHER ANGEL has visited and photographed all these locations, particularly their indigenous plants and animals, from China's 'national treasure' the giant panda to the whooper swans that spend the winters on the vast salt-water lake of Qinghai, from the endangered Amur tiger to the endearing pink dolphins of Hong Kong, and including lotus lilies, orchid trees and bamboo forests along the way. Her travels include the inevitable ups and downs, the remark all wildlife photographers learn to dread - 'You should have been here last week!' -and detours into aspects of local history and the traditional crafts that make China a country of incomparable richness and diversity. With each chapter focusing on a particular locality and its 'keynote' species and including details of the efforts being made to bring certain endangered species 'back from the brink', Natural China is an engaging guide to a country that is just opening up to ecotourism and offers fascination enough to lure visitors like Heather back again and again.