China: A team of scientists discovers a primary forest at the bottom of a giant abyss

In China, in Leye County, sinkhole formation is common. What’s less: the discovery of a primeval forest at the bottom of one of them, 192 meters deep. An exceptional find, according to scientists who believe that this pit could form a kind of gigantic plant greenhouse.

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Centuries-old trees of almost 40 meters high

In early May, a team of Chinese speleologists discovered a primeval forest in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. If the area contains many potholes, this find was made in the largest of them: a gorge 306 meters long, 150 meters wide and 192 meters deep.

Expedition leader Chen Lixin described to China News Agency Xinhua by “hundred-year-old trees almost 40 meters long” like “Dense shade plants that reach up to the shoulders. †

“I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are species in these caves that have never been reported or described by science before. †

Chen Lixin for Xinhua

A possible “conservatory of relict species”

There’s something to excite the scientific community: Sheltered at the bottom of its well, this primitive forest is said to have been preserved from human activities. Serge Muller (Emeritus Professor of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History) explained for: Edition that this discovery awakens the hope of discovery “relic species”that is, animal or plant species attesting to distant geological times.

A similar discovery was made in Australia in 1994, in a remote canyon just 150 km from Sydney. There we discovered the “Wolemi-den”a type of Gymnosperms that appeared more than 200 million years ago.

“The Wollemi pine site was very much threatened by the massive fires in Australia in January 2020 and required a special intervention, which was kept secret during construction, to ensure its preservation. †

Serge Müller at Edition

The challenge from now on is to preserve this natural treasure as best as possible. There, human frequency must be limited and ecological conditions preserved: a real challenge in the context of climate change.

A journey to the center of the earth, the discovery of a primitive forest, possible relic species… enough to raise Jules Verne from the dead!

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