Manchuria, aka northeast China

Trees and forests of continental Asia

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Neil
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:17 pm

Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Neil » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:18 am

Dear NTS,

Apologies for the lack of participation lately. This has been an especially busy period for me that coincided with a fortunate series of visits to other broad-leaved, temperate forests in Asia. It was such a dendro-trip! I was thinking of NTS often, especially those of you living in New England or, specifically, central Massachusetts. I took many pictures of what I saw in Manchuria (northeast China) and western Bhutan; too many. So, over the next few weeks, I will upload pictures of specific plants and landscapes that ought to mostly seem familiar to many NTS. Too bad China so effectively shuts down access to bulletin boards and blogs. There could be a great bridge formed between North American and Asian NTS.

My first stop was to northeast China, an area originally known as Manchuria. I had dreamed of making it to this part of the world after learning of the similar botanical elements and ecosystems. Pictures of Harbin’s ice festival convinced me that this part of the world would feel like home (I’m from near the Adirondack Mtns).

I flew into Shenyang late one night and fairly early the next morning was driven 7 hrs to near the border with the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, aka North Korea. The weather held and I got a glimpse of the volcanic lake shared by China and North Korea on top of Changbai Shan.
ChangbaiShanIntoSign.jpg
ChangbaiShanSkyLake.jpg
The other side of the lake is the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

I was repeatedly told this was a rare sighting and I was lucky person; lucky indeed. We drove through a birch-dominated forest to make it to the mountaintop. We didn’t get to hike in this forest, but it felt quite familiar.

We did get to hike at lower elevation in the ‘Dell Forest’. Most nature preserves I’ve been in in China have trails that are boardwalked or paved. This was no different.
ChangbaiSouthernForestZhenjuMrSunDownStairsPan.jpg
What really captured my attention, however, was the feel of the forest. I had gone hiking in the ADKs just two weeks earlier with my wife. We hiked through a spruce- birch-maple forest with some ash, larch and a witch-hobble understory in the ADKs. The Dell Forest? Larch, spruce, fir, ash [mountain and true], maple and a handful of other familiar genera like Rhododendron. Below are some examples of the species we saw. The larch and the mountain ash fruit were in full color. It was lucky timing.

DellForestGeneralForestInteriorSceneBest.jpg
general Dell Forest interior scene


AbiesNephrolepisSapling.jpg
Abies nephrolepsis pole stem


AcerComarovii.jpg
Acer comarovii


AcerUkurunduenseLargish.jpg
largish Acer ukurunduense stem



AcerUkurunduenseTwigBud.jpg
Acer ukurunduense twig and buds



AlnusMandshurica.jpg
Alnus mandshurica



and, a final landscape scene for today:
DellForestGulchTallPan.jpg

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dbhguru
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Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by dbhguru » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:19 am

Neil,

Totally awesome post. Can't wait to see the next. NTS at its best.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:05 am

Neil, Wow! What a surprise a trip to China, awesome! Like Bob said can't wait to see more photos. The lake photo is way cool! Larry

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Neil
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Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Neil » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:54 am

Dear NTS,

Some more forest and botanical scenes from the Dell Forest on Changbai Shan.
DellForestGeneralForestInteriorScenePan.jpg
Starting off with another general forest scene - I'm unsure which birch this is, though I think it is likely B. ermanii. I'll have more birch in future posts.


DellForestSorbusPohuashanensisFruit.jpg
Sorbus pohuashanensis


DellForestStoneAndAsh.jpg
more Sorbus


ForestPatio.jpg
Forested patio



RockWallDellForestPanLargeFraxinus.jpg
I generally can get a bit fixated on something new. Here, on this trip, I was tripping over Fraxinus manschurica. You can see a lunker in this general scene lurking in back towards the right. BTW, if I haven't said it: most of the Dell Forest we hiked in was old-growth. It was a highlight of the trip.



FraxinusLargeGeneralForestScene.jpg
Apparently, Fraxinus mandschurica is closely related to Fraxinus nigra. The general climatological setting was correct.


FraxinusUpperStem.jpg
Even its architecture is similar to Fraxinus in the eastern US.


LarixOlgensisTrunk.jpg
The biggest difference between Manchuria (NE China near North Korea) and the northeastern US is the dominance of Larix. Here is Larix olgensis.


LikeYellowBirchBark.jpg
MA or Manchuria?


PinusKoraiensis.jpg
Seriously? MA or Manchuria? Pinus strobus or Pinus koraiensis?



PiceaJezonensisTrunk.jpg
Picea jezonensis


ZhenjuLargeAbie.jpg
My host, Dr. Zhenju Chen, next to a large Abies nephrolepis

Tomorrow we'll move to a different forest on Changbai Shan.

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dbhguru
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Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by dbhguru » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:24 am

Neil,

The next time you go on one of these fantastic excursions to far away places with strange sounding names, will you please find a way to stuff us in your luggage? We'll be as quiet as church mice. Promise.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:02 am

dbhguru wrote:Neil,

The next time you go on one of these fantastic excursions to far away places with strange sounding names, will you please find a way to stuff us in your luggage? We'll be as quiet as church mice. Promise.

Bob
Or, at least, maybe by then, the Chinese will allow you to send us images while your there and we can root for you as you hike around.

How much of the original Manchurian forest is still forest? How much old growth is there? Wow, we could ask a million questions.

Joe

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Steve Galehouse » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:44 pm

Neil-

Great post! Did you see any genera of trees or shrubs aren't represented in the flora of eastern North America? Acer comarovii(komarovii) is in the same section as our Acer pensylvanicum, and Acer ukurunduense is in the same section as our Acer spicatum, so the forest is even similar to that of New England, and the latitude is nearly the same as well.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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Neil
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:17 pm

Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Neil » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:59 am

Bob - no doubt you would be as quiet as church mice, though i have no doubt you'd be giddy and let out some ape releases in the forest! but, the baggage fees would be out of this world.

Joe - most of the forests are disturbed in this area, i would guess. we drove 7 hrs from Shenyang to Changbai Shan on brand new highway [less than 3 weeks old!]. most of the forests along the way have the human fingerprint all over it. Changbai Shan and the Dell Forest was the exception.

Steve - the hard thing about botanizing in China is that the botanists mostly know the Chinese names and then the Latin names for families [this was my experience in Sichuan; Manchuria was little different]. so, getting into the nitty-gritty is tough. i was mostly looking out for the similarities, that was what i was there for. so, i do not remember much in the simpler forests of NE China. but, Sichuan and Bhutan....whoa!

neil

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Neil
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:17 pm

Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Neil » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:07 am

hi again NTS,

Continuing on with the other forests on Changbai Shan, but not in the Dell Forest.

BetulaErmaniiForestGreenPond.jpg
this is a Betual ermanii forest [in front of a man-made pond...]. B. ermanii dominates the upper forests of Changbai Shan.

ChangbaiShanEntranceMtnPan.jpg
the boreal forest, with Larix in full color, of Changbai Shan


HotSpringCornAndEggs.jpg
not botany, only curiosity - corn and eggs cooked in the hot spring. the water temperature in the hot springs was said to be 60-82 degrees C

RhododendronChrysanthum.jpg
Rhododendron chrysanthum

RhododendronDauricum.jpg
the sapling is Rhododendron dauricum

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Chris
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:52 pm

Re: Manchuria, aka northeast China

Post by Chris » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:30 am

Amazing!

Neil, you mentioned that Internet access restrictions would limit cross-Pacific collaboration. Did you get any sense of similar to NTS in China? Certainly, there are government/university researchers, but what about a more "citizen science" group [to use a popular buzzword].

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