Protecting Heritage Trees in Weifang City, Shandong Province, Northern China

Liyan Qi, Yuntao Zhang, Xuliang Zhang


Heritage trees are long-lived trees or notable trees with great historical significance, scientific value, or commemorative importance. Many heritage trees have been preserved in Weifang City, Shandong Province, Northern China. In this paper, the origin, species diversity, age structure, health, surrounding habitats, distribution, genera floristic composition, and challenges of protecting the heritage trees were investigated using literature analysis, field survey, and interview. There are 864 heritage trees in the city, composed of 49 species, 41 genera, and 25 families. The heritage trees are divided into three original types: religious trees, naturally dispersed and preserved wild trees, and trees with agricultural backgrounds or used as offerings. Particularly, Sophora japonica, Ziziphus jujube, Ginkgo biloba, Sabina chinensis, Platycladus orientalis, and Osmanthus fragrans are the six most common species. There are 208 individuals of 500 years or elder, 293 individuals of 300–499 years old, 359 individuals of 100–299 years old, and 4 individuals of notable trees. Most of them are distributed in low-urbanized areas of the 4 county-level cities and Linqu county, and few are distributed in high-urbanized areas of the 4 districts of Weifang City. There are 14, 12, and 6 genera belonging to the areal-types of Temperate, Cosmopolitan, and Tropic, respectively, similar to that of wild seed plants in Yishan Mountain. There are some challenges in protecting heritage trees, such as urbanization, habitat deterioration, natural disasters, anthropic activities, health decline, and inadequate management. Some protection measures that have been taken previously are summarized, and some measures that should be taken in the future are proposed.

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