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TU Berlin

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The German naturalists' biological explorations and studies in China (during 1830 - 1949)

Luo Guihuan (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

As early as the middle of the last century, several German naturalists had shown great interest in the flora and fauna of China. These first German naturalists who traveling in China then included the botanist, who enthusiastically introduced some valuable economic plants to Germany from China, and the missionary, who visited some celebrated mountains in China and herborized from those places, the collections of his plant contained many species new to science, as well as the diplomat, who explored in the mountains and imperial hunting park around Beijing and Hebei province when he was resident in Beijing and Tianjin and published some important biological papers. Later especially in the former half of this century, there were more German naturalists arrived in China for exploration. They made important collections of the natural history in more extensive areas, not only gathered the zoological and botanical specimens particularly the insects in southeast coastal provinces, but also collected extensively in various southwest mountainous areas and the northwest plateau of China, and sent back enormous number of biological collections including large ornithological and mammalian specimens to Germany. Meanwhile based on materials collected in China, some of German prominent zoologists and botanists described and studied large numbers of Chinese new plants and animals. They had made important contributions to Chinese flora and fauna, in particular L. Diels, had done some spectacular researches in the alpine flora and botanical geography of central western China, it was of important significance to promote the progress of botanical science.

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