【Cultural Review】

Recently, China's project "Pu'er Jingmai Mountain Ancient Tea Forest Cultural Landscape" was approved and deliberated at the 45th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee and inscribed on the World Heritage List. This is China's 57th World Heritage Site, filling the gap that there is no "tea" theme world cultural heritage among the world's three major non-alcoholic drinks (tea, coffee, cocoa).

"Pu'er Jingmai Mountain Ancient Tea Forest Cultural Landscape" is currently the only "tea" themed world heritage in the world, including 5 complete ancient tea forests, with a concentrated continuous area of 1,8 mu. There are 9 traditional villages in the ancient tea forest, with more than 5000,<> inhabitants. After thousands of years of protection and development, the local ancestors have created an ancient tea forest cultural landscape of forest tea symbiosis and harmony between people and land. The successful application of "Pu'er Jingmaishan Ancient Tea Forest Cultural Landscape" has also successfully brought Yunnan Ancient Tea Garden into the public's vision.

Yunnan is the birthplace of tea plants in the world, and has a tradition of growing tea and making tea since ancient times, and has the only continuous ancient tea garden in the world today. Before the Tang Dynasty, all ethnic groups in southern Yunnan planted tea plants in the forest to form ancient forest tea gardens, and this ecological wisdom jointly created in the practice of production and life has a long history of hundreds or even thousands of years. The ancestors of the Kino, Brown, Dai, Hani and other ethnic groups in Yunnan have similar understandings of the biological and ecological characteristics of tea plants and the local natural environment, and have planted tea plants under natural forests in a nearly similar way and managed ancient tea gardens, which has continued to this day. Their long-term cultivation, management, protection and utilization of the traditional practices of ancient tea gardens, deeply integrated into their national culture, have become an important element to forge the sense of community of the Chinese nation, and can be called a model of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

As an important part of the "Yunnan Pu'er Ancient Tea Garden and Tea Culture System", Jingmai Mountain is located in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, Pu'er City, Yunnan Province, and is a famous Pu'er tea producing area. In September 2012, the Pu'er Ancient Tea Garden and Tea Culture System, including it, was announced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a pilot for the protection of Globally Important Agricultural Cultural Heritage. Like other Pu'er tea gardens, Jingmai Ancient Tea Garden still has a large ancient tea forest, and the ancient tea trees in the tea garden are still lush and green. The Brown, Dai, Lahu, Hani, Hani and Han ethnic groups living in Jingmai Mountain have cultivated and managed large-leaf tea plants for hundreds of thousands of years, and explored understory planting techniques for rational use of forest ecosystems, presenting a unique landscape of "forest from afar, tea plantation at close range". Almost without the use of any chemical fertilizers and pesticides, relying on the natural decomposition of dead branches and leaves to provide nutrients, all ethnic groups to the ancient tea garden just right management and maintenance, so that the ancient tea garden not only has the appearance of the forest, but also surging the pulse of the forest.

Ethnoecological research shows that the number of plant species in the ancient tea garden of Jingmai Mountain is as many as that of the modern intensive new tea garden, and the biodiversity index is much higher than that of the modern monoculture tea garden. The ancient tea plantations are a sustainable ecosystem, and the people of all ethnic groups in Jingmai Mountain, mainly the Brown and Dai ethnic groups, use the land and lay out villages according to local conditions, which not only protects biodiversity, but also brings stable and considerable economic income to all ethnic groups, reflecting their common wisdom in rational use of natural resources.

Although the ancient tea plantation is located in the frontier, the integration with other regions and ethnic compatriots has never stopped. The high-quality ancient tree tea bred in the ancient tea forest is not only the source of livelihood for the compatriots of the border ethnic groups, but also the common interests of the Chinese nation, and the tea culture derived from it is a treasure of Chinese culture. Ancient tea gardens are a representative carrier of the sense of community of the Chinese nation, and exploring the value of ancient tea gardens, protecting ancient tea gardens and inheriting related tea culture are the proper meaning of forging the consciousness of the Chinese national community.

The "Tea Horse Road", which originated from the ancient tea garden, passes through the three major ethnic corridors of Longxi Corridor, Tibet-Yi Corridor and Miaojiang Corridor, and with its developed road system, it has promoted social, economic and cultural exchanges among many ethnic groups, becoming a large channel for traditional cultural exchanges between ethnic groups, a big stage for the integration of various ethnic groups, and an important link in the sense of community of the Chinese nation. The sense of community of the Chinese nation is like a long and simple ribbon, shuttling through the ancient and lush traditional tea plantations, allowing compatriots of all ethnic groups to connect hand in hand.

(Authors: Zhang Qing and Long Chunlin, respectively, graduate students of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences of Minzu University of China, professor of Minzu University of China, director of the Key Laboratory of Ecology and Environment of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission of Ethnic Minority Areas) (Source: Guangming Daily)