Hong Kong is near the northern limit of the distribution of tropical Southeast
Asian flora, sharing similar species and structure with the flora of Guangdong
Province. Despite its small size, Hong Kong has a rich flora with about 3 100 species
of vascular plants. Various conservation measures have transformed the formerly bare
hillsides and slopes into impressive woodlands. Besides greening and beautifying the
countryside, woodlands are important habitats for wildlife and are essential for
protecting water catchments from soil erosion. They also provide recreational
opportunities for the public.
Remnants of the original forest cover, either scrub forest or well-developed
woodlands, are still found in steep ravines or behind traditional villages in rural areas.
They have survived through their location in precipitous topography and the moist
winter micro-climate or because they are protected for cultural reasons.