A thousand years ago, Saint Romuald founded the Sacred Hermitage and Monastery of Camaldoli in the forest a thousand meters above the sea level in Tuscany, Italy. The resources provided by both exotic and regional trees have been a support for the daily life, and as a protection to the monastery. The beauty of the mutualism between the monks and the trees is well demonstrated in this forest.
This natural forest, which is called Original Laurel forest, is a mix of conifers and broadleaf evergreen trees, but the main body is still broad-leaved forest. It is noticed that the "Ash-wood" is the most important water-conservation trees in the area of Himalaya Mountains, even the entire Asia.
Mt. Changbai Valley was formed by a process of long term erosion of rocks and lava after volcanic eruptions and solidification of lava. The valley is about 100 meters in depth, and 70 kilometers in length. Some says the beauty of Mt. Changbai Valley could be compared with the Grand Canyon in America.
zi River is an underground river, with a bottom at 40 meters. Tizi means ladder in Chinese and it gets the name for two reasons. First, the steep rocky valley is like a ladder, which is hard to climb, and second, the shape of the valley is like trapezoid.
The freezing weather in the northeast of China is suitable for white birches. Like its name, the trunk of white birches is snow white all year round. For people who enjoy outdoor activities, white birch is a great tree species partly because the bark of white birches can be made as firewood, and partly because people can get liquid from the tree to quench their thirst.
The best environment for Pu'er tea leaves to grow is under camphor trees. Camphor trees produce camphor which helps the tea leaves fight against pests and disease. The tea leaves will absorb camphor which will intensify the aroma and taste of Pur'er tea. Camphor trees themselves have developed an ecological protective system and have existed for more than 3,000 years.
We took a long journey to Nannuoshan to look for the oldest tea tree ("king") that has existed for 800 years. Professor Shengji Pei explained that the tree belongs to the Spondia family. It was exciting to see an 800-year-old tree still flourishing.
Nannuoshan is located between a monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest and a mid-montane humid evergreen broad-leaved forest. Species found in each climate can also be found in Nannuoshan. The Hani people have acclimated to living in the mountain and therefore tea has become their economic crop.
We came across a tea house built from wood standing in front of the oldest tea tree. A Hani woman made a pot of tea for us. It was really refreshing to take a rest there after a long day of walking around in the mountains.
The Nepali hog plum is highly nutritious. The fruit is oval-shaped, turns yellow when ripe and tastes sour but sweet. These two tall trees seen here have grown together since saplings. Their reliance on each other truly touched us.