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Wendou village in Guizhou: Living with the forest

By Zeng Jun and Li Yang ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2014-05-28

The villagers who lived in Wendou village, an ethnic Miao village in Southwest China’s Guizhou province, have lived in the forest for more than 500 years.

A series of regulations and agreements have been drawn and implemented, with the intention of ensuring long-term forestry development. A stele was built in the Qianlong period (AD 1735-1796) in the village, inscribing the regulations and punishments involved in forest management, marriage and inheritance. The locals call the stele "six bans" as there are six regulations on it. They have followed the rules for more than 500 years.

Wendou village in Guizhou: Living with the forest
A 70-year-old man introduces the "six bans" stele.(Photo/China Daily Guizhou Office)

"When I was a child, I knew the six bans from my grandparents. All villagers act according to the bans," said Jiang Xiuquan, Party secretary of Wendou village.

Wendou village in Guizhou: Living with the forest
A Wendou villager shows the forest regulations dating back over hundreds of years.(Photo/China Daily Guizhou Office)

Jiang said, "There are more than 600 hectares of forest in the village. But we cut at most 200 cubic meters of forest a year.""We have followed an ancient custom for a long time. When a child is born, we will plant a tree," said Jiang.

More than 600 species of ancient trees grow in Wendou village, including Chinese yew, ginkgo and nanmu.

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