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Hubei Province

Population: 59.9 million

Urban population: 24.6 million

Nationalities: Han (95.6%), Tujia (3.7%), and Miao (0.4%)

GDP (2007): CNY915 billion.

Local Weather: Click for Wuhan, Hubei Forecast

Climatic features: subtropical, humid, monsoonal climate; changeable weather in spring; humid, hot summers; strong sunlight in autumn, dry winters; frequent droughts and floods.

Average temperature:

1oC to 6oC in January, 24oC to 30oC in July; high temperatures on the northern side of the southeastern mountains and in the Three Gorges.

Annual average rainfall:

750 - 1,500 mm, high precipitation in the southeastern and southwestern mountains.

Physical features: high in the west and low in the east; mountainous and hilly except in the south.

Mountains: Wudang, Jingshan, and Wushan Mountains in the west; Dashennongjia Mountain in the Shennongjia Forest Region, among the western mountains; Tongbai and Dabie Mountains along the northeastern border; Mufu Mountains along the Hubei-Jiangxi border.

Rivers: Yangtze River and its tributary the Hanshui River.

Lakes: Honghu, Liangzi, Futou, Zhangdu, Longgarl, Changhu, and Diaocha Lakes (Hubei is known as the land of a thousand lakes).

Products:

Rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, potatoes, corn, rape, sesame, tea, soybeans, peanuts, sugar cane. cotton, ramie, silk cocoons, sun-cured tobacco; freshwater products, such as blunt-snout bream, lotus seeds, water chestnuts, lotus roots, pearls, waterfowl ; peaches, yangtao, oranges, chestnuts; tung oil, silver fungus, fir, Chinese tallow tree, metasequoia; iron, copper, rock salt, plaster stone.

Administrative divisions:

1 autonomous prefecture, 25 cities, 51 counties, 2 autonomous counties, and 1 forest district.

Capital: Wuhan

Neighboring areas: Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Henan Provinces.

Major cities: Wuhan, Huangshi, Yichang, Shashi, Xiangfan, Shiyan, Enshi, Jiangling.

Tourist attractions: Gezhouba Dam project near Yichang, Shennongjia Natural Reserve in western Hubei.

Elevation extremes:

Hubei is located in the transitional region from the second to the third terrace in the terrain of China, thus having a variety of landforms. It is surrounded by Wuling, Wushan, Daba, Wudang, Tongbai, Dabie and Mufu mountains on the west, north and east. Lying in the central and southern parts is the Jianghan Plain which extends to Hunan Province to link with the Dongting Lake Plain. Except for the hills on the fringes of the plain, the altitude on the plain is 35 meters or lower above sea level. The proportion of various landforms to the total area of the province is as follows: Mountains, 55.5%; hills and hillocks, 24.5%; and plain and lake areas, 20%. The elevation of different parts varies greatly. Shennong Summit, the highest peak of Shennongjia in west Hubei, which is known as the "Roof of Central China," is 3,105 meters above sea level, while Tanjiayuan of Jianli County on the eastern plain has an elevation of zero.

Climate:

Hubei has a subtropical monsoon climate. It enjoys abundant sunlight, with the annual amount of solar radiation totaling 85-114 kilocalories per square cm and annual duration of sunshine averaging 1,200-2,200 hours. Temperature is on the high side, with annual temperature averaging between 13-18. The highest temperature can reach 41, while the lowest temperature can drop to -14.9. The short frost period and abundant precipitation are favorable for agriculture. There are 230 to 300 days free of frost in a year and the annual rainfall has stood at 1,182.3 mm for many years. But rainfall is unevenly distributed. The amount of precipitation in the Wuling mountainous area is as high as 1,600-1,700 mm, while that in west Hubei is as low as 700-800 mm.

Natural resources:

Up to date, Hubei has discovered 138 kinds of minerals, 89 of which having their reserves verified. The reserves of phosphorus ore, hongshiite, wollastonite, garnet and marlstone rank the fifth in China, and several others, including iron, phosphorus, copper, gypsum, rock salt, gold amalgam, manganese and vanadium, rank the seventh nationally. But Hubei lacks energy minerals, with limited verified reserves of coal, petroleum and natural gas. The province's recoverable reserves of coal stand at 548 million tons.

Hubei has 10th largest water-surface area in China. The province has 1,193 rivers of different sizes, their lengths totaling 37,000 km. Among these rivers, 42 run more than 100 km. The Yangtze River flows 1,061 km traversing Hubei from west to east. The Hanjiang River, the largest tributary of the Yangtze, runs 878 km in Hubei from northwest to southeast before emptying into the Yangtze River at Wuhan.

Hubei has long been famed as a "province of thousand lakes." There were more than 1,300 lakes in the province in 1985, including 300 major ones which were 3 square kilometers each or larger in size. The majority of the lakes are distributed in the Jianghan Plain. Hubei is rich in underground water resources. Of its estimated 265 billion cubic meters of underground water reserves, 35.57 billion cubic meters are ready for annual extraction, approximately amounting to 36% of the province's average annual surface runoff. There are 58 large reservoirs in the province with a total water storage of 43.75 billion cubic meters.

Hubei boasts a number of large and medium-sized hydropower stations C the Gezhouba, Danjiangkou, Geheyan, Hanjiang, Duhe, Huanglongtan, Bailianhe, Lushui and Fushui. In addition, some thermal power stations have been built in Wuhan, Jingmen, Huangshi and some other places in recent years.

Hubei has a land area of 185,897 square kilometers, constituting 1.94% of the national total. The area of cultivated land is approximately 3.35 million hectares, with per-capita area standing at 0.06 hectares.

There are 570 species of terrestrial vertebrates in Hubei. Dozens of them have been listed as rare animals under state protection. They include golden-haired monkey, serow, leopard (Panthera pardus), white bear, white musk, white deer, white snake, white-crowned king pheasant and red-bellied tragopan. There are also 175 kinds of fish, accounting for about one quarter of the country's total freshwater fish species. Rare species under key state protection include Chinese sturgeon, Chinese paddlefish, mullet and giant salamander.

Hubei boasts both large numbers of broad-leaved deciduous species, which are typical plants of north China, and many broad-leaved evergreen species, which are popular in southern China. There are more than 2,000 species of wild plants, including some 1,300 kinds of medicinal plants and over 30 species either rare in the world or peculiar to China. The well-preserved Shennongjia virgin forest is a natural park of subtropical fauna and flora.

By the end of 2005, the number of nature reserves in the province had reached 62, covering a total area of 1.086 million hectares.

Tourism resources:

Hubei's tourism resources feature both beautiful landscapes and abundant places of historic and cultural interest. There are six national-level scenic spots, 13 national forest parks and three national nature reserves. Shennongjia has been listed in the UNESCO's program of Man and Biosphere and Wudang Mountain in the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritages. The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, Yellow Crane Tower and Gezhouba have been listed among China's top 40 tourist scenic sports. Hubei encompasses five famous historical and cultural cites designated by the state, 20 cultural sites under state protection, 365 cultural sites under provincial protection, five sites of Chu city ruins, 73 Chu Cultural sites and over 140 sites relating to the Three Kingdoms (220-265).