Nanling National Nature Reserve was established in 1994 and is located in northern Guangdong Province, in the central south of the Nanling Mountains. The coordinates are given as 24°37′-24°57′N，112º30′-113º04′E. It is a forest ecological protected area that protects the subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest and rare flora and fauna as well as their inhabitants. The size of the Nanling National Nature Reserve is 584 km²，with the core area of 236km²，the buffer area of 150km²，and the experimental area of 198km². Besides, the forest coverage proportion of Nanling National Nature Reserve is no less than 98％, with integrated mountain forest ecosystems and native vegetation vertical belt. Nanling National Nature Reserve is a typical representative of the evergreen broadleaved forest in southeast China, and it is also a valuable natural heritage in similar latitude areas of the world.
In Nanling National Nature Reserve, the present survey recorded 3889 species of wild higher plant belonging to 1262 genera and 287 families. Among the wild higher plant, there are 351 species of bryophyte in 153 genera and 60 families; 3538 wild vascular plant species in 1109 genera and 227 families, including 363 fern species in 112 genera and 46 families; 3175 seed plant species in 997 genera and 181 families, including 19 gymnosperm 11 genera and 7 families, and 3156 angiosperm in 986 genera and 174 families ( 2605 dicotyledons in 764 genera and 147 families, and 551 monocotyledon in 222 genera and 27 families). Among the flora recorded in the present survey, there were a number of species of conservation importance. 33 species of plant are regarded as national key protected plants, such as Texus, Bretschneidera sinensis, and Pinus Kwangtangensis, and 40 species of plant are considered rare and endangered, such as Disanthus cercidifolius var. longipes, Semiliquidambar cathayensis, and Castanopsis conscinna.
According to statistics, there are 555 vertebrate species in 339 genera, 100 families and 31 orders, including 98 mammal species in 71 genera, 25 families and 9 orders, 261 bird species in 155 genera, 41 families and 14 orders, 94 reptile species in 49 genera, 13 families and 9 orders, 44 amphibians in 20 genera, 7 families and 2 orders, 58 bony fish species in 44 genera, 14 families and 4 orders. Apart from the vertebrate species, there are 2233 insect species, including 397 butterfly species, 1252 moth species, and 584 coleoptera species. Over these recorded animal species, 74 species are listed as national key protected animals, such as Teinopalpus aureus Mell, Panthera pardus, Cabot's Tragopan, boa, and macaque monkey. Besides, 82 animal species including South China Tiger, leopard, Zhaoermia mangshanensis are listed in the China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals.
Nanling National Nature Reserve was approved by the China Biosphere Reserve Network in August 2001. Additionally, it was approved as demonstration base of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation in May 2007. Two years later, Nanling National Nature Reserve was named a National Popular Science Base of Forestry in July and National Popular Science Base in December.
Nanling National Nature Reserve is one of the sources of the Pearl River. In addition, it is the most abundant biological resources of nature reserves,the largest biological species gene pool, and one of the 14 biodiversity hotspots in China. It is acknowledged as “Treasury of Species” and “Pearl of Nanling.”