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The Oaks of Hong Kong: Evolutionary and Morphological Diversity on a Continental Margin

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Joeri Sergej Strijk

Published May 2018 in International Oaks No. 29: 77–90


Hong Kong represents an intriguing example of how topography, climate and evolutionary time can combine to create a highly diverse array of environmental conditions on a small geographic scale. Located on the edge of continental Asia, it consists of pieces of mainland, islands and peninsula that were once home to warm forests with elephants, tigers and rhinoceros. Today it holds one of Asia’s megacities with a population of 7.4 million people, yet more than half of its surface area has been designated as protected green zones. These country parks, watershed reservoirs and protected upland areas hold the last populations of Hong Kong’s oak species (in addition to 24 other Fagaceae), as well as a rich and varied flora and fauna. Here I provide a brief overview of the history of Hong Kong’s forests, its oaks and the efforts currently underway to secure their survival. Finally, I present a newly recorded oak species for Hong Kong, bringing the total number of species found to 14.


Quercus, Fagaceae, Hong Kong, China, mountains, microhabitat, population reduction, conservation, urbanization


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