article by ye yijian (founder of fangtang think tank)


“some people say that autumn is the second spring and every leaf is a flower.”

“the ancients said, ‘autumn has been lonely since time immemorial,’and what they saw was the withering and desolation of autumn, but autumn is still a season of mercy because it accepts withering and respects death. the butterfly is not the whole autumn, there are fruits, there are getting home, there is the beauty of all things. sough autumn wind will return the dead leaves to the earth, looking forward to life once again vibrant vitality.”

these are two paragraphs from a series of research reports written by wu yongbin and his students during their visit to the south china historical trail. reading these reports, it is clear that wu yongbin and his team not only made a professional analysis and interpretation of the plants along the ancient post road from the perspective of natural science, from time to time, from a historical, humanistic and even literary point of view, these plants are given more complex time and space interpretation of the value, and even literary expression of emotions, what is behind this is not only wu yongbin and his team’s true love of plants and botany, but also the historical and cultural heritage of the south china historical trail, which inspired a botanist the culture of historian.

to this end, some people joke that wu yongbin and his botany research team is “the best plant expert chinese writing, writing the best of the authors know plants”.

wu yongbin, associate professor and master supervisor of south china agricultural university, has been engaged in botany teaching and research for 25 years. he has edited or contributed to the publication of 7 textbooks and monographs, and published nearly 50 papers, obtained utility model patent 2, software 凯发网址是多少 copyright 1. in 2013, “the popularization and application of new tree-hanging technology”was awarded the third prize in the agricultural technology promotion award of guangdong province, and in 2016, “afforestation tree species selection and afforestation technology promotion in limestone mountain areas of guangdong province”was awarded the second prize in the agricultural technology promotion award of guangdong province, in 2018, the second prize of guangdong agricultural technology promotion award was awarded for “seedling-raising of dalbergia odorifera by mycorrhizal fungi and promotion of high-efficiency cultivation technology”.

wu yongbin, a long-time teaching and research botanist in the field of plant taxonomy and one of the leaders of the technical steering group for the protection and utilization of key south china historical trail, said modestly, although he has been involved in the conservation and revitalisation of the south china historical trail in recent years, and has put forward many concrete suggestions and suggestions from the botanical and ecological perspectives, the plant signage i designed prior to my encounter with the ancient post road in southern guangdong was also used in the conservation and revitalisation of the south china historical trail, but until now, on how botanist can be more systematic, more scientific and more standardized, standardized and even legalized to participate in the protection and adaptive use of cultural heritage (especially such as the south china historical trail, which has both historical, cultural and natural ecological attributes, but also involves a large area of linear heritage space) , he hasn’t quite figured it out yet.

however, he also frankly said that after several years of practice, let himself more intuitive, deeper understanding, through the introduction of expertise in the field of botany and ecological ideas, indeed, it can provide more support for the more scientific and systematic promotion of the protection and activation of the south china historical trail, these supports not only help to avoid damage to the surrounding ancient and valuable trees, plant communities and local ecosystems in heritage conservation, but also directly through botanical-based research and creative planning, finding more accessible resources for the conservation and adaptive use of the heritage, making the site of the heritage a scene for nature and environmental education, and through botanical expertise and creative exhibitions, directly promote the local people’s cultural confidence, and so on, which is very much in line with the guangdong province’s concept of “making the south china historical trail an experiential, all-open, never-ending natural history museum”.

“of course, my colleagues and i have also learned a great deal by participating in the conservation and revitalisation of south china historical trail. not only let us directly enrich and expand the research results of the history of botany in south china, but also, let us do botany teaching and research teachers and students, find the infinite possibility of cross-border research, cross-border service, cross-border innovation, bring many new inspirations to our relatively traditional botany research work, and provide a very rich application scene for our research.each time we walk along the south china historical trail, we experience a subtle change in the cognitive logic of the plants along the route. the historical and cultural information behind these plants gives us a richer experience, it is bound to have a profound and positive impact on the discipline construction and innovative development of botany.”said wu yongbin.

and as far as we’re concerned, when the conservation and revitalisation of the south china historical trail began, at a seemingly fortuitous opportunity, to actively introduce botanist such as wu yongbin and the south china agricultural university behind him, a professional college with a rich and profound foundation in botany and agronomy, compared with many cases of conservation and revitalisation of cultural heritage at home and abroad, the conservation and revitalisation of the south china historical trail began to be different -- the participation of botanists such as wu yongbin, not only has it provided more professional support in practice for the protection and activation of the south china historical trail, but also, as more and more cases of conservation and adaptive use of the south china historical trail are summarized, studied and popularized based on the application of botanical expertise, the introduction of knowledge in botany and ecology, and the deep involvement of experts in botany and ecology, in the conservation and revitalisation of an increasing number of cultural heritage sites, including the south china historical trail, or will be the norm and the inevitable. this will be one of the practical experiences, models and values that the protection and activation and utilization of the south china historical trail province will contribute to the protection and activation and utilization of china’s cultural heritage, especially the large-scale linear cultural heritage.


january 6-7, 2021, wu yongbin, the 8th group leader of the technical guidance group for the protection and utilization of the south china historical trail, and other professional volunteers from the “three masters” went to xiaohe ancient road (fengkai section) in fengkai zhaoqing for the third time, based on the protection and revitalisation of the historical trail, one of wu yongbin’s suggestions and suggestions is that, “attention should be paid to the maintenance and management of landscape plants along the route. at the node of historical trail park, some landscape plants wither and die in different degrees due to lack of management and maintenance, which affects the overall landscape effect. in the follow-up construction of landscape nodes, it is advisable to choose ornamental plants with strong adaptability and low difficulty in later management and maintenance.”.

on november 25,26,2020, wu yongbin and wang hao, vice president of the urban and rural planning and design institute of guangdong province, led the professional volunteers of the “three masters” to the ancient waterway in yunfu nanjiang, for the second field survey and technical guidance, and for each node along the planning and design of the symposium, repair and planning for the ancient courier road to provide technical guidance.

during this period, one of the comments and suggestions made by wu yongbin and the steering group was that, “in designing the landscape through plants, due consideration is given to the local characteristics of the plants, as well as the difficulty of later maintenance of the selected plants and the sustainability of the landscape. for example, in the design of the ancient wharf in hedu village, the planting of chinese rose and peach flowers to create the landscape has the disadvantages of higher management and maintenance cost, vulnerability to damage, and shorter viewing period. the planting of plants such as camellia oleifera and melastoma affinis in guangning can reduce the maintenance cost and create a good landscape continuously.”.

in fact, it has become the norm for wu yongbin and his team to participate in the conservation and revitalisation of the south china historical trail to ask similar questions and make suggestions on similar occasions, some suggestions have also been incorporated into the whole construction process of protection and activation of the south china historical trail as basic principles and guidelines.

not only such, wu yongbin and his team as well as the south china agricultural university, also from plant background investigation, the natural heritage evaluation, plant landscape history, the relationship between plants and indigenous communities, ecological protection pattern, etc., on the south guangdong ancient red plants more systems investigation and research, thought that the protection of nan yue ancient red and activation and utilization of from basic research to the talent training, from project planning to the planning and design, from the survey of the line to the studies support base, etc.

for example, based on its limestone mountain vegetation survey and afforestation experiments in northern guangdong since 2008, and the resulting in-depth knowledge of the vegetation along the xijing historical trail in ruyuan county, guangdong province, wu yongbin took graduate and undergraduate students to the ancient post road to carry out on-the-spot investigation many times, to investigate and document the plant resources distributed along the ancient post road, and made a large number of plant specimens, for the subsequent exhibition has accumulated a large number of data and material, directly enriched the ancient ways to activate the use of the content and form.

wu yongbin and his team also directly participated in the creation and planning of the “guan ye ridge”nature trail at lianping section of the historical trail in heyuan city, guangdong province. according to the plan, the “guan ye ridge”natural education trail in lianping section of the ancient post road in guangdong and jiangxi province is 6.46 km long, and the first phase of construction is about 1 km from south to north, from the entrance of the post road to the wangyue pavilion, through the signs of nature education, such as flying birds, insects, rocks, wood and plant dyes, this paper narrates the cycles of plants on the ancient road of guan ye from seed, growth, fruit and withering. in the later actual operation, wu yongbin and his colleagues also personally went to the ancient post road, to participate in the study of primary and secondary students to lecture.

the background is that, according to statistics, the south china historical trail, guangdong province, mostly distributed in forest parks, protected areas, suburban parks and other nature reserves around. in recent years, the forestry department of guangdong province has vigorously promoted afforestation on both sides of the south china historical trail, and has increased efforts in ecological restoration, combining the “greening and greening”project with the work of precision poverty alleviation, ecological environment and cultural heritage protection, promoting the economic development of villages along the historical trail and improving the rural human settlement environment, and combining with the natural resources department of guangdong province, we will vigorously promote the construction of the natural education base of the ancient post road, and create a natural education brand of the historical trail by strengthening infrastructure construction, connecting and excavating the cultural and landscape resources scattered along the historical trail.

in december 2018, the south china agricultural university of south china historical trail plant resources research center was officially established. the research center makes full use of the scientific and professional advantages of universities, takes teaching and spreading knowledge as its mission, and makes use of winter and summer vacations, to carry out the social practice activities of college students “going to the countryside”on south china historical trail, and to carry out the activities of pairing up and helping primary and middle school students along the historical trail, gradually formed a “one expert with a team to help a school along the historical trail, with local students to carry out the study of historical trail,”activity model, and achieved some results.

“in 2019, inspired by the deputy director of the national land and space planning department of the provincial department of natural resources, our team began to collect seeds or plants from some wild plants along the ancient post road, which have both economic benefits and landscape value, and to carry out propagation experiments to support the government and people in the areas along the ancient post road to make full use of these plants for scale, landscape and industrialization, so as to give full play to the disciplinary characteristics and comprehensive advantages of our research centers and south china agricultural university. it involves the wild chrysanthemums on the ancient qin-han historical trail in yangshanshuikou, the myrtle that su shi once praised, and the grapes of mao on the zhangxia road in shuangjiang town of dongyuan,”wu said.

in april 2019, as one of a series of research results of the research center, wu yongbin, on the basis of long-term research and extensive investigation, he has written and published “a preliminary study on ecological restoration and landscape improvement tree species planning of south china historical trail ”, combining the current distribution of key routes of south china historical trail, this paper discusses the selection of tree species in the process of ecological restoration and landscape improvement of ancient post road, committed to “for the relevant departments to formulate the south china historical trail landscape tree species planning, to guide the south china historical trail protection and utilization practice to provide a little reference.”.

in this paper, wu yongbin proposes that, “tree species planning is an important part of ecological restoration, conservation and utilization of ancient post road. tree species selection, especially the choice of woody plants, is related to the greening and beautification of a road and an area from a small point of view, while in the long run, it may be related to the ecological security of an area. therefore, it is of far-reaching practical significance to do well the tree species planning of south china historical trail.”.

“the selection and application of plant species is one of the core components of ecological restoration and landscape enhancement,”wu said. in guangdong province, the difference in climatic and soil conditions between east and west of guangdong has resulted in different vegetation types, the tree species in the north and west of guangdong are quite different. for example, ginkgo biloba grows normally in nanxiong, but it is difficult to grow normally in cities and counties in the pearl river delta and to the south. on the other hand, the artocarpus heterophyllus grows well in western guangdong and can not produce normally in northern guangdong, “good tree species selection and planning for ecological restoration and landscape improvement of south china historical trail, highlighting the local characteristics of each ancient post road, is an important part of building the ancient post roads into an open and never-ending natural history museum.”.

in wu yongbin’s view, “because of the particularity of the geographical location of each ancient post road, it also determines the characteristics of each ancient post road, tree species planning must follow the local natural characteristics”, the selection and planning of tree species should not only satisfy the multiple comprehensive functions of greening, but also be suitable for trees and adapt to local conditions, “for areas with high soil loss, choose shrubs or tree species with deep roots or well-developed roots. in the gentle slope area with thick soil layer, the greening amount can be increased appropriately, and the artificial plant community landscape with multi-layer mixing and relative stability can be constructed with tree species as the framework, and ground cover plants such as shrubs, vines and herbs.

in addition, considering that the protection and utilization of the south china historical trail is an important measure taken by the provincial party committee and government of guangdong province to implement the strategy of rural revitalization, and that the south china historical trail is taken as the carrier to drive the economic development of the villages along the route by carrying out various activities, therefore, in wu yongbin’s opinion, when making tree species planning, the application of tree species with production function on south china historical trail can not only bring into play the ornamental function and ecological benefit, but also bring into play the economic benefit. for example, camellia semirata, also known as safflower camellia from guangning, zhaoqing, is an evergreen tree with red flowers and large fruit. the seed oil of safflower camellia is much more expensive than the seed oil of white flowers. it is a tree of both ornamental and economic value, and adaptable, suitable for the south china historical trail. other fruit tree species such as loquat, mango, myrica rubra, persimmon and longan can also be used as alternative tree species in the appropriate ancient road routes.

“the greening of the south china historical trail is different from urban greening. the water, soil and fertilizer conditions are generally quite poor, so we can not copy the practice of urban greening. we must emphasize and implement the principle of ‘suitable land for trees’,”wu yongbin said.


wu yongbin once told us a story of his south china agricultural university, the south china historical trail plant resources survey team, investigating the plant resources of wujing historical trail in nanxiong, guangdong. during the course of the investigation, a group of six people passed by kongjiang village. they were attracted by an ancestral temple under repair. on entering the temple, they saw six upright columns standing on both sides of the temple, and one by one a beam, forming the skeleton of the temple. the newly painted red lacquer, in the winter setting sun, it is particularly dazzling.

out of professional habit, wu yongbin asked the local master who accompanied them to investigate what wood these pillars were made of, after understanding that it was dutch wood. schima superba, also known as lotus, is an evergreen tree of theaceae. it is distributed in guangdong, hainan, fujian, guangxi, hunan, zhejiang, guizhou and taiwan. it is a group-building tree of subtropical evergreen forests in south china and southeast coastal provinces, the trunk is straight and the tree can reach up to 30 meters high. because of its fire-resistant and fire-resistant characteristics, the tree species is widely used in the forest fire belt afforestation in south china, known as the “forest guard.”.

but here, the schima superba was used to make pillars for the ancestral hall, and the reason behind it was explained by the local people, it makes people feel the simplicity and beauty contained in the chinese local culture-“yes!here, our ancestors built ancestral halls with schima superba as pillars, and now to repair these ancestral halls, we have to use back schima superba, hemu hemu, that is harmony!"

"the book of rites·university says: 'cultivate one's morality, regulate one's family, govern a country and level the world'. family harmony is not only the embodiment of good personal cultivation, but also the basis of 'govern a country and level the world'.since ancient times, the chinese nation has had a fine tradition of valuing peace and harmony and family prosperity. at the same time, lotus has rich resources, fast growth, straight trunk, easy processing, fire prevention and other advantages. therefore, it is not difficult to understand that schima superba became the first choice for the pillars and beams of ancestral temples in ancient times. "said wu yongbin.

in wu yongbin’s view, the ancestral hall remains as it was in the spring and autumn periods, just like the schima superba beside the historical trail, which became part of the ancestral hall with people’s good wishes. on the south china historical trail, there are many stories behind the plants waiting for us to discover and tell, just as the saying goes: a world of flowers, a legend of a tree, many plants along the route, especially some ancient and famous trees, are not only natural resources, but also good historical and cultural resources, through the discovery and narration of these plants and the stories behind them, not only can we directly enrich the resources that can be utilized in the process of conservation and activation of the south china historical trail, but also, it is also one of the basic work that needs to be advanced to carry out high-quality nature education and environmental education relying on the south china historical trail, and to carry out nature education and environmental education relying on the sustainability of the south china historical trail, it is one of the approaches and models widely adopted to promote the conservation and adaptive use of linear heritage spaces such as the south china historical trail.

as mentioned above, the “guan ye ridge”natural education trail in lianping section of the south china historical trail between guangdong and jiangxi was completed and put into use in early august 2020, this historical trail will take new forms such as “historical trail natural education”and “historical trail cultural experience”to attract more primary and secondary students to participate in the experience and receive education, and vigorously promote the activation and utilization of the historical trail.

one of the most frequently cited stories about ancient trees on south china historical trail is the dongpo tree on the meiguan road.

in this regard, wu yongbin devoted an article to the subject, with excerpts as follows:

legend has it that in the first year of emperor song zhezong of shao sheng (ad 1094) , the northern song dynasty writer su shi, who had offended the court by his “wutai poem case,”was banished to lingnan, passing by the hanging kok temple on the southern side of the ancient meiguan road, under this tree, i met an old man with a young crane hair and a frost beard, and they had a long talk. when the old man learned that su shi had become a fallen man, he treated him more graciously. su shi wrote a poem entitled to the old man on the ridge, and expressed his sadness.

to the old man on the ridge

crane bone cream beard heart has been gray, pine and hand-planted.

ask weng dayu ridge head live, have seen several back to the south.

seven years later, when su shi was pardoned and returned to the north, he saw the old man squatting under a tree. after their long conversation, su shi’s heart was boiling and his poetry was flourishing, and he wrote a poem entitled to the plum blossoms on the ridge to give to the mountain.

to the plum blossoms on the ridge

plum blossom as miscellaneous flowers open, as many people as you do not come.

not while the plum blossoms taste cooking wine, to see the rain cooked hoang mai.

the old man admired su shi’s talent and hoped to meet him again, but su shi had not been to mai hill since he returned from the north. spring to autumn, time like water, old man miss su shi extremely, so this tree named “dongpo tree”.

“these ancient and famous trees stand in the mountains, tall and straight beside the ancient road, which has experienced vicissitudes of life, leading us back to the source of history, the feeling of the ancient road walker. things are different, but the old trees are still there,”wu wrote in his essay.

in wu yongbin’s view, ancient and famous trees are valuable resources that can not be copied. each ancient and famous tree carries a heavy history, and each famous tree contains valuable historical records. to investigate and document these ancient and famous trees scattered along the ancient roads, carrying out health assessment and prescribing specific measures for the conservation and management of each old and valuable tree will be an important part of the protection of the south china historical trail.

“each ancient tree has a rich history, and each plant has its own value, either as an ornamental or medicinal or ecological value. through these plants, not only can local villagers better understand the land under their feet, but they can also give tourists popular science knowledge and help them understand the history and culture of lingnan, which has accumulated for thousands of years,”wu said.


it is because of the rich understanding and knowledge of the plant resources beside the ancient post road, since participating in the conservation and activation of the south china historical trail, wu yongbin and his team not only actively carried out research on the plant background along the ancient post road, led students in making traditional plant specimens, and even personally led a team to hang eco-friendly plant signs on some plants along the ancient post road, and so on, another work that puts in more energy is to provide relevant support for the construction of the research base of educational history in south china.

for example, on the basis of investigating the historical and cultural resources and plant resources of the south china research base (pingshi) , starting with the plants that have remained and are still playing an important role, the principle is to reproduce the old teaching history in the new era, lectures were held at the dingyou library and along the xijing trail to learn about the research achievements and scholarly spirit of the master through lectures, demonstrations, interactive plant specimen making and bookmarking, let “plants become a bridge across time and space, connecting the ping-shek spirit of the past and today’s research and learning students.”.

in addition, wu yongbin and his team also carried out more research around the development of the history of botany, not only enriched the relevant content of the history of education in south china, but also further expanded their own and team’s research horizons and academic boundaries.

“the first discovery of camellia oleifera in guangning was made in guangning, the type specimens were collected from luoding and guangning, the golden camellia was first discovered in fangcheng district, guangxi, and the smiles of lechang and zenia insignis were collected in lechang, which is very close to the historical base of education in southern china today. it also shows that our teachers did not stop their education and their scientific research in every place during the war-torn era -- those who are familiar with plant taxonomy research know that new species can only be found in the vast forests if they take root and deepen their research. these living examples are excellent teaching plans for us to show the history of the subject,”wu said.

from wu yongbin's point of view, the construction of a research base for the history of education in south china in northern guangdong has brought together the research results and historical materials of the former teachers, so as to inspire the younger generation of students to have something to see while remembering the former teachers, there are ideas and theories to be learned; these scientific research achievements with a sense of history, practical significance and visibility should be integrated into the south china educational history research base, and the history of the subject should be combined with scientific research and professional ideological education, to show the spirit of hard struggle of the older generation, and to let young students know that in the war-torn years of the 1940s, national sun yat-sen university and other universities had to move from guangzhou to luoding because of the war, from luoding to chengjiang in yunnan, and then from chengjiang county to guangxi and then to northern guangdong, “these are all good ideas to promote the construction of the research base of educational history in south china, and also provide direct and clear direction and application scene guidance for us to carry out the research of disciplinary history, including botany.”

“on the day when lechang (one of the bases for the study of educational history in south china )‘jiang yingfang’is inaugurated, we can plant a pot of golden scented tea on behalf of mr. qi jingwen(a well-known botanist, former deputy director of the south china agricultural university and vice-chairman of the sugarcane society of guangdong province) , and present it to his teacher, professor chen huanyong (a well-known botanist, founder of the plant taxonomy, former member of the biology department of the chinese academy of sciences) and professor jiang ying [ a well-known botanist, co-founder of china, former honorary chairman of the plant taxonomy of the chinese botanical society ) ;in pingshi old street, look for a hill, plant a forest of zenia insignis and five trees with a smile, zenia insignis commemorates the profound influence of chen huanyong and jiang ying on education in south china, especially the plant taxonomy,”wu wrote in an essay.

the reason why he chose to plant five michelia chapensis, wu yongbin wanted to express three meanings: first, to commemorate the outstanding contribution made by mr. zuo jinglie (the great-grandson of the famous botanist zuo zongtang) to the study of plant taxonomy in china; the second is to commemorate michelia chapensis, who came to the world from the village of chaping in lechang and became known to the world. the third is that five trees means “forest”, in memory of professor hou guo, chairman of the department of forestry of the national sun yat-sen university, who founded the wushui exercise forest farm, and developed into the provincial lechang forest farm.

“professor hou guo liked to name his study after his ‘wu mu zhai’. in memory of professor hou guo’s great contribution to our country’s forestry, the taiwan province forestry department built a memorial hall for hou guo -- wu mu zhai in kaohsiung. so, today, we plant a few trees in the places where our predecessors worked, lived, struggled and even wandered, not only to ‘forget’, but also for the future and tomorrow of the ancient post roads in southern guangdong and the land of lingnan. we can do this, we must do it, and we must do it as soon as possible!”wu yongbin said.