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Forest ranger 'professor' builds herbarium in Central China | Updated: 2017-05-31 15:35

A herbarium built by a 70-year-old forest ranger in Central China's Hunan province has become a major national database for its extraordinary scientific research value, according Xinhua News Agency.

The herbarium in Huping Mountain National Nature Reserve is home to over 50,000 specimens from the area.

It was Du Fanzhang, who has been a forest ranger of the reserve for 30 years, who personally collected and catalogued all of the specimens.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences even listed the herbarium as one of nation's major herbariums.

Whenever Chinese or foreign research teams visited the area, they would seek Du's advice, impressed at his knowledge of the reserve.

He was able to tell them not only about the characteristics of each and every plant, but their exact location on the mountain. Du, therefore, was often respectfully called "Professor Du" by the researchers.

In fact, Du was a local huntsman before he was recruited as a forest ranger 30 years ago.

He later developed his interest in researching plants on the mountain. Du used to spend over 200 days on the mountain a year and read related books for hours a day .

Du was reemployed by the reserve after his retirement years ago and he has turned down high-paying job offers from numerous nursery and tourism companies over the years.

"I have devoted my whole life to the reserve and I hope the idea of ecological protection would pass to other people and even a small flower would be well treated," he said.

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