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The physical geography of Zhejiang
Updated: 2003-10-09 13:13

Zhejiang is located in the southern part of the Yangtze River Delta on the southeast coast of China. It borders Shanghai, the country's largest city, on the northeast. Hangzhou is the provincial capital.

The Qiantang River is the longest waterway in Zhejiang Province

The province covers a total continental area of 101,800 square kilometers. Hills and mountains account for 70.4 percent of the total area in the province. Plains and basins make up 23.2 percent while the rest 6.4 percent is water area composed of rivers and lakes. Zhejiang also boasts a coastline totaling 6,486 kilometers, the longest for a single province in the country. In addition, the province has the largest number of islands and isles in China, and among them there are 3,061 islands and islets that have an area of more than 500 square kilometers each.

The region is renowned for its picturesque landscapes. Well-known mountains include the Yandang, Putuo, Xuedou,Tianmu, and Tiantai, and famous lakes comprise the West Lake in Hangzhou, the East Lake in Shaoxing, the South Lake in Jiaxing, the Dongqian Lake in Ningbo and the North-South Lake in Haiyan. The Thousand-Islet Lake in Chun'an County of Hangzhou is the largest man-made lake in the country. Major rivers in the province include the Qiantang, the Oujiang, and the Nanxi. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs through the northern part of the province, and merges into the Qiantang River in Hangzhou.

Lying in a subtropical zone of monsoon climate, the province is blessed with abundant sunshine, ample rainfall in four distinct seasons. The annual temperature averages 15oC-18oC with the lowest in January and the highest in July. May and June are the months receiving the most rainfall.

Zhejiang ranks the fourth in China in water resources by per unit area. The province is also rich in resources of economic forests and bamboo groves, with its production of moso bamboo in the front ranks in the country. Famous local special products include tea, mulberries, oranges and tangerines. The output of dry fruits like hickory nuts and Chinese torreya nuts accounts for more than 70 percent of that of the country.


Zhejiang has varied vegetations, winning the reputation as a treasure house of plants in southeast China. More than fifty species of the pre-historic geological age such as ginkgo, commonly referred to as a living fossil, are listed in the Directory of Rare Plants under State Protection. Besides, in Zhejiang there are 1,900 species of wild animals, among which over 120 are under state protection, making up one-third of those in the Directory of Wild Animals under State Protection.

The province is also rich in non-metallic mineral reserves with 12 of them ranking among the first three places in the country. Its reserves of stone coal, alum, pyrophyllite, and tuff (used in cement or building) lead the rest areas of the country and the reserves of fluorite occupy the second place in China.

In addition, rich deposits of oil and natural gas in the continental shelf are awaiting exploitation.

The province is also abundant in fishery resources. The Zhoushan Archipelago is the largest area for sea fishery in China.

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