Located between Daba Mountain and Wudang Mountain, Shennongjia is a part of Qinba Mountains, extending from southwest to northeast. In the Reserve, the highest peak, Shennongding, is 3,105.4 meters above sea level while the lowest place has an altitude of 398 meters. Its average altitude is 1,700 meters and there are 6 peaks whose altitude top 3,000 meters. Hence, Shennongjia has been called "the roof of central China".
The unique geographical location has provided the Reserve with opportunities to preserve precious plants and animals. There are 2,062 species of pteridophyte and seed plants. Among them, 32 species including dove trees, Katsura trees and ginkgoes are under the state protection; 33 species are indigenous Shennongjia plants. There are more than a thousand medicinal plants includingMagnolia officinalis,Gastrodia elataandCoptis chinensisin the Reserve, so it is called Natural Medicinal Park.In addition, the Reserve is rich in domesticate wild plants and close relative plants. During the period of 1986-1990, 163 crop species are collected such as yangtao, Chinese goosebeery and Hubei Hawthorn, which are of great value for breeding new varieties or improving current species.
It is known that there are 336 species of terrestrial vertebrate, 200 species of birds, 30 species of reptiles and 27 orders of insects that approximately account for 81.8% of the total. 40 species of animals such as golden monkeys, South China tigers, golden eagles and giant salamanders are under the first-grade state protection. White bears, white monkeys and white toad are found in the Reserve now and then. In addition, Shennongjia is also famous for the sightings of wild, ape-like creatures -- a Chinese equivalent of the Himalayan Yeti or Bigfoot.The stories are interesting, which attracted great attention from scientists at home and abroad. Many scientists have been to Shennongjia National Nature Reserve and got some preliminary results. It is also said that the creatures seem to be able to distinguish between peasants and scientists -- molesting the former and evading the latter.