Northeast China is one of the most species diverse areas at the same latitude on Earth, and also an important area in the Two Barriers and Three Belts' Ecological Security Strategic Planning. There are four of the eight vegetation zones of China, including two endemic zones: cold-temperate coniferous forest zone and temperate coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest zone. The alpine tundra of Changbai Mountain, one of only two alpine tundra in China, is located here.
The easternmost reaches of the temperate grassland zone of China and the northernmost part of the Warm-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest zone of China meet here as well. There are vast forests and prairies that are rare in China and famous in the world. In short, vegetation in Northeast China is diverse, complex and important.
Since 2012, Dr. CAO Wei, researcher at the Institute of Applied Ecology (IAE), Chinese Academy of Sciences,together with other members of the Biodiversity (Plant) Group, begun to systematically investigate and compile distribution maps of native vascular plants in Northeast China.
After seven years of hard work, he completed the book "Atlas of Plants in Northeast China". With a total of 3.4 million words and detailed information of all vascular plants distributed in more than 200 counties in northeast China, the book is the most comprehensive ever published on this subject. The Colored Atlas of Forest Plants in Northeast China, another book (2.14 million words) edited by Dr. CAO Wei, makes a record of 1000 forest plant species (approximately 1/3 of the all native plants) in Northeast China. The Identification Handbook of Grassland Plants in Northeast China (200,000 words), also edited by Dr. CAO Wei, features 200 grassland plant species in Northeast China. Each species is richly illustrated with photographs. The above three books establish a scientific basis for the conservation and use of plant resources in Northeast China, provide useful information on forestry, grassland and agriculture zoning, and lay a foundation for further research on northeast China's plants.