is located in the transitional region from the second to the third terrace in the terrain of China, thus having a variety of landforms. It is surrounded by Wuling, Wushan, Daba, Wudang, Tongbai, Dabie and Mufu mountains on the west, north and east. Lying in the central and southern parts are the Jianghan Plain which extends to Hunan
Province to link with the Dongting Lake Plain. Except for the hills on the fringes of the plain, the altitude on the plain is 35 meters or lower above sea level. The proportion of various landforms to the total area of the province is as follows: Mountains, 55.5 percent; hills and hillocks, 24.5 percent; and plain and lake areas, 20 percent. The elevation of different parts varies greatly. Shennong Summit, the highest peak of Shennongjia in west Hubei
, which is known as the "Roof of Central China," is 3,105 meters above sea level, while Tanjiayuan of Jianli County on the eastern plain has an elevation of zero.
has a subtropical monsoon climate. It enjoys abundant sunlight, with the annual amount of solar radiation totaling 85-114 kilocalories per square cm and annual duration of sunshine averaging 1,200-2,200 hours. Temperature is on the high side, with annual temperature averaging between 13-18??. The highest temperature can reach 41??, while the lowest temperature can drop to 14.9??. The short frost period and abundant precipitation are favorable for agriculture. There are 230 to 300 days free of frost in a year and the annual rainfall has stood at 1,182.3 mm for many years. But rainfall is unevenly distributed. The amount of precipitation in the Wuling mountainous area is as high as 1,600-1,700 mm, while that in west Hubei
is as low as 700-800 mm.
By 1997, Hubei
had discovered 136 kinds of minerals, 86 of which having their reserves verified. The reserves of phosphorus ore, hongshiite, wollastonite, garnet and marlstone rank the fifth in China, and several others, including iron, phosphorus, copper, gypsum, rock salt, gold amalgam, manganese and vanadium, rank the seventh nationally. But Hubei
lacks energy minerals, with limited verified reserves of coal, petroleum and natural gas. The province's recoverable reserves of coal stand at 548 million tons.Hubei
has 10th largest water-surface area in China. The province has 1,193 rivers of different sizes, their lengths totaling 37,000 km. Among these rivers, 42 run more than 100 km. The Yangtze River flows 1,061 km traversing Hubei
from west to east. The Hanjiang River, the largest tributary of the Yangtze, runs 878 km in Hubei
from northwest to southeast before emptying into the Yangtze River at Wuhan. Hubei
has long been famed as a "province of thousand lakes." There were more than 1,300 lakes in the province in 1985, including 300 major ones which were three square kilometers each or larger in size. The majority of the lakes are distributed in the Jianghan Plain. Hubei
is rich in underground water resources. Of its estimated 265 billion cubic meters of underground water reserves, 35.57 billion cubic meters are ready for annual extraction, approximately amounting to 36 percent of the province's average annual surface runoff.Hubei
is rich in waterpower resources, with an usable capacity of 33.4 million kw, ranking fourth in China. Hydropower undertakings have developed rapidly. The annual hydropower generation approaches 24.19 billion kwh, accounting for two-thirds of the province's total power generation and 19.08 percent of the national total, ranking first nationally. Hubei
boasts China's largest hydropower station the Gezhouba Hydropower Station. Other large and medium-sized hydropower stations include Danjiangkou, Geheyan, Hanjiang, Duhe, Huanglongtan, Bailianhe, Lushui and Fushui. Numerous small hydropower facilities spread across the province. The construction of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River is in full swing. Expected to begin power generation in 2003, the project will be installed with 26 generating units, each with a capacity of 700,000-kw and the total installed capacity to reach 18.2 million kw. Its annual power production will be 84.7 billion kwh. In addition, some thermal power stations have been built in Wuhan, Jingmen, Huangshi and some other places in recent years.Hubei
has a land area of 185,897 square kilometers, constituting 1.94 percent of the national total. The area of cultivated land is approximately 3.35 million hectares, with per-capita area standing at 0.06 hectares.
There are 570 species of terrestrial vertebrates in Hubei
. Dozens of them have been listed as rare animals under state protection. They include golden-haired monkey, serow, leopard (Panthera pardus), white bear, white musk, white deer, white snake, white-crowned king pheasant and red-bellied tragopan. There are also 175 kinds of fish, accounting for about one quarter of the country's total freshwater fish species. Rare species under key state protection include Chinese sturgeon, Chinese paddlefish, mullet and giant salamander.Hubei
boasts both large numbers of broad-leaved deciduous species, which are typical plants of north China, and many broad-leaved evergreen species, which are popular in southern China. There are more than 2,000 species of wild plants, including some 1,300 kinds of medicinal plants and over 30 species either rare in the world or peculiar to China. The well-preserved Shennongjia virgin forest is a natural park of subtropical fauna and flora.
's tourism resources feature both beautiful landscapes and abundant places of historic and cultural interest. There are six national-level scenic spots, 13 national forest parks and three national nature reserves. Shennongjia has been listed in the UNESCO's program of Man and Biosphere and Wudang Mountain in the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritages. The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, Yellow Crane Tower and Gezhouba have been listed among China's top 40 tourist scenic sports. Hubei
encompasses five famous historical and cultural cites designated by the state, 20 cultural sites under state protection, 365 cultural sites under provincial protection, five sites of Chu city ruins, 73 Chu Cultural sites and over 140 sites relating to the Three Kingdoms (220-265).
Environment and current issues
Sulfur dioxide, smoke and dust from burning coal remain the dominant pollutants in the air. Ammonia and nitrogen are the chief pollutants for contamination of rivers, followed by permanganate.
Control program: So far over 50 percent of the 94 projects listed in the "Cross-century Green Projects of Hubei
Province (First Phase)" have been completed. The Hubei
Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau has finished the drafting of the "Programs of Hubei
Province for Environmental Protection in the 10th Five-Year Plan Period and Through to 2010" and the plan for the second phase of the "Green Projects of Hubei
By the end of 2002, Hubei
had a Population
of about 59.878 million. There are more people living in the east of the province than in the west.
The average life expectancy of urban residents is 75.68 years (73.72 years for men and 77.79 years for women); and that of rural residents is 71.25 years (69.23 for male residents and 73.42 for female residents).
is a province where many ethnic groups live in compact communities. It now has 50 ethnic groups, including the Han, Tujia, Miao, Hui, Dong, Manchu, Zhuang and Mongolian. According to the fifth national census, the ethnic minority groups, with nearly 2.58 million people, comprise 4.34 percent of the province's total Population
. Minority ethnic groups with over 10,000 people include the Tujia, Miao, Hui, Dong and Manchu. With 1.8 million people, Tujia is the largest ethnic minority group in Hubei
, comprising 80 percent of the total ethnic minority Population
in the province. The second largest, the Miao, constitutes 10.3 percent. The areas where ethnic minority groups live in compact communities cover more than 30,000 square kilometers, forming one-sixth of the province's total area. Ethnic minority groups are mainly distributed in southwestern Hubei
The fifth Population census shows that of every 100,000 people in Hubei, 3,898 have had university education; 12,595 have received senior secondary education; 34,311 have received junior secondary education; and 35,416 have had primary education only. The illiterate rate stands at 7.15 percent.
Hubei is one of China's most developed provinces in terms of inland water transportation. With the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers as the two major waterways, over half of the province's counties and cities are located along water transport lines. The Yangtze River is the most important inland waterway open for navigation all year round. The ports of Wuhan, Huangshi, Shashi and Yichang are all open to foreign ships, with the Wuhan Port being one of the largest of its kind on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It has opened freight shipping lines to Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asian countries. Hanjiang River is an important waterway linking northwest Hubei with the Jianghan Plain. Xiangfan and Laohekou are major ports on the Hanjiang River.
One of the busiest transport lines in China, the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway runs through east Hubei, making the volume of transit goods far exceed the amount of goods loaded and unloaded within the province. Goods transported are mainly coal, iron and steel and products, timber, grain, minerals and building materials. The Jiaozuo (Henan)-Zhicheng (Hubei) and Zhicheng (Hubei)-Liuzhou (Guangxi) railways traverse west Hubei, while the Wuhan-Danjiang Railway passes through the central part of Hubei and the Xiangfan (Hubei)-Chongqing Railway cuts through the mountainous area of northwest Hubei, with Wuhan and Xiangfan being the intersecting stations. Combined, they form the province's land transportation network. The Xiangfan-Daxian section of the Xiangfan-Chongqing Railway is the third electrified rail line in China.
By the end of 2000, traffic mileage in Hubei had reached 57,800 km, with graded roads stretching 48,063 km. All towns and townships are linked by roads and 91 percent of villages are accessible to vehicles. Between 2001-05, the province will build 1,000 km more expressways, 4,609 km first- and second-class highways, and 10 bridges on the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers. Traffic mileage will reach 65,000 km, with graded roads accounting for 91 percent.
By 2000, there were four airline companies, five civil airports and one airport for both military and civilian purposes. There are 107 domestic and international air routes linking Hubei with 57 Chinese cities and foreign countries and regions. The Tianhe Airport in Wuhan is one of the 10 largest airports in China. Designed as 4E-class national civil airport, it is the largest modern airport with the most complete functions in central China.