China is a vast country, covering an area larger than the whole of Europe. It encompasses Everest, the world's tallest mountain, and Turfan, which is the lowest piece of land in the world at 426 feet below sea level. Such a large geographical range is bound to cover a wide range of habitats, but China is richer than even this would suggest; from the coast of the Pacific, via the estuary of the Yellow River, the expanses of inland water, up into the hills of inland China and the Gobi desert, China has an amazing variety of landscapes to offer. Within these landscapes are the animals and plants of the Oriental region that makes China such a special place for anyone interested in the living world. By first introducing the physical geography and types of habitat that are encountered in China and why they are where they are, this book gives a basic introduction to the intricacies of China. Each habitat is then treated separately, with an introduction to its ecology and then a full description of all the characteristic animals, followed by an assessment of man's effect on each habitat. In the bamboo forests you are introduced to the only herbivorous bear, the Panda, threatened by man's encroachment of the area; the Himalayas hide the camouflaged Snow Leopard, threatened by hunting; and the Yangtze river contains one of the few freshwater dolphins, the Baiji, threatened by hydro electric schemes. Each chapter has pictures of the beautiful landscapes as well as the fascinating animals; the book in fact contains photographs of six bird species never before seen in the West. It also contains numerous maps to pinpoint major landforms, soil types, vegetation types and the effects of man on this delicate area. Written by a team of experts from Beijing University this book is essential reading for all those interested in the world's largest unvisited area - the great expanse of China.