What’s it got to do with tea?
I thought I’d lost these photos earlier this year and was pleased to discover that they had been saved somewhere in the depths of the computer. Taken by Lars Berger in Spring 2009, they highlight the environmental issues that are prevalent, but not always so obvious, in Xishuangbanna. In this area of Mengsong (Jinghong), there are already problems in some villages due to a reservoir that has turned wet paddy into dry fields. The farmers are trying to grow other crops where they once grew rice, including maize and tea, but the lack of water is very apparent. The villagers also talk of the reservoir serving the needs of the farmers in the valley.
A second dam is planned. This reservoir will flood an area that includes some old kucha trees. Sinensis Assamica var. Kucha may not be everyone’s cup of tea – it has a kind of bitterness which makes Lao Ban Zhang seem like butterscotch, but it is nonetheless an important tea variety that we should not lose.
This Kaolin (porcelain) mine is also on the edge of the village and makes a very dramatic image of the environmental impact in the area.
See here for a schematic map http://www.zhizhengtea.com/bannamap.html