China Species Information System





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Subscribe to China Species Information System

If you've got first hand information on distribution, taxonomy and population of Chinese vertebrates

If you know a species being consumed in large numbers

If you know a species being traded in large numbers

If you know an alien species established population in the local ecosystem in China

If you find mistakes in the Network

  Please send your detail address and information to the following address:



Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

19 Zhongguancun Lu, Haidian Dist.

Beijing, China, 100080


You will join the network automatically.  Once you become the member of our network, information you provided will be included into China Species Information System or published in the Internet in Chinese and English.  If you are located in the mainland of China, you will get the quarterly IUCN Chinese Newsletter, BWG/CCICED Annual Reports and Technical Reports, and information on other publications.  

If you wish to un-subscribe from the CSIS, please inform us through the above address.  However, you are always welcome back.






Development of a Biodiversity Information System was initiated in the 8th Five-year Plan of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) in 1996. A key element of this program was the formulation of the China Endangered Species Information System (CESIS), developed by the Institute of Zoology, CAS. Information on 653 vertebrate animal species (including 160 mammals, 284 birds, 101 fishes, and 108 amphibians and reptiles) was entered.


Since 1996, CESIS has been included in the workplan of the Biodiversity Working Group (BWG) with funding from European Union, and subsequently it has been expanded into the China Species Information System (CSIS). Entering data and information on vertebrate taxa into CSIS has been continued. It now includes information on a total number of over 8900 species and subspecies, i.e. 500 species of mammals, 1200 of birds, 390 of reptiles, 260 of amphibians and 3720 of fishes. Review of the checklist for mammals has been started by Dr. Robert Hoffmann and Prof. Wang Sung; birds by Dr. John MacKinnon; reptiles by Prof. Zhao Ermi; and amphibians by Prof. Fei Liang. An ichthyologist to check the list of Chinese fishes is being sought.


The interface for data entry has been well programmed in order to improve speed and accuracy. The program is easy to learn and very convenient. In the meantime, the system provides checklist for vertebrates (cover more than 8900 species and subspecies), names of all counties in China (more than 3000), names of most rivers in China (more than 1770), names of most mountains (more than 780) and names of all nature reserves (more than 900). It allows data entry by selecting names from these master lists instead of typing in characters, which avoids a lot of spelling errors and saves a lot of time while entering data.


Distribution information at the county level has been entered primarily based on the Mammal and Bird Collections of the Institute of Zoology, CAS, as well as on those faunistic works at both state and regional levels. In addition, data from major journals in the fields of Zoology, Taxonomy, Mammalogy, Biodiversity, etc., as well as from results of those scientific surveys concerning species and distribution at regional level or reserves are also quoted and entered. Locality records of mammal specimens in the National Museum of Natural History, USA, are also now entered in the system. By August, 1999, historical records at the county level have been expanded to 120,000. The distribution and synonym information for Insectivora have been carefully checked and corrected. 1,770 river and 780 mountain names and GIS data have been combined into CSIS. The number of records for river distribution of fresh water fish is now more than 40,000. All this distribution information has been transferred into GIS points and lines, and can be shown on GIS maps with a background of China or of individual provinces. At the same time, a total number of about 1,300 photos of mammals, birds and reptiles has been scanned into their respective databases.


Recently, the system has expanding to trees. Species distribution data for some tree families (together over 800 species), including PINACEAE, TAXODIACEAE, FAGACEAE, ACERACEAE, SALICACEAE, BETULACEAE, have been completed and will be reviewed soon.


A friendly user interface for the re-call of data is available.


By using the program, the following information can be easily found:


Taxonomy information for 8900 species and subspecies of 5 vertebrate classes;

Information on species: taxon, synonym name, endangered category (including IUCN Red List, CITES appendix, rank in Chinese Red Data Book, state protected species list), Chinese name, English name, commercial name, distribution and population, habitat, threat, protected measures taken, recommendations, rearing conditions, breeding conditions;

Species name lists: Users can define the filter of inquiry for three aspects (Population, Taxon, and Region (33 provinces, 1770 rivers, 780 mountains and 926 nature reserves)). Once they define the filter, the endangered species name list within the filter can be easily obtained. Within the filter, users could also define another restriction, such as endangered category, factor of threat, taken measures, recommendations or whether it can be reared and bred, to obtain the sub-name list;

Information on 763 nature reserves in 1993 and 926 in 1998;

A scanned picture of every endangered species is or will be available;

A distribution map (ARC/INFO format) for every species is available;

Bibliographic information.