第一章 Chapter 1
In the early 19th century, military and merchant vessels from Europe carried with them naturalists to Hong Kong. Beginning with rocks and ferns, these naturalists observed, collected, and depicted everything they found, gradually laying the foundations of Hong Kong’s natural history. At the same time, these records constituted the first impressions of Hong Kong by the West. "Every part of Hong Kong that I was able to visit, is remarkably barren," noted Clarke Abel, who set foot on Hong Kong Island in 1816.
"But however unfavourable may be the aspect," wrote the naturalist Berthold Seemann in Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Herald, "on a closer inspection, the botanist discovers a rich flora, full of new genera and species, although the labours of Hinds, Fortune, Hance, and Champion* have already bought forward such treasures. Indeed, it is estimated that Hong-Kong, small as it is, produces about a thousand species, and probably many more… For nearly every nook and valley has its peculiar vegetation...”
In 1853 when Seemann left his remarks, Hong Kong already transformed from "a barren rock”** to an island of "rich flora". These memorable remarks now serve as footnotes to Hong Kong’s rich natural history.*British naturalists who visited Hong Kong in the early to mid-19th century.
*British naturalists who visited Hong Kong in the early to mid-19th century.
**In 1840, British Foreign Secretary Palmerston commented that the landscape of Hong Kong Island wasas “a barren rock with nary a house upon it”.