The 50 ha (1000×500 m) Heishiding (HSD) plot was initiated in 2011. The first census was completed in 2013. It lies within the Heishiding Provincial Reserve in western Guangdong province, China. The HSD reserve is 4,200 ha in size and is home to more than 1,070 plant species that belong to 527 genera and 162 families.
The floristic composition of the forest is transitional between the subtropical and tropical. The vertical structure of the forest is clear. There are five layers from the top of the canopy to the ground floor, three layers (upper, middle, and lower), one shrub layer, and one herb layer. The 50-ha plot includes 273,000 individual trees and shrubs belonging to 245 species, 160 genera, and 71 families. The five most abundant species in the plot are Cryptocarya concinna, Neolitsea phanerophlebia, Litsea acuminate, Itea chinensis and Xanthophyllum hainanense. Eighty-six of the species (35%) have fewer than 50 individuals in the plot.
The average annual rainfall is about 1,744 mm, with 79% of the annual rain falling between April and September, and a pronounced dry season from October to March. The mean maximum temperature is 19.6°C, and monthly temperatures range from 10.6°C in January to 28.4°C in July. The elevation of the plot varies from 435.4 m to 698.4 m above sea level. The plot has a rough terrain with slopes ranging from 6.89° to 74.6°.