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List of factors
affecting the properties

Within the framework of the revision of the questionnaire of the Periodic Reporting exercise (Section II) in 2008, the World Heritage Committee adopted a standard list of factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties.

This list was established following a 2-year consultation process with experts in both fields of natural and cultural heritage. It consists of a series of 14 primary factors, encompassing each a number of secondary factors.

In the state of conservation reports examined by the World Heritage Committee, threats affecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties are indicated in a narrative form (e.g. “to evaluate the seriousness of the threat posed by the proliferation of Typha australis and other invasive aquatic species” in the 2005 report on Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary – Senegal) to be as precise as possible and site-specific.

However, to have a consistent approach for all the properties examined throughout the different processes, the regions of the World and the categories of heritage (natural, mixed and cultural), the treatment of those factors/threats requires certain homogeneity.  For this reason, the standard list of factors/threats identified in Section II of the Periodic Reporting was also used in the State of conservation Information System, and each narrative description of a threat in a state of conservation report was linked into the corresponding standardized factor. For example, the above-mentioned threat for Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary in Senegal, was linked to the standard factor: “Invasive / alien freshwater species”. This standardization makes the analysis of potential trends over the years or across regions more consistent.

Lastly, it is worth noting that in the online Information System on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties, the threats are presented in alphabetical order, irrespective of their type (“ascertained danger” or “potential danger”). Should the property be threatened by serious and specific danger, the World Heritage Committee can decide to inscribe this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The 14 primary threats

The standard list of threats/factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties consists of a series of 14 primary factors, encompassing each a number of secondary factors.
Buildings and Development
Housing

For example:

  • Urban high rise/urban sprawl
  • Encroachment/changes to skyline etc.
Commercial development

For example:

  • Skyscrapers
  • Large shopping malls
  • Encroachment/changes to skyline etc.
Industrial areas

For example:

  • Individual factories
  • Industrial areas/parks
  • Encroachment/changes to skyline etc.
Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure

For example:

  • Major accommodation and associated infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, golf courses, ski resorts, etc.)
  • Major/permanent high cost tourism facilities (pontoons, jetties, observatories, cable cars, chalets, fully serviced camping areas, etc.)
Interpretative and visitation facilities

For example:

  • Visitor interpretive facilities (visitor centre, site museum, etc.)
  • Signage etc.
  • Trail hardening, (trail markers etc.)
  • Information booths etc.
  • Minor picnic facilities
  • Minor camping areas
  • Moorings/marker buoys
Transportation Infrastructure
Ground transport infrastructure

For example:

  • Roads
  • Car parks
  • Railways, including easements
  • Transport depots
Air transport infrastructure

For example:

  • Airports
  • Airstrips
Marine transport infrastructure

For example:

  • Harbour & port facilities
Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure

For example:

  • Effects of vehicle traffic on roadways
  • Effects of shipping traffic in shipping routes
  • Effects of air traffic
Underground transport infrastructure
Utilities or Service Infrastructure

Developments in relation to infrastructure for energy utilities (i.e. gas, electricity and water) and other service requirements

Water infrastructure

For example:

  • Dams
  • Locks
  • Weirs
  • Water tanks
  • Pumping stations
  • Introduction of new systems/ infrastructure
Renewable energy facilities

For example:

  • Thermal
  • Wave
  • Solar
  • Wind
Non-renewable energy facilities

For example:

  • Nuclear power plants
  • Coal power plants
  • Oil/gas facilities
Localised utilities

For example:

  • Incinerators
  • Cell phone towers
  • Sewerage works
  • Microwave/TV/radio towers
Major linear utilities

For example:

  • Power lines/easements
  • Pipelines etc.
  • Channels
Pollution

All types of pollution (residential or commercial) as well as garbage, solid waste.

Pollution of marine waters

For example:

  • Ocean dumping
  • Bilge water discharge
  • Solid debris in marine environments
Ground water pollution

For example:

  • Oil/chemical spills
  • Industrial effluent
  • Agricultural runoff
  • Household sewage/waste
  • Acid sulphate soils
  • Effluent discharge
  • Mine/tailings runoff
Surface water pollution

For example:

  • Acid rain
  • Mine/tailings runoff
  • Agricultural runoff
Air pollution

For example:

  • Excessive smoke or other airborne particulates
  • Dust
  • Local effects of emissions from use of fossil fuels
Solid waste

For example:

  • Mine tailings
  • Litter
  • Industrial waste
  • Household rubbish
Input of excess energy

For example:

  • Any inputs of heat and light that disturb ecosystems including inappropriate urban lighting, heat pollution, etc.
Biological resource use/modification

The collecting/harvesting of wild plants and animals (forestry, fishing, hunting and gathering) and harvesting domesticated species (silviculture, agriculture and aquaculture)

Fishing/collecting aquatic resources

For example:

  • Trawling
  • Netting
  • Line fishing
  • Game fishing
  • Collection/harvest fisheries
  • Spearfishing
  • By-catch/incidental take issues
Aquaculture

For example:

  • Marine
  • Freshwater aquaculture
Land conversion

For example:

  • Agriculture (crops and livestock)
  • Rural
  • Forestry
Livestock farming/grazing of domesticated animals

For example:

  • Grazing on farms or by pastoral groups
Crop production

For example:

  • Deep ploughing
  • New crops
  • Intensification of planted agriculture
  • Traditional crops
  • Traditional systems
  • Gardening
Commercial wild plant collection

For example:

  • Pharmaceutical trade
  • Medicinal plants
  • Fodder collection
  • Thatching
  • Mushrooms
  • Bulbs etc.
Subsistence wild plant collection

Use this question for Indigenous subsistence hunting, gathering and collecting, i.e. not for economic benefit, for example:

  • Food plants
  • Medicinal plants
  • Fodder collection
  • Thatching
  • Mushrooms
  • Bulbs etc.
Commercial hunting

For example:

  • Bush meat trade
  • Organised game hunting
Subsistence hunting

Subsistence, i.e. not for economic benefit, hunting. Use “Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting” to indicate factors relating specifically to Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting

Forestry /wood production

For example:

  • Logging
  • Pulp production
  • All silvicultural operations
  • Restoration/regeneration
  • Sustainable wood harvesting
Physical resource extraction
Physical resource extraction

If illegal see “Other human activities”

Mining

Quarrying

For example:

  • Rock
  • Sand
  • Aggregates
Oil and gas

Water extraction
Local conditions affecting physical fabric

Environmental or biological factors that promote or contribute to deterioration processes of the fabric of heritage sites. Since effects of decay cannot be attributed to a single factor, consider all elements.
Use “Air pollution”  for air pollution.
Use “Climate change and severe weather events”  for severe weather, including flooding.
For tourism activities “Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation”.

Wind

For example:

  • Erosion
  • Vibration
Relative humidity

Temperature

Radiation/light

Dust

Water (Rain/Water table)

Pests

Micro-organisms
Social/cultural uses of heritage

Social factors that contribute to deterioration processes of the fabric of heritage sites. Some uses might have a positive impact as they enhance certain values (e.g. ritual, religious) while others might compromise ascribed values and could lead to the deterioration of the heritage site.

Use “Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure” and “Interpretative and visitation facilities” for impacts of tourism infrastructure and tourism activities in “Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation”.

Ritual/spiritual/religious and associative uses

For example:

  • Ritual/spiritual/religious uses and associations
  • Festivals/performances
Society's valuing of heritage

For example:

  • Changes in values leading to new uses of heritage resources
  • Expansions of / additions to current uses of heritage resources
  • Conflicting values
  • Abandonment
Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting

Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system

For example:

  • Loss of traditional knowledge and practices linked to heritage
Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community

For example:

  • Changes to identity and social cohesion
  • Changes in livelihoods
  • Migration to or from site
  • Changes in local population and community
Impacts of tourism/visitor/recreation

For example:

  • Inappropriate/non-existent interpretation (not an impact)
  • High levels of visitation
  • Increase of vendors inside/outside site
  • Building community support, sustainable livelihoods
Other human activities

Note Use “Social/cultural uses of heritage” for impacts on local communities

Illegal activities

For example:

  • Illegal extraction of biological resources (i.e. poaching)
  • Blast fishing, cyanide fishing
  • Illegal extraction of geological resources (mining/fossils)
  • Illegal trade
  • Illegal occupation of space
  • Illegal excavations
  • Illegal construction
  • Looting
  • Theft
  • Treasure hunting
  • Ghost nets (discarded fishing gear)
Deliberate destruction of heritage

For example:

  • Vandalism
  • Graffiti
  • Politically motivated acts
  • Arson
Military training

War

Terrorism

Civil unrest
Climate change and severe weather events
Storms

For example:

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes/cyclones
  • Gales
  • Hail damage
  • Lightning strikes
  • River/stream overflows
  • Extreme tides
Flooding

Drought

Desertification

Changes to oceanic waters

For example:

  • Changes to water flow and circulation patterns at local, regional or global scale
  • Changes to pH
  • Changes to temperature
Temperature change

Other climate change impacts
Sudden ecological or geological events
Volcanic eruption

Earthquake

Tsunami/tidal wave

Avalanche / landslide

Erosion and siltation/deposition

Fire (wildfires)

For example:

  • Altered fire regimes
  • High impact fire suppression activities
  • Lightning strikes

For human-induced fires, see “Other threats” below

Invasive/alien species or hyper-abundant species
Translocated species

For example:

  • Fish stocking
  • Inappropriate plantings
  • Introduced soil etc.
  • Dieback due to pathogens
Invasive/alien terrestrial species

For example:

  • Weed
  • Feral animal
  • Rodent
  • Insect pest
  • Bird pest
  • Disease/parasite
  • Micro-organism
Invasive / alien freshwater species

For example:

  • Weeds
  • Invertebrate pests
  • Fish pests
  • Diseases/parasites
  • Micro-organisms
Invasive/alien marine species

For example:

  • Weeds
  • Invertebrate pests
  • Fish pests
  • Diseases/parasites
  • Micro-organisms
Hyper-abundant species

Naturally occurring species impacting ecosystem by virtue of ecological imbalance

Modified genetic material
Management and institutional factors
Management System/Management Plan

Legal framework

Low impact research/monitoring activities

For example:

  • Visitor surveys
  • Water sampling
  • Non-extractive surveys
  • In-situ surveys
Governance

High impact research/monitoring activities

For example:

  • Sampling using destructive techniques
  • Research involving removal of features or species (i.e. extraction)
Management activities

Financial resources

Human resources
Other factor(s)

Any additional factor not already covered by the list above.