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Committee Decisions

34 COM 8B.1

Natural properties - China Danxia (China)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B2,

2. Inscribes China Danxia, China, on the World Heritage List under criteria (vii) and (viii);

3. Takes note of the following provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

China Danxia is a serial property comprising six areas found in the sub-tropical zone of southern China. The term "China Danxia" describes the physical landscape developed from continental (terrestrial) reddish conglomerate and sandstone, also known as "red-beds," in a warm, humid monsoon climate. These landscapes developed on continental red terrigenous sedimentary beds influenced by endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion). The process of development is characterized by a particular rock sequence, tectonic background, warm and humid climatic conditions and resulting erosion processes and landforms.

China Danxia is unrivaled in its rich warm and humid climate red-beds sandstone landform geomorphologic features characterized by spectacular red cliffs and a range of erosional landforms, including dramatic natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls. China Danxia is also noted as a natural aesthetic landscape comprising red rocks, green vegetation, blue water and white clouds.

The rugged landscapes in the nominated property have helped to conserve sub-tropical broad leaved evergreen forests and these forests are found within all six serial sites. A range of important micro-habitats are also found. The nature of the Danxia landforms leads to intensive fragmentation and isolation of ravine and mountain top habitats. The natural habitats host many species of flora and fauna including endemic, endangered and threatened species of conservation significance.

Criterion (vii): China Danxia is an impressive and unique landscape of great natural beauty. The reddish conglomerate and sandstone that form this landscape of exceptional natural beauty have been shaped into spectacular peaks, pillars, cliffs and imposing gorges. Together with exuberant forest, winding rivers and majestic waterfalls, China Danxia presents a resplendent natural picture. The sharp contrast of red rock against green forests and blue rivers is a striking feature of China Danxia and renders great scenic appeal. China Danxia sites have long been appreciated by both the general public as well as the academic world and further celebrated by artists. It is one of the most important scenic identities of China, and has even attained significance as religious shrines. Its significance is further elaborated by the countless paintings, poems and articles eulogizing these unusual beautiful sites since ancient time.

Criterion (viii): Compared with other similar areas, China Danxia is the outstanding example of warm and humid climate red-beds landform in the world. As a result of favorable geological, hydrological and climatic conditions since at least late Mesozoic period, China Danxia areas preserve and display much richer geomorphological, ecological, biological and scenic features for warm and humid climate red-beds landform than any place in the world. The component parts represent the best examples of "least eroded" to "most eroded" Danxia landforms, displaying a clear landform sequence from "young" through "mature" to "old age", and with each component site displaying characteristic geomorphologic features of a given stage. China Danxia contains a wide variety of well developed red-beds landforms such as peaks, towers, mesas, cuestas, cliffs, valleys, caves and arches. Being shaped by both endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion), China Danxia provides a range of different aspects of the phenomenon of physical landscape developed from continental (terrestrial) reddish conglomerate and sandstone in a warm, humid monsoon climate, illustrating both the range of landforms in relation to the forces and processes that formed them.

Integrity

The nominated Property of China Danxia satisfies the requirements of integrity, protection and management set out in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The nominated property encompasses all the elements in sufficient size necessarily to reflect the natural beauty and earth science values of Danxia landform from young stage through mature stage and to old stage. The boundaries of the component parts and their associated buffer zones were adequately defined on maps as well as on-site. The boundaries of the China Danxia itself are adequate in relation to the nominated earth science and aesthetic values, and the buffer zone boundaries are also clearly defined. The level of management commitment appears adequate to the main challenges and threats that could face the property.

Protection and management requirements

The component parts of the nominated property are all State-owned and have national protected status including national park, national nature reserve, national forest park and national geo-park. They are protected under relative laws and regulations at both national level and regional level, which ensure the adequate long-term legislative, regulatory, institutional and traditional protection of the outstanding universal values. On the basis of the laws and regulations, the protection activities are well practiced in the nominated sites.

Efficient management systems at different levels have been built with enough qualified staff in China Danxia areas. Planning for the serial property is advanced. An integrated management plan has been prepared for the property as a whole, as well as individual plans for the six areas in the series. These plans identify a clear rationale for management and mechanisms for the protection of the property. Research and adaptive management techniques, including baseline condition assessment and monitoring of change for both natural values and species have been established. Local communities are aware of the World Heritage nomination and all stakeholders are also very supportive of the World Heritage proposal, which ensures the long-term management.

4. Commends the State Party for its efforts towards protection and management of the property across different provinces of China;

5. Requests the State Party to ensure the effective long-term management and protection in the future, with a view to make all the property components meet integrity requirements for natural World Heritage properties and supported by both adequate and effective buffer zones and the protection of wider catchment areas;

6. Invites the State Party to support the organization of international meetings and to continue scientific research regarding the Danxia Landform;

7. Also requests the State Party to continue its focus on the protection and effective management of the important biodiversity values;

8. Further requests the State Party to translate and make available in translation key scientific studies on the topic of the China Danxia phenomena and to actively assist the further development of international scientific knowledge of the China Danxia phenomena and red-beds sandstone geomorphology more generally.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: China
Properties: China Danxia
Session: 34COM