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Hulun Buir Landscape & Birthplace of Ancient Minority

Date of Submission: 28/02/2017
Criteria: (iii)(vii)(ix)(x)
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
National Commission of the People's Republic of China
State, Province or Region:
Hulun Buir Prefecture, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Coordinates: N49 12 37.5 E119 42 25.3
Ref.: 6185
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Natural heritage

"Hulun Buir Landscape & Birthplace of Ancient Minority" located in Hulun Buir prefecture, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The natural part of the property is composed of 6 pieces of relatively independent area which are Hanma Nature Reserve, Ergun Nature Reserve & Ergun Wetland Park & Ergun Scenic Area, Hulun Lake Nature Reserve, Huihe Nature Reserve & Honghuaerji Zhangzisong Nature Reserve, Hulun Lake Nature Reserve and Ergun Northern Forest Zone, including three different ecosystems of forest, wetland, grassland.

The property is located in East Siberia Taiga, Temperate Needle-leaf Forests or Woodlands, and Mongolian-Manchurian Steppe, Temperate Grasslands of Palearctic Realm.

The habitats of temperate grassland and flood savanna in Palearctic are not included in world heritage list, which are also the blank of WH Global 200 defined by WWF, are priority areas to nominate world natural heritage recommended by IUCN in recent years. The main geographical units in this region include the Greater Khingan Mountains and the Hulun Buir grassland in northeast Mongolian Plateau, which are all belong to the Ergun river basin. The Greater Khingan Mountains shows north - south orientation is located in the east of this region while the Ergun river is located in the west of the property.The Ergun Rivers flow through Mongolia, Russia and China, which the source is Hailaer river, the downstream is Amur River.

The Ergun river basin in western slopes of the Greater Khingan Mountains formed several rivers flow from east to west into Ergun river, mainly including Kerulen River, Hui River, Gen River. The Landscape features such as mountains, rivers, forests, lakes, wetlands distribute in the space of hundreds of thousands of square kilometers between Ergun River and Greater Khingan Mountains. contains large area of natural habitats without being disturbed by human.

The Hulun Buir maintains the most complete forests, wetlands, grasslands ecosystem in Ergun River basin. The forest in Greater Khingan Mountains is the only outstretched part of Siberian taiga forest of the Eurasian coniferous forests in China. The parts of northeast Mongolia floristic composition, flora composition, polar composition, alpine floristic composition are joined here ,where is rich in plant species. As haven’t been disturbed by any commercial logging and the human activity, the property keep the diversity of the taiga ecosystem in the region. Typical mammal and birds of palearctic taiga forest such as sable, sable bear, brown bear, otter, lynx, red deer, elk, snow rabbit, and black ZuiSong chicken, flower tail hazel hen, black woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker, small spot woodpeckers, north noise crow inhabit the property.

Due to the scouring and silting, the rivers on the western slope of Greater Khingan Mountains formed many river wetlands and lake wetlands. The wetlands with largest area, the most well preserved and the highest level of biodiversity of are along the Ergun river, Hui river, Gen River and the Hulun Lake, which are all located in national nature reserves. Wetlands in Ergun River basin is an important node on the Arctic-Australia migration route, which is an important stopover and breeding spot for variety of birds, is also the key area of birds protection priority area in China. The population of gold spot plovers and small curlew is especially large, quite a proportion of the global population during the migrating season. And also the number of the swan goose which is a threatened birds inhabit in the property is more than 20% of the global population. Due to water level in the wetland is rich in annual and seasonal variations, the wetlands provide different types of habitat for birds. The property has a total of 227 species of bird, including 159 summer residents, 5 winter residents, 19 passing migrant, 44 resident birds. And all kinds of wetlands are respectively inhabited by the hoary head, white-naped crane, the red-crowned crane, demoiselle, and the hoary head, white-naped crane and the red-crowned crane is the threatened species. The area has the most abundant breeding crane species in the world.

The grassland in the property is important habitat of Procapra gutturosa. Procapra gutturosa was distributed in the Altai Mountains which located in Mongolia and Russia to China, and exists only in Inner Mongolia now in line with neighboring Mongolia. The Huangyang Nature Reserves which is a part of the property located in the Xinbaerhuzuoqi County, Hulun Buir is one of the few important sanctuary for Procapra gutturosai in China.

Cultural heritage

The Xianbei was a part of "Donghu" which was one of the three important chinese northern minority nationality, and its reproduction and development have a significant impact on the process of Chinese and global civilization.The monuments of Xianbei in Hulun Buir Prefecture include Ga Xain Cave sites, Zhalai Nuoer tombs, Labradlin tombs, Ihoulah graves, Qika tombs, Chu Lumeng Bei 1st tombs, Meng Gen Chu Wula 1st tombs which are built between 100 BC to 100 AD.These cultural relics are located in the east Greater Khingan Mountains and the forest, wetland, grassland ecotone, built around the end of the first century BC to the 1st century AD. Among them, the Chinese inscriptions on the Gaxian Cave clearly record the historical events that the ancestors sent someone back after the establishment of the Northern Wei Dynasty in the central China, and the cave established the historical fact that the Gaxian Cave was the birthplace of the Xianbei. The tombs in the forest, wetland and grassland of the Greater Khingan Mountains unearthed a large number of sacrificial objects such as pottery, birch bark, bones, bronzes, copper handicrafts and stone vessels. The unearthed cultural relics reflect the process of the development of the Xianbei people after the migrated to the Ergun River basin, adapting to the local natural conditions, forming their own cultural practices, and further developing the productive forces.

The relics reflect the process that Tuoba Xianbei migrated from the origin of Gaxian Cave to the west, from the mountains to the grassland. This process laid the foundation for the Xianbei migration to the south, and then took over the establishment of the Northern Wei Dynasty in the central China. The extremely rich unearthed cultural relics reflect the history of the second stage "moving south to big lake" which embodies the nation's survival in the area, further development of productive forces, and the integration surrounding Murong Xianbei, Yuwen Xianbei and other minorities.

In addition, the Jinjiehao Wall, Bayan Ura Ancient City and other relics of these minorities reflected the establishment of a powerful kingdom in the region to strengthen the military presence, consolidating border activities. All these relics above constitute a historical and cultural evidence of the region, witnessing the development and evolution of ethnic minorities.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (iii): The area retains a large number of ancient Chinese ethnic tombs, ancient cites and walls for the military defense provide a special witness of the ancient Chinese minorities in Northeast China, especially migration, reproduction and prosperous process of Xianbei, Shiwei, Khitan belong to Donghu family in this region.

Criterion (vii): The property shows the changing landscape of the river, a large area of original northern coniferous forest in Greater Khingan Mountains, largest area woody wetland of the Gen River in Asia and the vast Hulun Buir Grassland landscape. The scale of the plant landscape is huge, and different types of vegetation seasonally changing with richness in color. The Ergun River is the only river in eastern China that still flows naturally. The rivers show a rich variety of forms in the natural state, meandering landforms, and horseshoe bay and oxbow lake. Also a large number of lakes with different shapes, scale distribute in this area, and the property including different types of landscapes in the region.

In addition, the wetlands in the Ergun River basin are important nodes in the migratory routes of Arctic-Australasia migratory route of birds, and are important breeding grounds and stopping places for many birds. Every year from April to November, tens of thousands of migratory birds come together, form a very high diversity of bird species with the local resident birds, and constitute the rare animal landscape in the world.

Criterion (ix): The ecosystems of northern coniferous forest, river wetland, lacustrine wetland and temperate steppe are preserved with vertical and horizontal spatial gradients. The dynamic change of the water system in the region has provided the impetus for the change of the landform and ecosystem. The area and the location of the lake wetlands vary with the amount of water injected into the lake. The number of species and the number of individuals in wetland habitats, along with the dynamics of the process.

Criterion (x): There are five species of crane in these habitats, three of which are internationally threatened species, including red-crowned cranes and hooded cranes. The property contains representative of Siberian taiga forest in China, which is the most preserved, still retains complete animal communities. The property has obtained an international level protection destination, which Hulun Lake Nature Reserve was listed in Ramsar in 2002, and later was listed as the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Hanma Nature Reserve was listed as UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 2012.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

INTEGRITY

Integrity – features & attributes

The property relies on protected areas like national nature reserves, wetland parks, provincial nature reserves, provincial scenic area, covering the area for the most well preserved, lowest disturbance taiga forest, wetland and grassland ecosystem, the area reached the 3,091,600 ha, has retained the most concentrated distribution of wetlands for the migration of birds.

The relics reflects the integrity of the different representatives, types and quantities of different cultures in the area. All of the relics above have been included in the protection of Cultural Relic Conservation Unit.

Integrity-conservation

The property located on the west side of the Greater Khingan Mountains includes the best preserved forest, wetland, grassland ecosystem with most original state. The development of the whole area is low, and some of the regions are slightly affected by human activities have been preserved. Especially the taiga forest region is the true meaning of the unmanned area with only scientific investigation, management and other nondestructive human activities, still maintains the integrity of the ecosystem and ecological function.

The area contains various types of protected areas with concentrated distribution, the property to be nominated include a large number of forest park, wetland park, scenic areas, nature reserves and other legal protected area, can be used as a buffer zone to provide better protection.

AUTHENTICITY

The tombs and other sites have not been anthropogenic destructed, to maintain the authenticity. The unearthed cultural relics have been properly preserved, some external facilities have been established to reduce the impact impacts.

Comparison with other similar properties

Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (on the list)

Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary situated in the Senegal River delta, is a wetland of 16,000 ha, comprising a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters. It forms a living but fragile sanctuary for some 1.5 million birds, such as the white pelican, the purple heron, the African spoonbill, the great egret and the cormorant.The property is a wetland of around 16,000 ha comprising a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters. This habitat hosts more than 1.5 million birds of 365 species including over 120 species of Palaearctic migrants. The property is a vital sanctuary for nesting species such as the white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), the purple heron (Ardea purpurea),the African spoonbill (Platalea alba), the great egret (Casmerodius albus), the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) and the cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo). The property also contains large populations of crocodiles and manatees.

Central Sikhote-Alin(on the list)

The Sikhote-Alin mountain range contains one the richest and most unusual temperate forests of the world. In this mixed zone between taiga and subtropics, southern species such as the tiger and Himalayan bear cohabit with northern species such as the brown bear and lynx. The site stretches from the peaks of Sikhote-Alin to the Sea of Japan and is important for the survival of many endangered species such as the Amur tiger.

The property area is representative of one of the world’s most distinctive natural regions. The combination of glacial history, climate and relief has allowed the development of the richest and most unusual temperate forests in the world. Compared to other temperate ecosystems, the level of endemic plants and invertebrates present in the region is extraordinarily high which has resulted in unusual assemblages of plants and animals. For example, subtropical species such as tiger and Himalayan bear share the same habitat with species typical of northern taiga such as brown bear and reindeer. The site is also important for the survival of endangered species such as the scaly-sided (Chinese) merganser, Blakiston’s fish-owl and the Amur tiger.

Aryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan(on the list)

Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan comprises two protected areas: Naurzum State Nature Reserve and Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve totalling 450,344 ha. It features wetlands of outstanding importance for migratory water birds, including globally threatened species, among them the extremely rare Siberian white crane, the Dalmatian pelican, Pallas’s fish eagle, to name but a few. These wetlands are key stopover points and crossroads on the Central Asian flyway of birds from Africa, Europe and South Asia to their breeding places in Western and Eastern Siberia. The 200,000 ha Central Asian steppe areas included in the property provide a valuable refuge for over half the species of the region’s steppe flora, a number of threatened bird species and the critically endangered Saiga antelope, formerly an abundant species much reduced by poaching. The property includes two groups of fresh and salt water lakes situated on a watershed between rivers flowing north to the Arctic and south into the Aral-Irtysh basin.

Uvs Nuur Basin(on the list)

The Uvs Nuur Basin is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia has a area of 1,068,853 ha. It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The site is made up of twelve protected areas representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains are an important refuge for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex.

Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom(on the list)

The site includes archaeological remains of three cities and 40 tombs: Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City, 14 tombs are imperial, 26 of nobles. All belong to the Koguryo culture, named after the dynasty that ruled over parts of northern China and the northern half of the Korean Peninsula from 277 BC to AD 668. Wunu Mountain City is only partly excavated. Guonei City, within the modern city of Ji’an, played the role of a ‘supporting capital’ after the main Koguryo capital moved to Pyongyang. Wandu Mountain City, one of the capitals of the Koguryo Kingdom, contains many vestiges including a large palace and 37 tombs. Some of the tombs show great ingenuity in their elaborate ceilings, designed to roof wide spaces without columns and carry the heavy load of a stone or earth tumulus (mound), which was placed above them.

Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda (on the list)

The Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda demonstrates an unusual interface between dense and well-conserved tropical rainforest and relict savannah environments with a great diversity of species, including endangered large mammals, and habitats. The site illustrates ecological and biological processes in terms of species and habitat adaptation to post-glacial climatic changes. It contains evidence of the successive passages of different peoples who have left extensive and comparatively well-preserved remains of habitation around hilltops, caves and shelters, evidence of iron-working and a remarkable collection of some 1,800 petroglyphs (rock carvings). The property’s collection of Neolithic and Iron Age sites, together with the rock art found there, reflects a major migration route of Bantu and other peoples from West Africa along the River Ogooué valley to the north of the dense evergreen Congo forests and to central east and southern Africa, that has shaped the development of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

Landscapes of Dauria, Mongolia and Russian Federation (Proposed to nominate)

The Landscapes of Dauria (LD) constitute the only region in the world where the transition from the circumboreal taiga forest biome to the temperate continental grassland biome occurs under natural conditions (nomination file). The Daurian steppes also constitute one of few remaining extensive grassland steppes of Eurasia where wildlife and domestic livestock coexist.

The nominated property includes large and small lakes and wetlands which are found in a unique landscape feature. The large steppe lakes provide an essential resting place for more than 3 million migrating birds within the East Asian-Australian flyway of waterfowl.

Ecological communities have evolved under conditions of periodic climate change, which resulted in the development of a number of specific adaptations. At present, the climatic cycles during which an arid phase replaces a wet phase occur over relatively short time periods, resulting in relatively swift rearrangement of steppe and wet ecosystems. These periodic changes provide optimal conditions for the existence of a number of species with different ecological requirements within the same geographic area.