Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area

China
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Air pollution
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Surface water pollution
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Site to be overrun with tourist facilities (issue resolved)
  • Several parts of the site severely impacted by floods in 1998 (issue resolved)
  • Plan for rehabilitation of damaged areas required (issue resolved)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 1 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved : 60,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

September 1998: World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

The 2014 IUCN World Heritage Outlook noted that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) is threatened by uncontrolled development of tourism facilities, roads, and increased visitation. Concerns regarding air and water pollution were also noted.  On 11 February 2015, the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party to request further information on these matters.

On 20 March 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/640/documents/ and reports as follows:

  • The maintenance of existing roads and construction of new roads are well designed to prevent any damage to the property. Two new roads have been constructed since 1998, of which a 6 km section lies inside the property, and a 2.09 km section in its buffer zone;
  • Any construction and commercial activities that may damage the authenticity and integrity of the sandstone peaks and biodiversity within the property are forbidden. Illegally constructed tourist facilities were demolished between 1999 and 2003 and again, between 2006 and 2009, and a third phase of the demolition project will be conducted between 2015 and 2018. It is reported that at present, no hotel, restaurant or guest house exist within the property;
  • Three cable cars, one elevator and an electric railway for tourists that currently exist within the property underwent a strict site selection process and were subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA). These developments are causing a visual impact on 5.34 km2 (2.02%) of the total area of the property;
  • The property’s tourist carrying capacity is stated to be 5.56 million visitors per year, and there were 3.5 million visitors in 2012. Tourist numbers to the property are strictly controlled via an automated system, which stops selling tickets when it reaches a threshold. However, during specific days of the year the daily limit on visitor numbers is exceeded. The Overall Plan on the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (2005-2020) had been revised and includes provisions for tourism management;
  • Measures to limit air, water and noise pollution are being implemented;
  • Recalling the Committee’s recommendation at the time of inscription to consider nomination under criteria (x), the State Party is increasing its efforts on biodiversity research, and an animal catalogue for the property will be formulated in 2015.

The State Party also considers that although the OUV of the property has been partly affected by the cable cars and a glass elevator, it is generally well preserved, and restoration of areas where illegal developments were demolished has progressed well.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

It is recommended that the Committee welcome the State Party’s ongoing efforts to manage impacts from pollution and to remove illegal tourist facilities and buildings within the property and its buffer zone. It is noted that the third phase of the demolition project will be conducted from 2015 to 2018, and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure engagement of affected local communities in the demolition project, to report on the outcomes of this project, and to also provide further information on any remaining illegal developments, the activities foreseen to remove them, and the progress achieved with the ecological restoration of affected areas, for possible examination by the Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.

It is noted with concern that cable cars, an elevator and an electric railway, which were built with the intention to enhance visitor experience and reduce environmental pressure by alleviating crowding, are having a negative impact on the property’s OUV as recognized under criterion (vii).  It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to not permit any further such developments within the property, in order to avoid additional impacts on its OUV.

It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that no further road development is permitted within the property, and that any road development outside the property does not negatively impact on its OUV. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that any proposed developments that could impact the property are reported to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any decisions being taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is noted that measures are in place to manage the number of tourists that visit the property, although during specific days of the year the maximum number of visitors is exceeded. The number of tourists remains high and appears to be increasing. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit a copy of the revised 2005-2020 Overall Plan on Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. It is also recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to consider further enhancing its tourism strategy, as required, on the basis of new online learning module developed by the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.10
Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China) (N 640)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 22 COM VII.27, adopted at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing efforts by the State Party to manage impacts from pollution and remove illegal tourist facilities and buildings within the property and its buffer zone, and requests the State Party to ensure the engagement of affected local communities in the third phase of the demolition project;
  4. Notes with concern that three cable cars, an elevator and an electric railway for tourists inside the property are having a negative visual impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests the State Party to ensure that no further such developments are permitted within the property;
  5. Urges the State Party to ensure that no new road developments are permitted within the property, and to also ensure that any road development outside the property does not negatively impact on its OUV;
  6. Further requests the State Party to notify the World Heritage Centre and IUCN of any future developments that could impact the property, before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, three printed and one electronic copy of the revised 2005-2020 Overall Plan on Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Notes the high and increasing numbers of tourists that visit the property, and encourages the State Party to consider further enhancing its tourism strategy, as required, on the basis of the new online learning module developed by the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, as well as on the outcomes of the demolition project, and further information on any remaining illegal developments and planned activities to remove them, and on progress achieved with the ecological restoration of the affected areas, for possible examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.10

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 22 COM VII.27, adopted at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing efforts by the State Party to manage impacts from pollution and remove illegal tourist facilities and buildings within the property and its buffer zone, and requests the State Party to ensure the engagement of affected local communities in the third phase of the demolition project;
  4. Notes with concern that three cable cars, an elevator and an electric railway for tourists inside the property are having a negative visual impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and also requests the State Party to ensure that no further such developments are permitted within the property;
  5. Urges the State Party to ensure that no new road developments are permitted within the property, and to also ensure that any road development outside the property does not negatively impact on its OUV;
  6. Further requests the State Party to notify the World Heritage Centre and IUCN of any future developments that could impact the property, before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, three printed and one electronic copy of the revised 2005-2020 Overall Plan on Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Notes the high and increasing numbers of tourists that visit the property, and encourages the State Party to consider further enhancing its tourism strategy, as required, on the basis of new online learning module developed by the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, as well as on the outcomes of the demolition project, and further information on any remaining illegal developments and planned activities to remove them, and on progress achieved with the ecological restoration of the affected areas, for possible examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.
Report year: 2015
China
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


top