“Karst in Southern China” Applying for World Natural Heritage

Karst in Southern China”, which is made up of the stone forest in Yunnan Province, Libo County in Guizhou Province and Wulong County in Chongqing City, is being voted on the 31th World Heritage Conference, as a project proposal for the world natural heritage in 2007.

The place of “Karst in Southern China” covers a total area of 146,000 hectares, the core area taking 48,000 hectares and the buffer area 98,000 hectares. Relevant experts regard that, influenced by the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, “Karst in Southern China” has formed an integrated structure system and evolvement sequence of the Karst ascending development area in the tropical and subtropical zones through evolution till now, which provide valuable geomorphological evidence for research on modern regional hydrographic nets and formation of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.

Text from: Cigem.gov.cn

"China is one of the countries in the world with largest carbonate rock occurred, and it is in south China that the most typical and diverse karst landforms developed. Centered by Guizhou province and covering nearly 600,000 square kilometers the South China Karst terrain is believed the largest single karst area in the world, including eastern Yunnan, most of Guizhou, northern South China karst terrain extends 700-800 kilometers in both N-S and E-W directions. With high altitude plateau (average 2000-2200 elevation) in the northwest and low-lying plain (average 100-120 elevation) in the southeast, the overall topography features a giant slope declining from northwest to southeast.Form different perspectives, the nominated eight karst areas comprehensively reflect the unique natural features of the south china karst terrain, highlighting its special and representative karst landforms, karst ecosystem and biodiversity, and exceptional natural beauty.Geologically, the south china karst region is located in the southwest margin of Yangtze landmass, in most Paleozoic and early Mesozoic period (Cambrian to Triassic), this region was oceanic environment with lower latitude than present. Thousands meters thick carbonate layers, particularly late Paleozoic period (Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian), deposited. Due to earth movement, this region was uplifted as land since late Triassic and started its karst landform development. Drawn by the Himalayan mountain building since late Tertiary, this region experienced a rapid tilting uplift which resulted in its today's sloping topography.

Long tern complex geological evolution gave rise to exceptional diverse karst landforms in this region, including the three most typical karst landforms in the world, i.e. tower kart (Fenglin), pinnacle karst (Stone Forest), and cone karst (Fengcong), as well as some unusual karst phenomena such as Tiankeng (giant karst pit) and Difeng (deep karst fissure). Besides, there are numerous spectacular underground cave systems and rich cave sediments. All these make this region the world's "museum of continental tropic-subtopic karst" because of its unrivaled richness and uniqueness.Within the nominated area, the thick carbonate layers that deposited from Cambrian to Triassic contain some globally significant fossils such as the Fauna of keichousaurus Hui , etc. which are the important life record of the earth.
Of the nominated areas, the Libo of Guizho and the Jinfoshan of Chongqing preserve and display typical, continental tropic-subtropic vegetation and ecosystems, the indigenous karst evergreen broadleaved forest, mixed karst coniferous- broadleaved forest, and karst coniferous forest are not only regarded as the "the last karst forest in the world" but also represent important on-going karst ecological process.
The nominated area has richest biodiversity, containing abundant rare, endangered and indigenous pant and animal species. In Jinfoshan and Libo areas there are more than 6000 higher plant species, including D.involucrate, C. argyrophyll, Cycas guizhouensis, Taxus chinensis, etc. threatened and endemic species. This karst terrain is not only the home to plenty of animals ranging from beasts, birds, amphibians, fish as well as cave animals but also the home to many threatened and indigenous, species such as Presbytis francoisi, Neofelis nebulosa, Aqila chrysaetos, Moschus berezovskit, etc. i.e, the nominated area is the sanctuary to many threatened plant and animal species.
Rich and unique karst landforms contained in the nominated area display exceptional natural beauty, many areas have long been traditional Chinese scenic resorts for hundreds years, of which, the Guilin Karst Scenery and the Stone Forest are world-renown natural wanders."
Description from: WHC.unesco.org

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