donderdag 1 augustus 2013

China, Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area

Situated in the north-west of Sichaun Province, the Huanglong valley is made up of snow-capped peaks and the easternmost of all the Chinese glaciers. In addition to its mountain landscape, diverse forest ecosystems can be found, as well as spectacular limestone formations, waterfalls and hot springs. The area also has a population of endangered animals, including the giant panda and the Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey.

The property lies in the southern part of the Min Shan Range, approximately 150 km north/north-west of the provincial capital of Chengdu. It is divided into two distinct sites: the Huanglong subdivision and the Mouni Gully subdivision.
Tectonic activity, in the form of earthquakes, is fairly frequent. The relief is predominantly precipitous, a particularly spectacular example being where the Fujiang River flows through the Danyun Gorge. Above the timberline are extensive areas of precipitous mountain scenery, snow-covered for much of the year. Xuebaoding, or Snow Mountain Peak, is permanently snow-covered and bears the easternmost glacier in China. Of greatest geologically interest is the extensive calcite deposition that has taken place, notably along the 3.6 km Huanglonggou (Yellow Dragon Gully) where there are several extensive areas of travertine pools. Algae and bacteria proliferate in a number of these pools, giving a wide range of colours from orange and yellow to green and blue. Other karst features include long limestone shoals, notably Liujinshan (Glazed Golden Fan) and Jinshatan (Golden Sand Beach), in Huanglonggou. These are extensive slopes of active limestone deposition, covered entirely by a thin layer of flowing water.
The Huanglong subdivision contains the main tributaries leading into the upper waters of the Fujiang River, which has its source at the Snow Mountain Ridge. Water flow varies throughout the year, with peak flows during the flood season from May to July. A number of low-temperature hot springs rise from deep groundwater.
The Mouni Gully subdivision consists of two parallel small gullies, Zhaga and Erdaohai. There are two important areas of hot springs in this site: FeicuiKuang-quan and the springs in Zhuzhuhu. The waters of both springs have high mineral contents and are said to have important medicinal properties. Mouni Gully also contains a number of very attractive lakes and the Zhaga Waterfall.
Huanglong is situated at the transition zone between the eastern damp forest zone and the mountainous coniferous woods/meadow grassland and shrub zone of Qing-Zang Plateau. It lies close to the intersection of four floral regions: Eastern Asia, Himalaya, and the subtropical and tropical zones of the Northern Hemisphere.
From 1,700 m to 2,300 m, there is a belt of mixed forest dominated by Chinese hemlock, Chinese or dragon spruce and three species of maple. Between 2,300 m and 3,600 m, the forest is largely coniferous and subalpine in character, dominated by spruces; firs; larch and birches. Between 3,600 m and 4,200 m, the forest gives way to alpine meadows dominated by shrubs and grasses. From 4,200 m to 4,800 m vegetation is sparser, but includes shrubs. Above 4,800m, there is permanent snow and ice.
A large number of faunal species listed are threatened mammals include such notable species as giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, brown bear Asiatic black bear, leopard, Pallas' cat, Asiatic wild dog, lesser panda, Szechwan takin, mainland serow, common goral, argali and three species of deer.

Historical Description

Established 1982. Large parts of the area have received protection for hundreds of thousands of years, either because of their inaccessibility or because of their important position in local culture and the Tibetan religion. The site was listed as a state scenic district in 1982; the Sichuan provincial government gave the entire site legal protection in January 1987. In 1992, the central and second class conservation zone was accepted as a natural World Heritage status on the basis of meeting criteria (iii). The Mouni Gully separate subdivision to the west is not part of the World Heritage site.
Source: Advisory Body Evaluation

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