Location and Values: The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries of Wolong, Mount Siguniang and the Jiajin Mountains cover an extensive tract of mountainous terrain in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, where 30% of the world’s endangered giant pandas (about 500 individuals) survive. The sanctuaries include a vaste range of habitats over an altitudinal range of 5,670m, with glacier-capped peaks (the highest, Mount Siguniang reaches 6,250m), alpine meadows, a variety of mixed conifer and deciduous forests, with sub-tropical forests in the lower lying valleys. It is one of the world’s richest temperate areas for biodiversity, with 5-6,000 species of plants including highly diverse assemblages of plant groups such as roses, peonies, magnolias, bamboos and rhododendrons. There are 542 species of vertebrate animals, including other endangered species such as the red panda, snow leopard and Sichuan takin, and notable diversity in particular groups such as pheasants (with no fewer than 11 species recorded).
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2014) the conservation status of this site is ‘good with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that ‘concerns remain regarding road and dam developments inside the site, as well as mining, translocation of local residents, an emphasis on tourism development rather than conservation, a preoccupation with new developments following earthquake events and a temptation to accelerate ecological restoration through reforestation with arguably inappropriate tree species. There is too much emphasis on captive breeding and less emphasis on in-situ conservation and habitat restoration. Reintroduction research and practice has been undertaken in the area for over a decade, with some progress, but reintroduction will not significantly contribute to wild panda population increase in the near future. The latest IUCN reactive monitoring mission recommended extending site to include Rongjin NR to link with Liangshan giant panda population. In fact additional sites in Minshan and even Baishuijiang (in Gansu Province) could be added as parts of a serial site even though not physically connected. Coordination of management between sub-sites via WH office remains weak, better reporting from field and greater authority to WH office is also needed.’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description