Location and Values: The Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (more often referred to as Zhangjiajie National Forest Park) lies in southern China’s Hunan Province and is recognized for its concentration of spectacular quartzite-sandstone rock pinnacles and spires which are unlike anything else in the world. These formations are set in a landscape of deep ravines and forested hillsides below a high plateau, with clear mountain streams, waterfalls, lakes and some 40 limestone caves. The area supports at least 3,000 species of plants and a fauna that includes several species that are globally threatened with extinction such as the Chinese giant salamander, Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard and Chinese water deer.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2014) the conservation status of the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is of ‘significant concern’. The IUCN report notes that ‘the integrity of the property generally, and its natural scenic and aesthetic values in particular, are currently threatened with reduction and loss to an unacceptable degree. Active intervention by management to date has alleviated the problems somewhat, but a much more concerted effort is required to mitigate serious loss of the natural attributes that constitute the outstanding universal value of the property. The principal management focus should be introduction of effective regulatory measures to reduce the excessive development of tourist facilities and to control the overcrowding due to a rapid and continuing increase in visitor numbers.
Management must also attend to the threats from air and water pollution, local community land and resource use practices, modification of waterways, and the increased incidence and intensity of flooding and landsliding, occurring both in the property and in the buffer zone.’
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description