Danxia Landform of China
"Danxia Landform of China" is the general name of a Serial Nomination for World Natural Heritage. This nomination consists of five geologically and geographically related Danxia Landform areas which collectively featuring the outstanding universal values of Danxia geomorphology in south-east China. The five Danxia landform areas are: Mountain Langshan and Mountain Wanfoshan (Hunan Province), Mountain Danxiashan (Guangd0ng Province), Taining and Guanzhoushan (Fujian Province), Mountain Longhushan and Guifeng (Jiangxi Province), Fangyan and Mountain Jianglangshan (Zhejiang Province). The total core area of above 5 regions is 73945 ha, and the total buffer area is 65446 ha.
Danxia landform is a unique type of petrographic geomorphology; it could be defined as "landform consists of red bed characterized by steep cliffs". It was named in China, and was a type of physiognomy which was studied by Chinese geologists.
Danxia landforms are widely distributed in China, and are discovered in tropical and sub-tropical humid region, temperate humid and sub-humid region, sub-arid and arid region, and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The south-east China Danxia landforms are believed the most typical and diverse Danxia landform area, including Hunan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang.
The nominated Danxia landform regions locate in the foothill area in south Yangtze River, the topography there takes Mountain Nanling and Mountain Wuyishan as main skeleton and descending towards two sides. The low hills with altitude lower than 1000 m are dominant. The Danxia Landform areas are still in basins, the average height of Danxia peak is among 300 to 400 m.
Form different perspectives, the nominated five Danxia landform areas comprehensively reflect the unique natural features of the southeast china Danxia geomorphology, highlighting its special and representative Danxia landform ecosystem and biodiversity, and exceptional natural beauty.
Geologically, the nominated Danxia landform regions are located in the southeast margin of Huanan landmass. Due to double-extrusion of Pacific and India plates since Mesozoic, large-scale inter-mountainous basins are shaped in the eastern Chinese Mainland. Especially, from the late Mesozoic Cretaceous to the Early Eogene, the substantial bedrock of Danxia Landform is made up of continental, analogical molasses red sediment formation in in-coordinate inland basin. Since Paleogene Neogene and Quaternary, due to collision of Indian and Pacific plates, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is uplifted, the circumfluence route of Monsoon over East Asia is changed, and consequently, the climate was changed from arid to warm-wet in the southeast of china. Under the climate environment of abundant rain in tropic and sub-tropic zones, not only propagation is benefited, but also Weathering is pricked up in the cretaceous red stratum. Because of Himalayan orogeny (Alps orogeny) in late Cenozoic, the earth's crust was intermittently raised time after time, with corroding datum plane descending. The dissection depth is ceaselessly increased in joints of thick red stratum by water flow, at the same time, rock masses were avalanched and accumulated due to gravitation, accordingly, the unique physiognomy landscape of Danxia landform was shaped, which possess the character with red bed and steep cliff.
Long term complex geological evolution gives rise to exceptional diverse Danxia landform in this nominated region, the nominated Danxia landform regions are representatives for the Danxia landforms in Young Stage, Mature Stage and Old Stage in the southeast humid regions of China. The random combination of these cliffs constitutes different shapes of the Danxia landform, such as beam-shaped, castle-shaped, wall-shaped, pile-shaped, and cone, etc. Besides, the different rocks and diverse external dynamics greatly enrich the shapes and forms of the Danxia landform, which gains high aesthetics value.
Within the nominated area, the thick red strata in China mainly formed in Mesozoic, contain some globally significant fossils such as dinosaur fossils in Mountain Danxiashan and Basin Nanxiong, relatively abundant animal and plant fossils in the southwest and south of Taining, dinosaur egg fossils and vertebrate fossils and micropaleontology fossils in Mountain Langshan and its nabe, floristic group-"weichselia-ptilophyllum boreale" in Fangyan, in Mountain Jianglangshan and in Taining, etc. which are the important life record of the earth.
The nominated Danxia landform regions preserve and display typical continental tropic-subtropic vegetation and ecosystems which are one kind of individuality bright continental ecosystem, constitute "the Danxia landform biologic lineages", have grown the special tropical ravine rainforest, have formed the special community structure. The nominated Danxia landform area is also the typical region representing the ecological succession in the late geological age and reflecting important on-going continental ecological and biological process.
The nominated area has richest biodiversity, containing abundant rare, endangered and indigenous plant and animal species. In every nominated area there are more than 1000 higher plant species, sub-tropical endemism species are preserved, including natural evergreen broadleaf forest; Cymbidium, Dendrobium etc. Many new vegetable species are distributed in the nominated area, such as Firmiana danxiaensis in Mountain Danxiashan, Chinita langshanensis and Ranunculus Xinningensis in Mountain Langshan. The Danxia landform regions are excellent habitat for the reproduction of various animals ranging from beasts, birds, amphibians, fish as well as cave animals, thus make itself an indispensable base for wildlife protection. For example, there are 30 kinds of indigenous animal species in Mountain Longhushan and Guifeng and 75 kinds of protected animals in Mountain Danxiashan, So the nominated area is the sanctuary to many threatened plant and animal species. Rich cultural heritage has been kept in the nominated Danxia landform regions, for example, Taoism is very popular in Mountain Longhushan is a nice proof. What's more, inscriptions distributed in Mountain Danxiashan and Guifeng, the temple architecture in Taining, the group of buildings in Wanfoshan Dong minority, suspending coffins in Mountain Longhushan, ancient military fortification in Mountain Langshan, and so on.
Justification for Outstanding Universal Value
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
China is the place where Danxia Landform is named, its geological landforms are widely distributed, typically developed, and have diversified types and remarkable landscapes. Its stratum, forming and ectodynamorphic and landform development has an important meaning for global promotion and analysis research; with the intensive research on Danxia landform of China, it has founded a scientific system; Danxia landform of China has extremely high landscape aesthetic value, and has a good basic and perfect prospect for scientifically explorations, academic studies and sightseeing. The nominated 5 regions are the quintessence of the extensive Danxia landform of China with different stages of development, various environment and numerous scenes, they comprehensively reflected the unique physical features and superb natural conditions of the whole area from the perspectives of landforms, ecosystem, biodiversity and landscape. The nominated areas are therefore of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation and natural beauty.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
The 5 nominated regions of the "Danxia landform of China" respectively belong to "World Geo-Park", "National-Class Scenic Region", "National Natural Heritage Region" "State natural protection zones" or "National Geo-Park", which is all under the protection of relevant law or regulations. The nominated regions all possess enough space (core area & buffer area), including landform type, eco-system and rare species with outstanding universal value. There are clear boundaries for both the core area and the buffer area for all the nominated regions. And since most of the nominated regions are occupied by minorities whose population is relatively small, and its steep terrain fail to provide suitable condition for agriculture and construction, the integrity and nature of the nominated regions are well kept.
Comparison with other similar properties
Danxia landform is a kind of landform named, established and developed in China, which is widely accepted and applied by scholars both in China and in abroad. The red beds are widely distributed, which are found in all continents except for the Antarctica. Therefore, the Danxia landform is important rock landform and natural geographic features of the earth. However, there isn't any study which focuses solely on the Danxia landform.
In the list of the world heritage, there isn't any heritage relying only on the Danxia landform, however, there are three natural heritages among which the Danxia landform scene is included as main part, such as Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (n, 2003)-Liming Laojunshan Mountain of Danxia landform, Mountain Emeishan and Leshan Giant Buddha (nc, 1996)-Mountain Leshan of Danxia landform, Mountain Wuyishan (nc, 1999) - Danxia landform of its core area. Besides, there are three world cultural heritages that are built on the foundation of the Danxia landform: Chengde Mountain Resort and Waiba Temple (c, 1994) - Peak Bangchuishan and its peripheral Danxia landform foundation, the Dazu Rock Carvings (c, 1999), Mountain Qingchengshan and Dujiangyan irrigation system (c, 2000)-the Mountain Qingchengshan of Danxia landform foundation. What's more, the Mountain Danxiashan and Taining (Fujian Province) are successively listed in the world geopark network.
A great many places of Danxia landform has been selected as world heritage by their unique geomorphologic landscape, such as upper reaches of the Grand Canyon National Park, Meteora on the Mountain Olympus in Greece, etc. These examples fully show that the natural scenic value of Danxia landform although they are not categorized under the name of "Danxia landform type".
Comparative study shows the 5 nominated regions of Danxia landform of China has at least following characteristics: (l). China is the place where Danxia landform was named, the 5 regions possess typical landforms, which exhibit great aesthetic value; (2). They contain crucial evidence of geological and environmental as well as biological evolution, they also contain information of the on-going geological movement, which could fully reflects the evolution process of China's crust. (3) The nominated regions are typical terrestrial ecosystem whose ecological succession happened in late geological times.(4) The unique ecosystem provides perfect condition for the maintenance of originality of nature as well as the biological diversity, thus the nominated regions become the places where rare, indigenous and threatened species are kept, and they possess prominent scientific value.