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Top Choice 01/25/2015 World Heritage China Part 5- Jiuzhaigou National Park


01-25-2015 21:17 BJT

Natural heritage value:

The unique waterscapes

The Jiuzhaigou Valley, judging from its unique landforms (chart 1) which is based on the calc-sinter lakes, calc-sinter waterfalls, and calc-sinter beaches, as well as the scale, type, number, shape, appearance and environment of its waterscapes, ranks first in China’s scenic and historic interest areas.

The graceful integrated environment

The Jiuzhaigou Valley takes the bright plateau scenery as its keynote characteristic and integrates it with the emerald lakes, layers of waterfalls, autumn forests, and snow peaks. It is called “heaven on earth,” and local Tibetans view it as “mystic hills and holy water.” They also adore and protect the mountains, bodies of water, forests and stones in the valley. After the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area opened to the public, oriental people called the Jiuzhaigou Valley “heaven on earth,” while westerners called it a “fairy tale world.”

Various geomorphologic landscapes

The Jiuzhaigou Valley is located at the transition belt between the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Sichuan Basin, which has a complex geologic setting and wide distributed carbonate. The various landforms were created as a result of folding and faulting in the earth’s crust and strong neotectonic movements as well as the rising crust. At the same time, a large scale of calc-sinter deposits with karstification was also cultivated, and the deposits are mainly phytokarstic. The calc-sinter and karstification have jointly created the beautiful lakes, rapid streams, spectacular waterfalls, primeval forests, and rolling snowy peaks. These harmonious geomorphologic landscapes form the unique Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area.

Well preserved vestiges of glaciers

The peaks in Jiuzhaigou are lofty and steep and the arêtes are precipitous. The cirque and U-valley are very typical. Moreover, the suspended valley and the aulacogen are charming. The aulacogen extends to 2,800 meters above sea level. The Jiuzhaigou Valley is one of the few places in China where the vestiges of glaciers dating from the Quaternary glaciations are best protected.

A treasure house of genes from various biological species

The Jiuzhaigou Valley is a place where many natural elements meet, and there are clear vertical zonations of plants in the relatively towering mountains. In addition, there are abundant plant resources including 2,576 higher plants, of which, 24 are under national protection. There are also more than 400 lower plants, of which, 212 species are algae. Furthermore, the amount of algae that were first discovered in the Jiuzhaigou Valley reach over 40 species (chart 3). There are many kinds of vegetation forms, including zonal vegetation forms of different climate zones. The flora of the valley includes the plants of almost all zones in the world. Many ancient plants propagate by seed are well-preserved. Monotypic genera and polytypic genera account for 3.3 percent and 13.73 percent of the total number of plants in the valley respectively. The primitive euptelea pleiospermum, cercidiphyllum japonicum, globeflower, and Kingdonia uniflora all have a certain scientific value for studying the development of the botanical system and evolution of the flora there.

There are 17 species of rare wild animals in Jiuzhaigou Valley, including the giant panda, gnu and golden monkey which are under first-grade state protection, as well as the Elaphodus cephalophus, white-lipped deer, lesser panda, macaque, Lophophorus lhuysii and whooper swan which are under the second-grade state protection. In addition, the valley also has animals that are under the third-grade state protection such as the serow, goral, blue-eared pheasant and blood pheasant.

Aesthetic value:

The Jiuzhaigou Valley is a masterpiece of nature, and has green mountains and clear water. The mountains stand nearby the water and the water flows around mountains. The trees grow beside the water and the water flows in the forest as well. The mountains and water set each other off to show a beautiful scenery and clean environment. The harmonious integration of natural and synthetic beauty, which combines color, shape and sound, is of incalculable aesthetic value.

Fine combination of all kinds of sceneries in the valley

114 ladder-shaped lakes are distributed in the Jiuzhaigou Valley, which is a Y-shaped valley and surrounded by towering snowy mountains. These lakes are linked by many torrents, beach flows and waterfall groups, winding through more than 50 kilometers. The clear lake water, colorful waterfalls, surging water flows, green trees, white snowy mountains, blue sky, bright sunlight, fresh air, as well as the ancient villages, trestles and mills, all of which formed a beautiful, harmonious and unified environment of rich content, reflects a high degree of synthetic beauty.

The mountains, water, lakes, waterfalls and trees are organically blended together. The Jiuzhaigou Valley has green mountains and clear water, with lakes and waterfalls merging into an organic whole, and the mountains, forests, clouds and sky are reflected in the water, making the scenery in the water more beautiful. The mountains and forests as the background make the water more charming. The water from the ladder-shaped lakes flows down layer by layer, forming waterfalls, and then the waterfalls pour down to the lakes, which are tier upon tier and linked with each other. The tranquil blue lakes and white waterfalls constitute a wonderful view of integrating dynamic scenes with static scenes. The specific ecological environment of trees growing beside water and water flows in the forest constitutes a picture of high aesthetic value, adding infinite vitality to the Jiuzhaigou Valley.

Landscapes are multi-level: The mouth of Jiuzhaigou Valley is 2,000 meters above sea level and the Long Lake and Grass Lake on the top of the main trench is about 3,000 meters, with continually changing landscapes. All the landscapes from low to high, from simple to complex and from the prelude to climax are fascinating. The order of the Jiuzhaigou Valley landscapes is just like a magnificent symphony, leaving people with an unforgettable feeling of beauty.

The prelude of the Jiuzhaigou Valley landscapes, which is a 7,000-meter-long route from its mouth to the Heyeba, shows verdant trees, lively brooks, clumped reeds, joyful birds and fragrant flowers.

The first movement of the Jiuzhaigou Valley landscapes is in the wide area from Heyeba to the Shuzheng Scenic Spot. The Wolong Lake, colorful Bonsai Beach, miracle Sleeping Dragon Lake, as well as 19 Shuzheng Lakes and the Shuzheng waterfall group are surrounded by trees, and the ancient water mills and Shuzheng streams are embellished with wooden bridges. All of these plus the Shuzheng Waterfall that is 25 meters high and 82 meters wide are presented in front of tourists, making them wonder at the miracle natural scenery.

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