With approval from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, "China Danxia" was officially included in the World Heritage List during the 34th session of the World Heritage Conference held in Brasilia in August 2010. So far, China has a total of 40 world heritage sites.
China had declared six Danxia landform scenic spots which fully demonstrate the formation and evolution of Danxia landforms as world natural heritage sites. The six Danxia landforms are located in Taining of Fujian, Mount Langshan in Hunan, Mount Danxia in Guangdong, Mount Longhu in Jiangxi (including Guifeng Peak), Mount Jianglang in Zhejiang, and Chishui in Guizhou.
World heritage standards for China Danxia:
Standard (VII) contains excellent natural phenomena or is an area that has unique natural beauty and aesthetic importance: The high peaks, steep cliffs, deep canyons, beautiful waterfalls, rivers and lakes, as well as widely-covered vegetation, all of which form the magnificent landscapes of China Danxia. The six sites have best shown the most beautiful Danxia landscapes in southern China and have outstanding universal landscape and aesthetic value.
Standard (VIII) is a prominent example in the evolutionary history of the Earth, including records of living and geological evolution as well as landform features: The Danxia marks the evolution of the regional continental crust in a specific developing phase. The evolution of the basins in the six sites has clearly demonstrated the evolution history of the regional crust since the Cretaceous period. The China Danxia is also the example reflecting the evolutional history of the uplift and broken sedimentation basins over a long period of time, including both the past and ongoing geomorphic process. 80 years of research shows that the Danxia landform is a kind of specific phenomenon is Earth sciences and has regional and global value.
Standard (IX) it outstandingly representatives the evolutional and development process of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems as well as the flora and fauna: The Danxia landforms in the six sites are located in the "bio-geographic province in China’s subtropical forest" and the “rainforest bio-geographic province in southern China” in the Palearctic Realm and Indomalayan Realm in the global bio-geographic system. They prominently and completely represent the structure and evolution of the most characteristic biota living in subtropical evergreen broadleaf forests formed under the drive of the southeast monsoon. Meanwhile, they also represent the ecological succession in the postglacial period in the context of biogeography.
Standard (X) is an important natural habitat protecting biodiversity and the habitat of endangered species and has outstanding universal value: The six sites are the outstanding representatives of the biodiversity in two bio-geographic provinces (the Chinese subtropical forest and tropical rainforest in southern China) in the world's biological system. They are home to 5,772 higher plants, 836 vertebrates and 3,073 insects. The "southeast of the China—Hainan humid forest ecological zones" in 200 biological areas under the World Wildlife Foundation have old and primitive features of communities and nearly 400 rare and endangered species, along with more than 40 region-specific biological species. They have outstanding conservation value.
In addition, each of the six China Danxia landforms meets at least two of the criteria.
China Danxia is the only landforms that declared for world natural heritage sites among all Danxia (red layer) landforms. Its general scientific value, aesthetic value and ecological value have surpassed that of all the other heritage sites with Danxia (red layer) landforms as its main element in world natural and cultural, or a combination of both, heritage. Its unique features cannot be replaced by any other heritage site. In addition, China Danxia is also the most important and essential case that shows the development of the Danxia landform over time and space. The rich natural diversity and unique combination of mountains, water and forests has made the six sites the most prominent regions representative of Danxia landforms in China and even the world. Finally, the cultural factors also occupy an important position in China's Danxia landforms and they demonstrate the harmony between nature and man with the Danxia landforms and landscapes as its carrier. In this regard, China Danxia also has an outstanding universal and worldwide value.
In China, the term Danxia refers to a kind of landform with special landscape features and a distinctive red color like “rosy clouds” or the “crimson rays of the sunrise.” This term was first introduced to China by geologists in the 1920s and was used as the name of landforms which originated from Mount Danxia in Guangdong Province in China. This term is widely accepted in China.