Assessment of the World Heritage Committee:
The South China Karst is incomparable in the world for its extremely various karst characteristics and landscapes. It is the most splendid example in all the tropical and subtropical humid karsts of the world, and therefore has outstanding universal values. According to the application materials and proofs provided by experts, it could be concluded that the Yunnan Stone Forest, as a part of the South China Karst, is one of the best natural phenomenon of the world, one of the best references of the world’s karst landforms of the same kind, and the best example of the world’s stone forest landforms, as well as a typical karst landform.
Chinese name: Zhong Guo Nan Fang Ke Si Te
English name: South China Karst
Based on the standards C(II)(III)(IV)(VI) for selecting world cultural heritage, the South China Karst was listed in the World Heritage List.
The South China Karst covers 50,000 square kilometers in total. It is scattered mainly in Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and contains various karst landforms. Currently, this world heritage consists of three parts, the karst landform in Libo County, the stone forest karst of Yunnan, and the karst landform in Wulong District. The South China Karst shows a humid tropical and subtropical karst kingdom to the world. The stone forest is a great natural phenomenon and one of the world’s international landmarks.
Karst means eroded-stone landforms, which usually develop based on carbonate stones such as limestone and dolomite. China’s karst landforms are usually large scale, in various shapes, typical, and have abundant biological and ecological resources.
The Yunnan Stone Forest Scenic Area is located in the Shilin Yi Autonomous County of China’s Yunnan Province and also called the “Lunan Stone Forest.” It is 120 kilometers away from the city of Kunming and covers about 400,000 mu. The stone forest is a typical karst landform which gradually formed over millions of years of geographic transformation. On Feb. 13, 2004, the Yunnan Stone Forest was approved as one of the first batch of world geographic parks by the world geographic park expert evaluation committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 1984, the Stone Forest Scenic Area was approved as one of the first batch of national-level key Scenic and Historic Interest Areas by the State Council. The Stone Forest is also the hometown of Ashima, a beautiful woman of legend from the Yi Nationality. The Yunnan Stone Forest was listed as a world heritage for its large stone forest, small stone forest, and Naigu Stone Forest, as well as its Libo-style sword shape karst, column shape karst and tower shape karst landforms.
The national-level Zhangjiang Scenic and Historic Interest Area is located in Libo County of Guizhou Province, and consists of the Small Seven-Hole Scenic Area, the Large Seven-Hole Scenic Area, the Shuichun River Scenic Area, and the Riverside Scenic Belt along the Zhang River. It covers 271.3 square kilometers. The Riverside Scenic Belt is 30 kilometers long, where the Zhang River goes through the Shuichun River Gorge and the Large and Small Scenic Areas. The peaceful river current, the crystal clear water, the green trees and mountains on both sides of the river and the farms and villages have formed an amazing pastoral picture. The Large and Small Scenic Areas and the Maolan National Nature Reserve have been listed as world heritage as typical cone-shape karst landforms.
The karst scattered in Wulong County of Chongqing consists of three large parts: the Three Natural Bridges, the Jingkou Natural Pit, and the Furong Cave. They contain many stereo landscapes including natural bridges, natural pits, rifts and water-eroded caves. The three large scenic parts are protected as national-level and province-level scenic and historic interest areas individually and as the “Chongqing Wulong Karst National Geographic Park” wholly.