Mount Huangshan Scenic Beauty and Historic Interest Site (30°01'-31°18'N and 118°01-118°17'E) is a World Heritage Site located in the Sichuan Providince of China.
Located in Sichuan Province, near Jiuzaigou and Songpan, with its main peak, Lotus Flower, at 30°10'N and 118°11'E. The entire property lies within 30°01'-31°18'N and 118°01-118°17'E.
Date and History of Establishment
Proclaimed a site of scenic beauty and historic interest by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 1982. Protection measures date back to 1935 when the administrative area of Mount Huangshan was delimited, the boundaries providing the basis to the configuration of the existing scenic beauty and historic interest site. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.
15,400 hectares (ha). Surrounded by a buffer zone of 14,200 ha designated by the State Council.
Ranges from about 600 meters (m) to the peak of Lotus Flower at 1,864 m.
Huangshan is the mountain best renowned for its scenery in China, and has an interesting but complex geological history. It features numerous imposing peaks (77 exceed an altitude of 1,000 m), whose formation dates back some 100 million years to the Mesozoic Era when the ancient Yangste Sea disappeared as a result of crustal movements and subsequent uplift. U-shaped valleys, striations and boulders are evidence of later glaciation during the Quaternary Period. Forests of stone pillars are numerous; other features include grotesquely-shaped rocks (many of which are individually named, such as "pig-headed monk eating water melon"), waterfalls, lakes and hot springs (notably Huangshan or Cinnabar Hotspring, one of the four wonders of Mount Huangshan). Oldest are the sedimentary deposits and metamorphic rocks from the Yangste Sea, formed over 570 million years ago during the Proterozoic Era and outcropping at the southern foot of Mount Huangshan and south of the Xiaoyaoxi fault. Granites were formed during periods of orogenic activity, principal components being feldspar (40-60%), diorite (10-20%), quartz (25-35%), with traces of black and yellow mica. Granite formation is characterized by well-advanced longitudinal joints, responsible for the many impressive caves, ridges andgorges. The geology is described in detail by Wissmann (1936). Soils are generally acidic, the matrix often being granite with quartz. Below 900 m soils are classed as hilly yellow; above 900 m they are hilly brown, with over 3% organic content on gentler slopes.
Conditions are monsoonal, with 70% mean annual humidity and 2,395 millimeters (mm) mean annual rainfall (both peak in July). Fog and mist are frequent (256 days annually). Mean monthly temperatures range from -3.1°C in January to 17.7°C in July. The mean duration of the snowfall period is 158 days. These data are based on a 30-year sample.
Forests, characterized by Masson pine Pinus massoniana below 800 m and Huangshan pine P. huangshanensis from 800 m to 1,800 m, cover 56% of total land area. Moist forest occurs between 600 m and 1,100 m, with Cyclohalanopsis glauca predominant in the evergreen layer. From 1,100 m to 1,800 m is deciduous forest, with Huangshan oak Quercus stewardii and beech Fagus engleviana. Above the treeline is alpine grassland, characterized by Arundinella hirta and Molinopsis hui. Some 1,650 plant species have been recorded, of which about 1,450 are native and the rest have been introduced over the last 20 years. Species comprise 240 bryophytes (representing over 33% of families in China), 100 of pteridophytes (representing over 50% of families in China), 14 gymnosperms and 1,300 angiosperms. Rare species include Pseudotsuga gaussenii and Manglietia fordiana. Endemics to Huangshan total 13 species of pteridophytes and 6 of higher plants, including Buckleya henryi which is on the verge of extinction. Also present, but threatened with extinction due to their medicinal and ornamental value, are six Chinese endemics and three other species, including Orobonche coerulescens, Inula iinariaefolia, Tillium tsochonoskii, Dendrobium nobile and Captis chinensis. A number of trees are celebrated on account of their age, grotesque shape, or precipitously perched position, including 1,000-year old specimens of Huangshan pine, maidenhair Ginkgo biloba and alpine juniper Sabina squamata.
In the buffer zone, vegetation covers 80% of the area, of which 45% is natural forest and the rest tea and other plantations.
The vertebrate fauna comprises 300 species and includes 48 of mammals, 170 of birds, 38 of reptiles, 20 of amphibians and 24 species of fish. A total of 13 species is under state protection. Large mammals include rhesus and stump-tailed macaques Macaca mulatta and M. speciosa, Asiatic black bear Selenarctos thibetanus (V), wild dog Cuon alpinus (V), civet Viverra zibetha, Chinese ferret-badger Melogale moschata, clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa (V), wild boar Sus scrofa, sika deer Cervus nippon, mainland serow Capricornis sumatraensis (I), red-bellied and spotted squirrels Callosciurus erythraeus and Tamiops swinhoei, and pangolin Manis pentadactyla. Notable among the avifauna is Oriental white stork Ciconia boyciana (E).
The high esteem accredited to Huangshan throughout much of Chinese history has given rise to the Huangshan culture. Generation after generation, people have come to eulogize the mountain, resulting in a rich legacy of art and literature. Huangshan is considered to be a prime example of classic Chinese scenery, as typified in Chinese landscape paintings. The earliest reference to it, then known as San-tianzi Du, is ascribed to "Shanhai jin" (Book of Mountains and Seas). It was renamed Youshan in the "Annals of the Han Dynasty" and Yishan in "Annotations to Book of China's River System" towards the fall of the Han Dynasty. On 17 June 747, during the Tang Dynasty, an imperial order was issued to name it Huangshan (Yellow Mountain). Up until that time, however, the mountain had remained largely secluded from the outside world. Thereafter, poets, literary scholars and numerous other celebrities were among the many visitors, and by the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) 64 temples had been constructed on the mountain. During the Ming Dynasty, in 1606, Monk Pumen came to Huangshan and built Fahai Meditation Temple and Wonshu Temple, connecting them by steps cut into the mountain. Paintings and drawings of the mountain appeared as early as the mid-16th century (Ming Dynasty), while between the Tang and Qing dynasties several hundred essays and over 20,000 poems were written extolling the mountain.
Local Human Population
The core area is uninhabited. A total of 1,602 persons lives in the Xianyao Ting residential area, most of whom are staff and their dependents.
Visitors and Visitor Facilities
Several areas within the property have been intensely developed for visitors. There is a comprehensive network of footpaths, totalling 50 kilometers (km) in length, which provides access to the main scenic spots. In 1979 281,592 people visited Huangshan, of which 370 were foreigners. At that time facilities could accommodate 4,000 visitors overnight. In 1989, there were approximately 500,000 visitors.
Scientific Research ad Facilities
Li Siguang was the first geologist to study the property's Quaternary geological history, presenting his findings in the Proceedings of the Chinese Geological Society in September 1936. That same year, Fei Shimeng reported on a geographical survey in the Geographical Journal. The vegetation was first studied in 1918-1927 by Zhong Guanxing, later joined by A.N. Steward and E.H. Wils. The flora was subsequently studied by Chen and Xu (1965). Since 1980, the scenic resources of the property have been jointly assessed by the provincial Bureau of Urban and Rural Construction and Environmental Protection, the Huangshan Administrative Committee in Charge of Sites of Scenic and Historic Interest and Qinghua University, to provide a scientific basis for its conservation.
Although not one of China's five holy mountains, Huangshan is acknowledged to be one of the finest mountains in China, and has been designated one of 44 major scenic sites by the State Council on account of its magnificent scenery. This is manifest in its rich cultural history. The flora, in particular, is diverse and includes a number of rare and endemic species.
Being barely accessible in ancient times Huangshan was rarely visited. Following its change of name from Yishan to Huangshan decreed by Emperor Tang Xuangzong in 747, its fame spread, attracting many visitors. Apart from temples being constructed and access routes built, the property remained largely undeveloped until this century. In 1934 the Huangshan Construction Committee was set up by the governor of Anhui and Fujian provinces and made responsible for the conservation, management and development of the mountain. Boundaries were delimited the following year and, in 1936, a police bureau stationed here to protect the forest, particularly from fire. From 1943 to 1949 management was the responsibility of the Huangshan Administration Bureau, superseded by the Huangshan Administration Department in 1949 (after the founding of the People's Republic of China) and by the Huangshan Administration Bureau of Anhui Province on 1979. Management and preservation of the property was strengthened in November 1987 with the establishment of the Huangshan Municipality directly under AnhuiProvincial Government, the purpose of which was to provide an unified administration over both the mountain and its surrounding area to better protect and exploit, through the promotion of tourism, the natural heritage of Mount Huangshan.
Under the Regulations Regarding the Conservation of Huangshan Scenic Beauty and Historic Interest Site, adopted by the Standing Committee of the People's Congress Anhui Province on 13 April 1989, the Huangshan Administrative Committee in Charge of Sites of Scenic and Historic Interest has been set up under the Huangshan Municipality and is responsible to the Bureau of Urban and Rural Construction and Environmental Protection of Anhui Province for protection, management and development of the property, including the implementation of the management plan for Huangshan. The Regulations provide for the prohibition of cultivation, livestock grazing, fuelwood gathering, hunting, and industrial and mining enterprises. Construction is also prohibited within the buffer zone if it is likely to be detrimental to the environment. Regulations have also been promulgated concerning forest protection and fire prevention.
Referred to as the Overall Plan for the Places of Scenic and Historic Interest in Huangshan, the over-riding objective of management is to conserve the beauty and natural resources of the site, no construction being permitted if it will impinge on the quality of the landscape. The property is divided into six tourist zones and five protection zones. Scenic resources are graded on a scale of one to three, each grade having its own set of conservation regulations. Within the buffer zone, regulations have been issued for its afforestation.
The property is well protected, the main problem being the high visitor use, particularly with regard to sewage treatment and water quality. Certain scenic areas are spoilt by the large number of tourists received during holidays and festivals. Technical capabilities for fire fighting, communications, environmental monitoring and pollution control are lacking. These problems, addressed in the management plan, are gradually being resolved.
No information .
Funds are appropriated annually by central and local governments. In 1989, income totalled 6,300,000 Renminbi (RMB).
IUCN Management Category
- III (Natural Monument)
- Natural/Cultural World Heritage Site - Natural Criteria iii, iv/Cultural Criterion ii
Unless otherwise indicated, information is based on the World Heritage nomination prepared by the Ministry of Construction, P R China in 1989. The nomination includes a list of monographs on Mount Huangshan, together with other relevant literary works.
- Chen, Bangshu and Xu, Bingsheng (1965). Studies of Mt Huangshan's flora. Shanghai Scientific and Technical Press, Shanghai. (Unseen)
- Eigner, J. (1939). The enchanting beauty of Huang Shan. The China Journal 31: 134-142.
- Hers, J. (1935). The sacred mountains of China. Huang Shan and how to get there. The China Journal 22: 311-316.
- Machlis, G.E. (1980). A report on exchange between the National Parks Service and the People's Republic of China. College of Forestry, Wildlife and Range Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow. 23 pp.
- Wissmann, H.v. (1936). Huangshan excursion report. Journal of the Geographical Society of China 3(4): 3-15.
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