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Researches on Features of South China Karst and Its World Natural Heritage Values

Author: XiaoShiZhen
Tutor: XiongKangNing;YinHongMei
School: Guizhou Normal
Course: Human geography
Keywords: South China Karst features comparative analysis research world heritage values
CLC: G122
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 533
Quote: 1
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Karst constitutes one of the greatest landscape styles of the world and China is one of the places that see its finest expressions. South China karst has preponderant developing conditions and becomes the area in which karst develops typically in China and even the tropical-subtropical zone of the world. But the spectacular and typical cone karst, tower karst, stone forest karst and gorge karst in south China are still out of the world heritage list. The main reasons are the lack of researches on its outstanding universal value, the insufficient study on combining karst features with world heritage evaluation criteria and comparative analysis with similar karst areas of the world. As a result, experts both home and abroad are not able to evaluate its values entirely. Therefore, it is very important and necessary to study the features of south China karst and its world natural heritage values.From the point of view of geography and according to the idea of system theory, the thesis was finished based on the cooperation with Guizhou Province, Yunnan Province, Chongqing City, Sichuan Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture and Natural History Museum of Verona, Italy, and discussion with world famous experts as Paul Williams, Elery Hamilton-Smith, Susan White, Julia James and so on. Abundant information and data have been obtained through fields’survey, measuring and literature collecting. Then, the research was carried out by using geography comparison method and synthetic analysis method, combining karst landforms features with world natural heritage application, combining qualitative with quantitative, combining theory with practice and combining periphery and sample areas. The main contents of the thesis are: backgrounds of world heritage convention, connotation of world heritage, outstanding universal value and its evaluation criteria, world heritages of China; developing features of south China karst; from the point of view of karst landform features and evolution histories, studying mainly the phase 1 of the South China Karst World Heritage Nomination: Shilin Karst of Yunnan, Libo Karst of Guizhou and Wulong Karst of Chongqing; comparative analysis of the three nominated sites with worldwide similar karst areas under the eighth criterion of world heritage—be outstanding examples representing major stages of the earth evolutionary history, including the records of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features, excavating its unique characteristics; summing-up the outstanding universal value of phase 1 of the South China Karst and bringing forward advices for further application of the South China Karst. The main conclusions of the thesis are as follows:1. In the unique physical geography conditions, such as relieves, climate, drainage systems and vegetations, there deposited great area old-aged, hardy, and sequential soluble rocks in south China, and magnificent and typical tropical-subtropical karst landforms system develop: cone, tower, stone forest, and gorge karst forms with the intense influence by tectonic movement, especially neo-tectonic movement. The development possessed the characters of long-term, multi-phased and superposition. And the fossils in the strata were very well conserved. The karst landforms take on a unique tropical-subtropical weather zonality distribution. Fossils are well preserved.2. The results of comparative analysis of South China Karst Nominated Sites (Phase 1) with similar sites: among the stone forests all over the world, Shilin Stone Forest in Yunnan is neither the tallest nor the oldest one, but the most complicated in the evolution history and richest in the forms. It represented a unique evolvement mechanism of stone forest development; Libo cone karst, possesses not only the most typical karst cones, but also the most complex assemblages of the cone karst. Libo cone karst represents typical factors of cone karst landforms and reflects geological evolvement models and processes in the tropical-subtropical continent. Moreover, the caves are well developed and reflects paleoclimatic changes; Wulong Gorge Karst is neither the deepest nor the longest gorge, but it shows integrally development and evolution system of the gorge karst, and records evolutional forms of different phases of gorge karst, such as karst gorges, underground rivers, natural bridges, collapse dolines, caves and so on, and illustrated on-going evolution process on the neotectonic movement.3. Outstanding universal value of South China Karst (Phase 1) World Heritage Nominated Sites consists of the following items: representing long-term, multi-phased evolution history in south China since Paleozoic; representing the landform features of tropical-subtropical typical cone karst, stone forest karst and gorge karst; representing the development and evolution mechanism and on-going geological process of tropical-subtropical cone karst, stone forest karst and gorge karst landforms; and representing unique physical geography characters of the largest in the three vast karst areas in the world. Therefore, South China Karst (Phase 1) World Heritage Nominated Sites fulfills adequately the criterion viii of the World Heritage evaluation. The conclusion provides important basis for the World Heritage Committee evaluating the earth evolutionary history value of South China Karst, and it plays a key role in the successful application of the World Heritage and will decide whether the typical landform and correlative ecosystem and large numbers of rare and endangered species can be further protected or not.4. South China Karst World Heritage Nomination is an integrated systemic project, so, correlative sites should be selected to integrate the South China Karst World Heritage system. In the process, we should consider the integration and typicality of surface landforms and underground, ecosystem, and scenic value. Further nominated sites of the South China Karst were suggested including Guilin-yangshuo karst(in Guangxi) for its presenting tower karst of south China so far as to the world, Guangxi Mulun Nature Reserve as an extension of Libo site, Shibing-Zhengyuan karst (in Guizhou) for its presenting dolomite karst and ecosystem of south China, Jinfoshan karst (in Chongqing) for its possessing best conserved karst evergreen broad-leaved forest in northern subtropical zone, Fengjie Tiankeng-Difeng (in Chongqing) for its presenting distinctive extent landforms, Xingyi karst (in Guizhou) for its advancing the value of life record of nominated sites for Keichousaurus hui fossils, Xingwen karst (in Sichuan) for its showing outstandingly karst landform diversity in small regions, and additional sites which will add to the geo- and bio-diversity and geomorphic history already contained in the existing sites.

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