Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries Travel Guide
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, home to more than 30% of the world´s highly endangered pandas, covers 924,500 ha with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains.
The sanctuaries constitute the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda, a relict from the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era. It is also the species´ most important site for captive breeding. The sanctuaries are home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow leopard and clouded leopard. They are among the botanically richest sites of any region in the world, outside the tropical rain forests, with between 5,000 and 6,000 species of flora in over 1,000 genera.
Earth´s history and geological features
The high ranges of the Qionglai Mountains are redominantly Triassic siltstone, limestone and slate, and the western half of the Jiajin Mountains are mainly ermo-carboniferous rock. The property has evidence f glacial and tectonic activity and has features a diverse range of rocks of different ages and types. There are a umber of glaciers, and a high region of U-shaped valleys, horns, cirques and aretes. The property provides good examples not only of glaciation (past and present), but also of fluvial incision under relatively pristine sub tropical conditions. There is the prospect for future geomorphological research on the processes operating in a dynamic range of biomes, including landslides, debris flows, flood events and seismic effects. These characteristics are of interest but are not of outstanding value. The key features of the property are not uncommon in other areas of the world and they are also represented within other World Heritage properties.
Biodiversity and threatened species
The property includes more than 30% of the world´s population of giant panda and constitutes the largest and most significant remaining contiguous area of panda habitat in the world. It is also the most important source of giant panda for establishing the captive breeding population of the species. The nominated property is also one of the botanically richest sites of any temperate region in the world or indeed anywhere outside of the tropical rain forests.
This significance is reinforced by its classification as one of the world´s top 25 Biodiversity Hotspots selected by Conservation International and the Global 200 Ecoregions defined by WWF.
Underlining the outstanding value is the large size of the nominated property and the fact that it protects a wide variety of topography, geology, and plant and animal species. The nominated property has exceptional value for biodiversity conservation and can demonstrate how ecosystem management systems can work across the borders of national and provincial protected areas.