Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area

Country
China
Inscribed in
1992
Criterion
(vii)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "good with some concerns" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.
Stretching over 72,000 ha in the northern part of Sichuan Province, the jagged Jiuzhaigou valley reaches a height of more than 4,800 m, thus comprising a series of diverse forest ecosystems. Its superb landscapes are particularly interesting for their series of narrow conic karst land forms and spectacular waterfalls. Some 140 bird species also inhabit the valley, as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the giant panda and the Sichuan takin. © UNESCO
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Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020
Good with some concerns
Overall, the outstanding natural value and attributes of the property have been well preserved and the conservation outlook for the site is good with some concerns. The 2017 7.0 earthquake has caused significant changes in the natural landscape and its specific impacts will require a comprehensive evaluation, however recent visits suggest that the features within the park have recovered. In the past, protection of some natural areas and resources had been also compromised by rapid and excessive tourism infrastructure development and by visitor overcrowding in excess of the environmental and social carrying capacity, leading amongst other impacts to some degradation of tufa. However, many recent improvements in management and efforts at mitigation of threats and their impacts responded to these challenges. Achieving success in this will require continuing and careful vigilance, and astute judgment in management intervention. This will also require dialogue with provincial governments on managing the numbers of tourists so that park management can better focus on conservation efforts. The effectiveness of post-hazard responses will also need to be evaluated in the future.

Current state and trend of VALUES

Low Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
Protection of some natural areas and resources has been compromised in the past especially by rapid and excessive tourism infrastructure development and by visitor overcrowding in excess of the environmental and social carrying capacity. Today, as a result of careful management intervention and improved technologies most key sites have been hardened through the establishment of paved roads and boardwalks, and pollution of water and air has been reduced. Further efforts are required in staff capacity building and in the assessment of the biodiversity values of the property, to further advance the protection programs and to mitigate undesirable impacts. However, the recent 7.0 earthquake has caused significant changes in the natural landscape and its specific impacts will require a comprehensive evaluation.

Overall THREATS

High Threat
Overall, the threat level is high. The recent high-magnitude natural event, 2017 Jiuzhaigou 7.0 scale earthquake, has impacted the values of this property. However, a comprehensive assessment of all impacts will require additional time. If such unpredictable natural events are excluded, the greatest and ongoing threats are from rapid growth of tourist infrastructure consequent upon burgeoning visitor numbers. Management intervention has alleviated the threat level somewhat but concerns remain about the capacity of the authorities to completely avoid the undesirable impacts of mass tourism. This has a complicated impact on traditional livelihoods and economic security in the region, however, it seems that allowing residents to carry out some traditional farming and pastoralism is important for economic diversification and the maintenance of biodiversity. Specific threats from water and air pollution (mostly due to high numbers of tourists), and hazards from natural high-magnitude events, especially landslides, have been somewhat reduced by improved technologies and management practices. Environmental response to atmospheric warming is a major potential threat to the natural values of the property. High magnitude events such as the 2008 8.0 scale and 2017 7.0 earthquakes cannot be managed for, and a landscape approach to planning village, route and infrastructure needs to be taken, with ecological disaster risk reduction best practice.

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Mostly Effective
Overall, the management of the property can be rated as mostly effective. In the two decades since World Heritage inscription of the site there have been major advances, particularly with respect to visitor and tourism management, pollution abatement, rehabilitation of damaged areas, control of extreme natural events, environmental monitoring and research. Some concerns remain regarding the capacity of the authorities to be fully effective in enforcing protection legislation and regulations. Of particular concern is the on-going pressure on the carrying capacity of the property and emergence of environmental and social impacts accompanying the growth of mass tourism. There is a need to extend the current training programs and enlist more well-qualified staff and for these staff to be able to focus on these efforts rather than solely managing large numbers of tourists. More effort is also required to assess the biota and wildlife habitats of the property, and to implement policies and programs to mitigate detrimental effects of human pressures while allowing greater recognition of the outstanding biodiversity values. Additionally, consideration should be given to ways of improving conservation management in the buffer zone and extending the boundaries, as well as regional landscape approach taken to conservation in the broader contiguous region (the Minshan Landscape). The 2017 7.0 scale earthquake has made significant changes in the natural landscape and damaged the tourist infrastructure. Management responses to this disaster should be evaluated in the future to ensure that the rebuilding efforts support, and not compromise, the WH values. The earthquake and subsequent reduction in tourism revenue has sharpened the need for economic diversification amongst the traditional residents of the park, with farming and pastoralism carrying strong potential to fulfill this niche, which may also play a critical role in the maintenance of patchiness and biodiversity within the park.

Full assessment

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Finalised on
02 Dec 2020

Description of values

Landscape of outstanding natural beauty

Criterion
(vii)
Covering 72,000 ha in the northern part of Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou is an alpine travertine wetland landscape of exceptional natural beauty, with spectacular forest-covered mountains soaring to almost 5,000 m above crystal clear, blue, green and purplish, mineral-rich pools, some 100 lakes and about 20 large waterfalls, along with karst formations such as calcareous tufa dykes, shoals and terraces and caves. High-altitude glacial landforms include horns, arêtes, cirques, lakes and moraines (MOC, 1991; UNESCO, 1996; UNEP-WCMC, 2011; World Heritage Committee, 2012).
Diversity of forest ecosystems and endangered species
Jiuzhaigou lies within a Conservation International designated Biodiversity Hotspot, a WWF Global 200 Freshwater Eco-region, and a WWF/IUCN Centre of Plant Diversity, and is one of the world’s Endemic Bird Areas. It is also designated as a UNESCO/MAB Biosphere Reserve. The property protects a diverse range of mixed and coniferous forest ecosystems and alpine meadows. There are about 2,500 plant species including more than 200 aquatic species. Excellent habitat is available for the 233 bird species recorded, 13 of which are listed as endangered. Also protected are 313 vertebrate species and 78 mammals, including the endangered giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey, and the vulnerable Sichuan takin (MOC, 1991; UNEP-WCMC, 2011; World Heritage Committee, 2012; IUCN Consultation, 2017).

Assessment information

High Threat
Overall, the current threat level is high. The recent high-magnitude natural event, 2017 Jiuzhaigou 7.0 scale earthquake, has impacted the values of this property. However, a comprehensive assessment of all impacts will require additional time. If such unpredictable natural events are excluded, the greatest and ongoing threats are from rapid growth of tourist infrastructure consequent upon burgeoning visitor numbers (Gu et al., 2013). Management intervention has alleviated the threat level somewhat but concerns remain about the capacity of the authorities to completely avoid the undesirable impacts of mass tourism. Pressures from prefecture and county authorities creates a conflict within the site management itself, as performance appraisal systems currently only look at gross visitor numbers, rather than visitor contribution to the local economy in review. Specific threats from water and air pollution, and hazards from natural high-magnitude events, especially landslides, have been reduced by improved technologies and management practices; however, some concerns, such as tufa degradation, remain (Du et al. 2018; Liu 2017; Qiao et al. 2016). Economic diversification is necessary for residents of the park to avoid being unduly impacted by earthquakes, or changes in tourism flow. 
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Introduced pests and diseases)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Low level of threat from forest pests and diseases has been reported but data and more detailed information is lacking (IUCN 1992; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003).
Water Pollution, Household Sewage/ Urban Waste Water, Solid Waste, Air Pollution
(Pollution of water and air)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Direct discharge of sewage from residences and hotels built within the park resulted in high levels of pollution in waterways prior to 2003. Initially installed sanitation and wastewater treatment systems were expensive, labour-intensive and ineffective due to engineering design flaws and management failures. Improved systems (which involve manually removing waste from the park) are replacing the former ones but some problems persist. A municipal waste treatment plant is being constructed close to Jiuzhaigou and in Nanping town, 40 km below Jiuzhaigou. There are still major concerns in how human waste is being collected within the site itself, from the 2000-40,000 visitors per day. Smaller amounts of waste are being produced by the 1300 local communities inside the park. As of 2012, the waste produced inside the park is being collected in a complicated system involving plastic bags, removed by truck and shredded. This practice is unsustainable and needs to be replaced with a more professional low tech, high-performance solution.(IUCN 1992; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003; Fang et al. 2005; Gaulke et al. 2009). Increased nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations that originate mainly from atmospheric pollution and tourist activities at scenic attractions have been demonstrated to trigger excessive diatom and algal growth which inhibits tufa precipitation (Du et al. 2018; Liu, 2017; Pan et al. 2017; Qiao et al., 2016, Wang et al. 2018). Limiting numbers of tourists may be necessary to avoid the degradation of tufa. It is also likely that at least some air pollution comes form the Sichuan basin (IUCN Consultation, 2020), making air pollution a local and regional threat.
Earthquakes/ Tsunamis, Avalanches/ Landslides, Erosion and Siltation/ Deposition
(Earthquakes)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
The 7.0 earthquake on August 8, 2017 in Jiuzhaigou caused significant effects on all WH values in this property. As of 2019, large parts of the roads in the park as well as key sites of natural beauty have been painstakingly restored through great effort of the park personnel, with the exception of the higher altitude area of the park where damage to roads and landslides were too extensive to be removed. Improved walkways as well as toilets and rest sites have been rebuilt and most sites of natural beauty appear to have recovered from the event (IUCN Consultation 2020). 

Post-earthquake landslides and debris flows continue, however, to impact the park and its surrounding areas. These events are often precipitated by extreme or high rainfall events which have been increasing in frequency over recent decades due to the effects of climate change (Li et al. 2018; Lei et al. 2018; Wang et al. 2018; Sun et al. 2018; Yue et al. 2018). Of particular concern, for human impacts are the low altitude areas in which the local Tibetan communities who inhabit the park have been resettled to. These communities used to inhabit higher altitude areas of the park in a dispersed settlement pattern, however, their settlements have been relocated to lower altitude areas immediately along the tourist route which are vulnerable to debris flow and landslides (Chen et al. 2018). Both Heye and Zharu villages remain at risk because of their positions close to debris flow fans with Heye located downhill of a giant slow moving earthflow/slump feature. Increased rainfall may increase these hazards even independent of earthquakes (IUCN Consultation, 2020), as evidenced by the rapid failure of the road built to Panya village at the very top of that valley. The relocation of residents to new locations may be increasing their vulnerability to geological hazards. Debris flow dams were set up at Heye village prior to the earthquake and some hazard mitigation structures were set up at Zharu, however, both can be made vulnerable again by heavy rainstorms. Risks are also high to scenic areas near both locations (Chen et al. 2018).
 
Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge systems that result in negative impact
(Loss of traditional culture)
High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Local residents are Amdo Tibetan, previously living in nine villages but now reduced to four through resettlement and/or relocated to other villages. Land in subsistence agriculture has been converted to forest starting in 2001 (Du et al. 2018). Archaeological research demonstrates at a site inside the park, however, that humans have inhabited this landscape for at least the past 4000 years (Henck et al. 2010, Trac et al. 2013, d’Alpoim Guedes et al. 2015, Lu et al. 2010; Harrell et al. 2016). Several authors have contended that these landscape features are both culturally and ecological relevant as they support culturally and ecologically important plant, bird, and animal species (Winkler 1997, Urgenson et al. 2014, Harrell et al. 2016). For example in Zharu valley, the current landscape is losing its patchiness and therefore much of its biodiversity. The indigenous people in the reserve lament the loss of aesthetics and memory as well as the culturally important plants and animals (Harrell et al. 2016). Loss of cultural traditions and practices has occurred through the establishment of a tourist-service culture. The population is composed of about 1,300 villagers today, serving mainly as tourist merchandise sellers, guides, craftsmen and entertainers. the  local community suffers from some inequality in the distribution of economic benefits (IUCN 1992; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003; Hendricksen 2009; Yang 2011; IUCN Consultation 2017). The recent 2017 earthquake demonstrated the fragility of the current model of making local inhabitants entirely reliant on tourism. The park was closed for two years after the earthquake resulting in joblessness for over 18,000 residents when accounting for the wider area also (Du et al. 2018). Their relocation is also making them more vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes and landslides (Chen et al. 2018). 
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Excessive tourism development with rapidly increasing numbers of visitors.)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
There has been a dramatic increase in the annual number of tourist visitors from 170,000 in 1991 (just prior to inscription of the property) to 5 million in 2015 (last available figures), with growth accelerating from 1998. Expansion of hotels occurred inside the park until 2001 when all were closed and removed outside. More than 100 hotels plus other guest houses were clustered around the property entrances and are visually intrusive. Many of these have been rebuilt and torn down following the earthquake and a new more visually appealing tourist center is being built. However, rapid expansion of new hotels is taking place in neighbouring towns with potential impacts on biodiversity (Liu et al. 2018). The park was closed following the earthquake between 2017 and has reopened in a controlled fashion in 2019 to limited numbers of tourists, however shut its doors again during the Covid-19 crisis. Some 80% of tourists come in the festival and holiday periods of Spring Festival, which occurs at some point between January and March, summer holidays June-September, and Golden Week in October, causing overcrowding at times. Visitor numbers were capped at 41,000 per day from 2013 (increased from 12,000 from 2001). On many days the numbers of visitors entering the site exceeded 20,000 persons. These high numbers of tourism also place high demands on the limited park staff, who lack sufficient man power to carry out other important research and operations when high numbers of tourists are present. Private vehicles were banned and replaced in 1999 by low-polluting buses with guides. The low-polluting buses do require regular maintenance however. Damage to trails and pollution of waterways were reduced by construction of boardwalks and introduction of improved waste management systems, respectively. On-going tourism development remains the greatest management challenge for the property (UNEP/WCMC, 2011; WHC/IUCN, 1998; SP China, 2003; Li, 2005(a),2005(b); Hendricksen, 2009; Gu et al., 2013). The increased numbers of tourists are damaging the waterways through changes in water chemistry, which is impacting tufa growth, despite the presence of boardwalks, and emissions from cars might be responsible for a major part of this (Du et al. 2018). The park needs to reduce the number of tourists to preserve the landscape. However this is difficult as Du et al. 2018 note that funds raised from the admission fees in 2015 alone accounted for 26% of the fiscal revenue of Aba Prefecture and the tourist industry accounts for 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Jiuzhaigou County and the service industry composes 33% over the past 5 years (Du et al. 2018). Some balance that includes greater autonomy allowing return to traditional livelihoods will be necessary to balance the economic impact of reducing tourism in the area.  
Low Threat
Environmental response to atmospheric warming is a major potential threat to the natural values of the property. High magnitude events such as the 2008 Wenchuan 8.0 scale earthquake cannot be managed for, and a landscape approach to planning village, route and infrastructure needs to be taken, with ecological disaster risk reduction best practice (IUCN Consultation 2017).
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration
(Climate change)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Atmospheric warming will impact higher altitudes in particular through reduction in snow and ice cover and there will likely be an altitudinal shift of vegetation zones affecting ecosystems and wildlife habitats (Bossard et al., 2015).
Earthquakes/ Tsunamis
(Earthquakes)
High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Jiuzhaigou lies on a large fault zone, the Minshan fault. The May 12th, 2008 earthquake only slightly damaged the site, but the August 8, 2017 earthquake did cause significant damage to the infrastructure and substantial changes to the natural resources. Earthquakes will continue to be a concern.
Overall, the threat level is high. The recent high-magnitude natural event, 2017 Jiuzhaigou 7.0 scale earthquake, has impacted the values of this property. However, a comprehensive assessment of all impacts will require additional time. If such unpredictable natural events are excluded, the greatest and ongoing threats are from rapid growth of tourist infrastructure consequent upon burgeoning visitor numbers. Management intervention has alleviated the threat level somewhat but concerns remain about the capacity of the authorities to completely avoid the undesirable impacts of mass tourism. This has a complicated impact on traditional livelihoods and economic security in the region, however, it seems that allowing residents to carry out some traditional farming and pastoralism is important for economic diversification and the maintenance of biodiversity. Specific threats from water and air pollution (mostly due to high numbers of tourists), and hazards from natural high-magnitude events, especially landslides, have been somewhat reduced by improved technologies and management practices. Environmental response to atmospheric warming is a major potential threat to the natural values of the property. High magnitude events such as the 2008 8.0 scale and 2017 7.0 earthquakes cannot be managed for, and a landscape approach to planning village, route and infrastructure needs to be taken, with ecological disaster risk reduction best practice.
Management system
Mostly Effective
There is a comprehensive administrative and planning framework, but the management plan is due for revision (SP China 2003; UNEP/WCMC 2011).
Effectiveness of management system
Some Concern
Management of natural resources and environment has advanced considerably since inscription of the property. Some inadequacies in staffing and funding raise concerns about the capability of the authorities to contain the growing numbers of visitors and increasing tourist infrastructure development (SP China 2003; UNEP/WCMC 2011).
Boundaries
Some Concern
Little consideration has been given to assessing the adequacy of the boundaries of the property or the buffer zone under changing circumstances. The regional Minshan landscape which includes also Wanglang and the Nanping Golden Monkey reserve also require consideration. (UNESCO 1992, 1996.1998; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003). Up until 2017, there was rapid growth in hotels taking place outside of the boundaries of the park.
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Highly Effective
The Government of China is working extensively to integrate national parks and protected areas into its National Biodiversity, Climate and Land planning systems. Jiuzhaigou remains a high profile model for other protected areas in China to learn from and study at.
Relationships with local people
Some Concern
Generally, the interaction with the local community has been good, with opportunities provided for employment and for management partnerships. However, there needs to be a more proactive scheme for environmental leadership put in place whereby jobs in ecology, environmental management and more educated positions are made available to local people in addition to the maintenance and patrolling and tourism management activities. The cessation of subsistence agricultural land use and resettlement schemes have been controversial and problematic, and there is evidence of inequalities in the sharing of financial benefits with local people. (IUCN 1992; SP China 2003; Hendricksen 2009; Yang 2011). The 2017 earthquake made this apparent and 18,000 local residents who now increasingly rely on tourism as a stream of revenue, were left jobless (Du et al. 2018). It has been suggested that a return to some traditional forms of landscape management including farming and pastoralism in order to allow diversification of economic streams, but also to present biodiversity in the park (Winkler 1997, Urgenson et al. 2014, Harrell et al. 2016). Resettlement has also been controversial with many local residents mourning the loss of their traditional livelihoods. Regular and more effective communication between local authorities and local residents on environmental policies is needed to could reduce mistrust and misunderstanding as identified in the past (Gao et al., 2015).
Legal framework
Mostly Effective
The legal framework is strong, but management authorities lack the capacity to fully enforce laws and regulations (MOC 1991; IUCN 1992; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003; World Heritage Committee, 2012).
Law enforcement
Mostly Effective
Private vehicles were banned and replaced in 1999 by low-polluting buses with guides. The low-polluting buses do require regular maintenance however. Damage to trails and pollution of waterways were reduced by construction of boardwalks and introduction of improved waste management systems, respectively. Modern information technology, such as GPS, GIS, RFID, are integrated into a platform to support enhanced tourist services and communication, crowd management, and emergency responses during natural disasters (Wu et al., 2017). The 2017 7.0 scale earthquake has made significant changes in the natural landscape and damaged the tourist infrastructure. Rebuilding efforts are underway and they should be evaluated in the future to ensure that the new tourist infrastructure and new patterns of tourist use do not compromise the WH values.
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Some Concern
There has been a mixed response to WH Committee recommendations. Stronger safeguards against human impact include: halting of logging; replanting of forests and land rehabilitation; conversion of cultivated lands to forests; resettlement of local population and reduction in housing areas; removal of hotels; reduction of air and water pollution, and better monitoring for managing environmental impacts. Improved visitor handling systems, have been introduced and there has been good progress in reducing the impacts of tourism infrastructure and services. There are improved inventories of flora and fauna but a species conservation report has not yet been prepared and no consideration has been given to inscribing the property on biodiversity criteria.
There has been little progress in controlling tourism and urbanization in the buffer zone, or extending the property boundaries. There needs to be more consideration given to the role that the World Heritage site plays in the broader Minshan conservation landscape of which Jiuzhaigou is just a 20% component. (UNESCO 1992, 1996, 1998; IUCN 1992; WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003).
Sustainable use
Mostly Effective
Land use is now limited to tourism, and no sustainable extraction is practiced. Although there is anecdotal evidence of some grazing and arable agriculture practices in the fringes of the site (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Some consideration has previously been given to ecotourism in Zharu Valley, however it is unclear to what extent these were ever developed upon (IUCN Consulation, 2020).
Sustainable finance
Some Concern
Income generation from tourism in particular has been impressive, with the total tourism revenue at 9 billion yuan (1.35 billion US dollars) in 2016 prior to the earthquake (CGTN, 2018), and the introduction of shared ventures with the local community is a positive move, though concerns have been expressed about an uneven sharing of revenues. There are reports that sustainable funding levels remain inadequate, although the key issue is not funding, but reallocation of funding from local tourism revenue, and from gate receipts to park management and conservation science. (SP China 2003; Li 2005(a); Hendricksen 2009; Yang 2011). This system is however fragile to natural disasters such as earthquakes because of heavy reliance on tourism and some form of economic diversification is necessary.
Staff capacity, training, and development
Some Concern
Training programs exist but more professional training is required. In particular a more professional training in ecology, visitor impact, resource protection, environmental education and training, climate change and disaster risk reduction is required. (WHC/IUCN 1998; SP China 2003; IUCN Consultation, 2014).
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
Active programs exist, with guides on each of the tour buses within the park. The visitor centre is underutilized, and there are no curriculum led programmes to include local schools, local communities, or visitors coming on tours (IUCN Consultation, 2014).
Tourism and visitation management
Some Concern
Tourism management is the greatest challenge facing the administering authorities. Private vehicles were banned and replaced in 1999 by low-polluting buses with guides. The low-polluting buses do require regular maintenance however. Damage to trails and pollution of waterways were reduced by construction of boardwalks and introduction of improved waste management systems, respectively. Modern information technology, such as GPS, GIS, RFID, are integrated into a platform to support enhanced tourist services and communication, crowd management, and emergency responses during natural disasters (Wu et al., 2017). The 2017 7.0 scale earthquake has made significant changes in the natural landscape and damaged the tourist infrastructure. Rebuilding efforts are underway and they should be evaluated in the future to ensure that the new tourist infrastructure and new patterns of tourist use do not compromise the WH values.
Monitoring
Highly Effective
There is a comprehensive program for monitoring of water resources, biodiversity, forest pests and diseases, weather, climate and visitor use, among others (SP China 2003; World Heritage Committee, 2012).
Research
Highly Effective
There is an active research program, good working relationships with research providers and effort is made to apply research results to management. Although a good early start has been made, more serious efforts need to be made to apply science and monitoring to management practices. (SP China 2003; Hinckley et al. 2005). Park staff need to be unburdened from the large influx of visitors so that they can focus on these endeavors. 
Overall, the management of the property can be rated as mostly effective. In the two decades since World Heritage inscription of the site there have been major advances, particularly with respect to visitor and tourism management, pollution abatement, rehabilitation of damaged areas, control of extreme natural events, environmental monitoring and research. Some concerns remain regarding the capacity of the authorities to be fully effective in enforcing protection legislation and regulations. Of particular concern is the on-going pressure on the carrying capacity of the property and emergence of environmental and social impacts accompanying the growth of mass tourism. There is a need to extend the current training programs and enlist more well-qualified staff and for these staff to be able to focus on these efforts rather than solely managing large numbers of tourists. More effort is also required to assess the biota and wildlife habitats of the property, and to implement policies and programs to mitigate detrimental effects of human pressures while allowing greater recognition of the outstanding biodiversity values. Additionally, consideration should be given to ways of improving conservation management in the buffer zone and extending the boundaries, as well as regional landscape approach taken to conservation in the broader contiguous region (the Minshan Landscape). The 2017 7.0 scale earthquake has made significant changes in the natural landscape and damaged the tourist infrastructure. Management responses to this disaster should be evaluated in the future to ensure that the rebuilding efforts support, and not compromise, the WH values. The earthquake and subsequent reduction in tourism revenue has sharpened the need for economic diversification amongst the traditional residents of the park, with farming and pastoralism carrying strong potential to fulfill this niche, which may also play a critical role in the maintenance of patchiness and biodiversity within the park.
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Some Concern
Management appears largely ineffectual in its capacity to address threats from outside the property. This is a governance issue, since the county government is responsible for the area outside the main World Heritage property, and the forestry administration and the construction administration are responsible for the site itself. Some intervention to reduce threats inside the property, such as resettlement of residents, construction of a municipal waste treatment plant, large parking and shuttle systems and shifting hotels, has in fact undoubtedly accentuated the threats of growing urbanization within the buffer zone and beyond. 
Best practice examples
Twinning of the property with others in Europe, the USA and elsewhere has been beneficial with staff exchanges, study tours and bilateral ongoing remote exchange and sharing of lessons has been useful in studying current practices in the park, ecological impacts and understanding the history of the parks occupation. 
World Heritage values

Landscape of outstanding natural beauty

Low Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
The current state of the outstanding natural values and attributes of the property is satisfactory, though not entirely so, despite better management intervention. Past problems including unchecked tourism infrastructure development and urbanization, leading to clearing of land, destruction of natural vegetation and habitats and environmental pollution, have been overcome to a large extent through hotel relocation, modern visitor handling methods, improved waste management and treatment technologies, upgrading of roads and the hardening of key sites with boardwalks. The tradeoff between reforestation efforts, conservation of traditionally patchy landscapes, and natural vistas for tourists should be carefully managed. There is also a need for increased staff capacity building and a better assessment of the biodiversity values of the property, to further advance the protection programs and to mitigate undesirable impacts. The 2017 7.0 scale earthquake has significantly impacted the natural landscape, yet the infrastructure inside the park and natural features have recovered well. However, a comprehensive assessment of specific impacts will require more time. The resettlement of traditional inhabitants of the park has been controversial with potential impacts on biodiversity and on economic sustainability.
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
Low Concern
Trend
Data Deficient
Protection of some natural areas and resources has been compromised in the past especially by rapid and excessive tourism infrastructure development and by visitor overcrowding in excess of the environmental and social carrying capacity. Today, as a result of careful management intervention and improved technologies most key sites have been hardened through the establishment of paved roads and boardwalks, and pollution of water and air has been reduced. Further efforts are required in staff capacity building and in the assessment of the biodiversity values of the property, to further advance the protection programs and to mitigate undesirable impacts. However, the recent 7.0 earthquake has caused significant changes in the natural landscape and its specific impacts will require a comprehensive evaluation.
Assessment of the current state and trend of other important biodiversity values
Data Deficient
Trend
Data Deficient
Biodiversity of the property is better understood and valued than previously, but there remains a need for further assessment of the values and their condition. However, recent studies found that resettlement of traditional inhabitants is having an impact on the biodiversity of the area (Harrell et al. 2016, Urgenson et al. 2014).

Additional information

Outdoor recreation and tourism
A very substantial increase in the per capita income has accompanied the dramatic growth of tourism. However, the significant improvement in the livelihood of local residents from employment and cash income is offset by the loss of traditional cultural values and lifestyles based on farming and pastoralism. The heavy reliance on tourism resulted in 18,000 jobless residents following the 2017 earthquake. It is thus crucial that developments takes place in a fashion that does not replace traditional livelihoods.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Overexploitation
Impact level - High
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - High
Trend - Increasing
Direct employment
Development of the tourism industry has transformed the local economy and the livelihoods of the local people, several hundred of whom are employed either permanently or temporarily on the staff of the property. Many more benefit from running guest houses, shops, souvenir and food stalls and from selling traditional handicrafts.
Development of the tourism industry has transformed the local economy and the livelihoods of the local people, several hundred of whom are employed either permanently or temporarily on the staff of the property. Many more benefit from running guest houses, shops, souvenir and food stalls and from selling traditional handicrafts. The local communities has also benefitted from the development of infrastructure in the area including roads and the provision of utilities such as enhanced electricification and water and sewage services. Much greater conservation awareness and empowerment among the local population are also very positive outcomes of the World Heritage status of the property. Environmental benefits are substantial and include reduction in pollution levels in air and water, rehabilitation of degraded land, and enhanced protection of wildlife habitats. Sustainable uses of low-polluting energy have replaced a former reliance on non-renewable highly polluting resources. Local young people need to be more encouraged to engage in conservation leadership, science and ecological studies and work, in order to be better qualified to work in the park administration beyond just tourism services. Regular and more effective communication between local authorities and local residents on environmental policies is needed to reduce misunderstanding of the benefits of such policies (Gao et al., 2015).
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 State Forestry Administration Panda Research Programme
2 Park Authorities Ecotourism Development in Zharu Valley

References

References
1
BirdLife International. (2013). Factsheet No. CN185, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. [online] Available at: birdlife.org
2
Bossard, C. C., Cao, Y., Wang, J., Rose, A., & Tang, Y. (2015). New patterns of establishment and growth of Picea, Abies and Betula tree species in subalpine forest gaps of Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, southwestern China in a changing environment. Forest Ecology and Management 356: 84-92.
3
CGTN. (2018). Jiuzhaigou National Park regains beauty after post-quake reconstruction. [online] Available at: https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d674e7a63444e30457a6333566d54… (Accessed 3 September 2020). 
4
Chen, X.Q., Chen, J.G., Cui, P., You, Y., Hu, K.H., Yang, Z.J., Zhang, W.F., Li, X.P. and Wu, Y. (2018). Assessment of prospective hazards resulting from the 2017 earthquake at the world heritage site Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan, China. Journal of Mountain Science, 15(4), pp.779-792.
5
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6
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