Xinjiang Tianshan comprises four components—Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda— that total 606,833 hectares. They are part of the Tianshan mountain system of Central Asia, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world. Xinjiang Tianshan presents unique physical geographic features and scenically beautiful areas including spectacular snow and snowy mountains glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons. These landscapes contrast with the vast adjacent desert landscapes, creating a striking visual contrast between hot and cold environments, dry and wet, desolate and luxuriant. The landforms and ecosystems of the site have been preserved since the Pliocene epoch and present an outstanding example of ongoing biological and ecological evolutionary processes. The site also extends into the Taklimakan Desert, one of the world’s largest and highest deserts, known for its large dune forms and great dust storms. Xinjiang Tianshan is moreover an important habitat for endemic and relic flora species, some rare and endangered.
2020 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
An outstanding scenic area comprising part of the largest mountain chain in the world’s temperate arid region
Outstanding example of biological evolution in an arid continental climate, with relict, rare, endangered and endemic species
There is a need to conduct a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment in each component in order to assess the impact of mass tourism development on the Outstanding Universal Values and integrity of the Xinjiang Tianshan World Heritage site. More could also be done to understand tourism and its socio-economic impacts at regional level (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Tourism is currently confined to a limited area, but its rapid growth is of some concern.
A special chapter on property-wide monitoring should be integrated in the new management plan. More information about socio-economic changes and how these might affect the site should also be collected and processed (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
The property has been extensively researched by national and international scientists (IUCN, 2013).
Dayer, A. (2019). ‘La solitude à l'heure de pointe’. [online] 18 August, Le Matin Dimanche. Available at: https://imglade.com/media/2114681199654263054 [Accessed: 27 May 2020].
IUCN Consultaiton. (2017). IUCN Confidential Stakeholder Consultation- Xinjiang Tienshan, China.
IUCN Consultaiton. (2020). IUCN Confidential Stakeholder Consultation- Xinjiang Tienshan, China.
IUCN. (2013). World Heritage Nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation, Xinjiang Tianshan (China). In: IUCN World Heritage Evaluations 2013, IUCN Evaluations of nominations of natural and mixed properties to the World Heritage List. [online] Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1414/documents/[Accessed 26 November 2020].
State Party of China. (2012). Nomination of Xinjiang Tianshan as a World Heritage Site. Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China.
World Heritage Committee. (2013). Decision 37COM.8B.10 Xinjiang Tianshan (China). In: Report of decisions of the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee. [online] Paris, France: UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1414/documents/ [Accessed 26 November 2020].