Qinghai Hoh Xil
Qinghai Hoh Xil, located in the northeastern extremity of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is the largest and highest plateau in the world. This extensive area of alpine mountains and steppe systems is situated more than 4,500 m above sea level, where sub-zero average temperatures prevail all year-round. The site’s geographical and climatic conditions have nurtured a unique biodiversity. More than one third of the plant species, and all the herbivorous mammals are endemic to the plateau. The property secures the complete migratory route of the Tibetan antelope, one of the endangered large mammals that are endemic to the plateau. © UNESCO
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
Click the + and - signs to expand or collapse full accounts of information under each topic. You can also view the entire list of information by clicking Expand all on the top left.
Description of values
Exceptional natural beauty
Exceptional level of endemism and significant habitat for in situ conservation
It is an example of an ongoing biological and ecological evolution process in a temperate arid zone.
Due to the pattern of two deserts flanking one mountain, the location deep in Asia’s hinterland and the arid continental climate, which is unique among the world’s mountain ecosystems, the landforms, ecosystems, habitats and landscapes have not undergone any major changes since the Pliocene epoch (5 Ma).
The traffic on the highway is growing due to the major development occurring in the Tibet province. At the same time, the populations of antelopes and other animals are growing in the property due to better conservation measures. This could potentially create conflict in future if relevant management responses are not put in place.
During the process of inscription, IUCN sought information from the State Party about the status and future plans for the road. The State Party confirmed that there is no committed plan for road upgrading at the present time. It would be essential that, should the State Party take action to upgrade the road (including the options to reduce its impact on migration, such as underpasses), that such a project should be subject to a very thorough and careful assessment, involving leading expertise. In the meantime, two clearly essential requirements are to maintain the current and apparently effective management of the road, and to continuously monitor its effectiveness. It is also important to improve the level of monitoring of the impacts of the road on wildlife, including tracking details of roadkill, in order to also consider if impacts on species other than the Tibetan antelope require enhanced protection measures (IUCN, 2017).
Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve. Sheep and cattle compete with wildlife for food and heavy grazing can cause degradation of the grassland ecosystem. The government has an effective policy for reducing animal husbandry, offering incentives and compensation to the relevant households to cease grazing the land. The IUCN mission understood that grazing intensity has fallen substantially in the last years, and thus it is recommended that this present policy is continued. However, it is important to note, as discussed above, that a distinction should be made regarding the support for long-standing traditional grazing at intensities that can be supported by the natural ecosystem, in order to respect and protect legitimate traditional use and the rights associated with it (IUCN, 2017).
birds. The change of landscape also resulted in changes to the movement patterns of ungulates and
migratory birds. Practical management responses are difficult to put in place in relation to these trends, as the situation requires first to be understood, and the underlying knowledge and science base is still rapidly evolving. At the present time, it is firstly essential to put in place a strengthened and coordinated programme of monitoring of the effects of climate change, and to consider the options for management responses. Considering the large scale of the property, there is a significant opportunity to provide information about change, and lessons regarding response, that would be of international interest (IUCN, 2017).
Power supply lines are a potential threat to birds. The authorities in charge of the national grid have taken measures to assess threats and provide measures to discourage bird strikes, but there is a need for both monitoring and reporting on their effectiveness. It is also important to note that some bird species may settle in the property as the environment evolves, requiring different measures to be considered (IUCN, 2017).
There are a number of means by which management could be strengthened, and deserve attention. A number of these matters were raised and responded to in the request for supplementary information made by IUCN to the State Party, including an extensive discussion on monitoring plans. There appears to be a need to strengthen and focus monitoring efforts and it would be beneficial to institute an ongoing means to track management effectiveness, using methods developed by IUCN through the World Commission on Protected Areas, and ensure systematic feedback into improvements in property management. It would also be desirable to strengthen the participation of the local herding community within management activities, noting there is already some notable engagement. Whilst the good cooperation between the two reserves and the neighbouring reserves to the west is noted, this should be strengthened and institutionalised at a higher level (IUCN, 2017).
nomination, the management authorities of both Nature Reserves have been set up with relevant
structures and staffing. After the nomination, the Conservation Regulation of the Hoh Xil Natural Heritage Area in Qinghai Province was adopted by the Standing Committee of Qinghai Provincial People’s Congress, valid from October 2016. The Conservation Regulation regulates planning, protection, management and utilisation activities within the territory of the property and its buffer zone. According to this regulation an administrative authority for the property will be set up under the Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of Qinghai Province to assume protection and management responsibility for the property. As noted above, two other national level Nature Reserves, Chang Tang and Altun Mountain Nature Reserve, provide further buffering functions, although are not included as a formal World Heritage buffer zone. The Kunlun Mountains provide a natural barrier to the north of the property (IUCN, 2017).
IUCN. (2017). World Heritage Nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation, Qinghai Hoh Xil (China). In: IUCN World Heritage Evaluations 2017, IUCN Evaluations of nominations of natural and mixed properties to the World Heritage List. WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B2. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. [Online] Available at:
http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2017/whc17-41com-inf8B2-en.pdf (Accessed on 16 July 2019).
|2||State Party of China. (2016). Nomination of Qinghai Hoh Xil as a World Heritage Site. [Online] Beijing, China: The ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. Available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1540/documents/ (Accessed on 16 July 2019).|