The World Heritage Centre and IUCN support the mission’s recommendations as Rongjin would provide an important link between the Qionglai and Liang mountain ranges, thereby connecting the panda populations from these two sites and supporting the longer term conservation strategy for the species. Rongjin Nature Reserve already has a management plan and structure in place and could be easily integrated.
d) Progressively increase the level of staffing and resources within all reserves within the property, with the aim of ensuring that the level of staffing and management in all areas of the property is equivalent to that within the Wolong Nature Reserve within a ten year period;
There is highly variable ability to support and undertake biodiversity monitoring programmes in the various management units of the property. Capacity in national forest reserves is higher than in scenic area properties within the site. The National reserves under the auspices of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) are benefiting from the national level efforts on standardizing and regularizing giant panda monitoring and capacity training and ongoing support in these reserves is demonstrated by the more complete monitoring and records available here. Invitations for training for staff within forest reserves are not extended to staff under the auspices of SFA. Therefore, in the scenic area sites within the property, capacity is not strong and the mission recommended that it be raised to the level of the SFA reserves to ensure effective and integrated management of the property.
In relation to the existing and proposed dams, ensure that: (i) the impact of the dam at Yaoji, and the associated relocation of people, on the values of the property be closely monitored; (ii) effective mitigation measures are applied at Yaoji to minimize the impacts associated with dam construction, the impoundment and the relocation of the village; with priority to implementing measures to encourage the establishment of panda habitat; and
no additional dams are built within the property.
The Yaoji dam site was built within the buffer zone located in the middle of the property and with resulting significant ecological impacts immediately around the dam site. However, the mission did not observe any obvious changes to habitat within the property boundaries. The Yaoji dam site has altered the flows of the river and the company running the dam, Huaneng, has guaranteed a minimum flow of 30% to ensure adequate flow for downstream ecosystems. However, it may also be necessary to ensure seasonal fluctuation in flow levels in order to support biodiversity downstream of any dams, some of which may need variation to support life cycles.
While Huaneng has stated its intention to undertake adequate biodiversity monitoring, the mission noted that limited work has been done to date on this. Both the dam site and the property include habitat for some of China’s endemic species. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that SWHMC should urgently ensure that Huaneng, working with suitable partners, undertake biodiversity monitoring with follow up actions to ensure that local species, especially endemic species, and the integrity of the ecosystem that supports them, are not threatened by the dam. In particular, Huaneng, should work with local organizations having experience in biodiversity monitoring in this area to identify indicator species and develop and implement an appropriate monitoring programme.
The mission also noted that household incomes have increased as a result of the dam, which has led to increased holdings of yak on high alpine grasslands. The mission recommends that the yak management committee should set clear targets with respect to yak on the alpine grasslands. In addition, an impact monitoring programme is needed for the high alpine grasslands to ensure that increasing numbers of yak are not adversely affecting native biodiversity.
The mission team was informed that there are no plans for any additional dams to be built within the property, beyond the reconstruction of pre-existing dams damaged by the earthquake.
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 18