Green List

Mount Huangshan Scenic Area


First Listed



Why is it Green Listed

Known as “the loveliest mountain of China”, Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, and views of the clouds from above.

Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserve.


“IUCN Green List provides UNESCO MIDAs a new effective tool for comanagement.”

WU Wenda, Deputy Director of Huangshan Geopark Administrative Committee

Key Achievements


  • The concept of green development has promote value protection and suatainable development. Although tourist number is increasing, the forest coverage rate of Huangshan also increased from 56% in 1970s to 98.29% in 2019.
  • As Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserve, our understanding of biodiversity is improved. Systematic protection of mounatin, water, forest and lake is enhanced. They are considered as a entire living community in China.
  • The concept of equitable governance and indicators of Green List are applied for integrated management of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserve.

Good governance:

  • Mature legal system. Regulations of Huangshan Scenic Area and Master Plan are approved by higher government with law effect. Under this two, other detailed special plans are also compiled. Plans should be reviewed by our committee, local, regional and provincial government.
  • Strong resources support. Our Committee structure is advanced and mature with 935 employees, including 115 female managers. There are another two companies responsible for tourism and marketing with more than 4000 employs. Protection fees are mainly from tickets and government fund. All the information above can be found on Huangshan official website.
  • Capable of dealing with risk and emergency. There are specific departments and technicians for dealing with natural harzard, forest fire, pandemic and tourist safety.

Community benefits

  • The sharing concept has promote harmonious development between PA and community. There are 150,000 people of surrounding communities participated in Heritage protection, tourist survices and product selling. And compansation for communities are around 3million every year.
  • Agreements with community governments are made, which refers to decision making, co-work mechanism for plan making and implement, environment education and compensation etc.More income for not only adjacent towns but also the entire Huangshan City because of the good reputation of Huangshan all over China. Huangshan contributes nearly quarter of the city income. In 2019, Huangshan scenic area has over 3 million visitors, over 3 billion RMB income and 0.4 billion tax.
  • Local students and youth have deeper understaning of PA than previous generation. Different forms of education activities hare held. They are proud of their hometown.

Site Attributes



Biosphere Reserve & World Heritage Site & UNESCO Global Geopark

IUCN Category

Year Established

Marine Protected Area

Governance Type
Sub-national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Mt.Huangshan Scenic Area Administrative Committee

Site Manager
Wu Wenda

EAGL Evaluation

GL Committee Submission

EAGL Chair
Keping Ma

ASI Reviewer
Wenwei Xia , Matthew Durnin

Site Summary

Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area was established in 1982 as China National Scenic Area, located in Huangshan City, Anhui Province,South China. Later, Huangshan became UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, Global Geopark in 2004 and Biosphere Reserve in 2018.

Huangshan,known as“the loveliest mountain of China”, is characterized by granite peak forest landform, and well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly shaped rocks, Huangshan Pines, and sea of clouds. There are more than 1800 higher plants and over 300 vertebrates in Huangshan. Huangshan is also a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. For the majestic scenery, Huangshan together with Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Great Wall are already a symbol of China.

Huangshan was added to the IUCN Green List in 2014 during the pilot phase of the Green List. Since 1970s for decades, Huangshan is managed by the same growing organization. We have enough support of finance, human resources, policy and government. Huangshan have been enjoying a good reputation in China for both the scenery, protection and management.

Granite landscape feature - Geological values: rangers responsible for monitoring, to check risk and any interruption of landscape.
Geological values: Basic information collection is completed. No safety risk for visitors. No human damage.
Geological values are well conserved. Data base is build with information of coordinates, protection level, features, sort etc.. Researches are made with top universities in China to discover links among geology, biology and culture elements in Huangshan. Risk spots have got protection equipment like nets, or been designed out of visitors accessible area.
Human impact on rocks and macro landscape is very limited because of the features of granite. Basic measurements are taken to protect human from any natural hazard. Data base is built for all geoheritage sites. Further researches are done or undertaken.
Biodiversity: Observation posts and thermal infrared cameras are set all over the scenic area. The most important Guest Welcoming Pine has always a specific person to record its condition 24hours, 7days a week. For other famous ancient trees, each one has its own archive.
Through continuous monitoring and scientific research, the basic information of biological resources should be mastered as much as possible. Minimize human impacts on plant and animal species, populations, communities and ecosystems.
Biodiversity: Most animals are active only in none visitor area, not interrupted. Squirrel and monkey are possibly been seen by visitors. New species are found recent years, like Anhui musk shrew (crociduraanhuiensis) etc. Biological agents dealing with Bursaphelenchus xylophilus are developed. The 1300+ years old Guest Greeting Pine is still alive.
Researches are continuously carried out to collect information and to discover something new. There is no forest fire for 34 consecutive years. Vegetation and forest coverage increased every year. Researches for both animals and plants are taken. Species population remains stable.
Tourism: Huangshan is one of the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories since 2008. Through indicators like tourists satisfaction, tourism impacts on community etc. to explore the possibility of more income and less negative impact in heritage site.
Considering WTO indicators, Huangshan Master plan and development reality. A sets of check list, indicators, standards for monitoring objects are made.
Generally tourism income is increasing. Over 3 million visitors, over 3 billion RMB income and 0.4 billion tax in 2019. Tourism development is welcomed by local residents. There are Hundreds of restaurants, hotels, home stays in surrounding towns. Over 70% residents think tourism has promote their environmental awareness”
A sustainable tourism report is published. The content includes monitoring method, governance structure, tourist impact on resource, environment, economy, community, special researches etc.
Education is a very important evaluation indicator of UNESCO Global Geopark and World Heritage Site. Our Geopark museum mainly responsible for education activities in and out of Huangshan.
Special department and staff for eductaion, partnership with schools and universities.
Now we have some regular education activities, publications for different populations in Huangshan and other mid-top cities in China. We have our own volunteer team to spread knowledge all over the country.
In 2018, a total of more than 170,000 students for tour study were received by Huangshan. Education training camps were held jointly with social educational institutions. Different kinds of publications are made.
Ancient buildings: Investigations are done to collect information of all ancient buildings in Mt. Huangshan. Rangers, relic professional staff and partner universities check them regularly. Any updates will be included into our heritage monitoring system.
Ancient buildings: 95% of ancient buildings are well protected or renovated, improved and not interrupted.
Ancient buildings: Most of them are temples, pavilions, bridges and gravestone. Almost all of them are restored or cleaned to make it safe and fresh. Some big pavilions and temples are used as memorial museums. Some are still functioned as rest places on the hiking routes. They are also an important part of scenery.
They are all recorded and in good condition. Restoration are taken. Some of those buildings are still in use, some are less used. Researches are undertaken to dig more cultural, historical and educational values.
Rock carvings: Investigations are done to record all the ancient rock carvings in Mt. Huangshan. Rangers, relic professional staff and partner universities check them regularly. Any updates will be included into our heritage monitoring system.
Rock carvings: 95% of rock carvings are well protected.
Rock carvings: holistic investigation and restoration are done. All important carvings are recorded and in good condition. Lots of them can be seen when people’s on their visit routes. They are used to tell the history and story here.
They are all in good condition. Rock carving can be hardly destroyed because of the location and hard rock. Besides, we have rangers to monitor them and guide visitor behaviour. Restoration and researches are taken to discover more cultural value.

Conservation Summary

EAGL summary statement:

Mt. Huangshan has a clearly defined governance structure that conforms to national and regional government regulations. Its Management Committee currently has 935 employees, including 115 female managers. It has another two companies with more than 4000 employs. There are more than 70 laws and regulations related to the management of the site.

Mt.Huangshan’s master plan was compiled and completed by Urban Planning and Design Institute of Beijing Tsinghua University. In addition, various methods have been formulated to implement the plan and guide specific work, such as the River Chief system, the Forest Chief system work plan, forest plant quarantine inspection management methods, and the management method of prohibiting motorbikes in the south gate of the site.

Mt.Huangshan main protection objectives are the landscape resources based on geomorphology which has been well conserved. Also, according to national policies, all forestry areas in the site are national key public welfare forests, and the strictest protection measures are implemented. Huangshan has done a lot of prevention and control of forestry pests (mainly pine wood nematode disease) and forest fire. Huangshan is also actively improving the conservation of biodiversity. The “Huangshan Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilization” (Huangshan GEF Project) is being carried out.

Mt.Huangshan is an important tourist attraction. It has a daily flow control of 50,000 people. And during the outbreak of COVID-19, a timely and strict control measure was taken to control the flow of 15,000 people. And strengthen the disinfection of public places.

In 30 years the site has experienced a very positive evolution in terms landscape conservation, tourist management and local community’s alternative livelihoods development. It has a long-term good brand effect. It has signed a global geopark brand sharing mechanism, joined the Scenic Spots Association, the Geological Society of China, the Geographical Society, etc., joined these associations, and actively participated in training and Exchange, dedicated to protecting human and natural heritage, promoting community development and sharing experience. And established a prestigious school forum with universities and established a scientific research practice base.

Following the review of the nomination of the site, the members of the EAGL welcomed the remarkable efforts of the team of managers for the conservation of values of the site and underlined the quality and the completeness of the file. All indicators are achieved or exceeded. On the basis of these elements, the EAGL reach a consensus in favor of the inscription of Huangshan on the protected area green list.

Reviewer statement:

The Reviewer validates Huangshan’s Green Listing process as being in conformity with the User Manual’s rules and procedures. The Reviewer approved the waiving of the site visit given the current COVID-19 situation with the following conditions : a site visit will be organised as soon as circumstances change and allow for travel and shall occur before the next mid-term GL review for Huangshan. A virtual stakeholder consultation meeting was approved by the reviewer in advance and it was held on July 03, 2020 with the ASI Reviewer presence. The voting meeting agenda was sent to the reviewer for approval in advance. The meeting was combined for two sites: Huangshan Mountain and Wudalianchi. All the EAGL members were requested to review the two sites’ application documents in COMPASS before the meeting.• Verification: the process of presentation of the results, and discussions between the members of the EAGL• Verification: the voting process including declaration of EAGL members’ COI, voting method and result announcement.


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