Stone Forests

The South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2007, is one of the world's most spectacular examples of humid tropical to subtropical karst landscape. It is a serial site spread over the provinces of Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan and Chongqing and the total area is 97,125 hectares, with a buffer zone of 176,228 hectares. It is noted for its karst features and landscapes as well as rich biodiversity. The site comprises seven clusters: Shilin Karst, Libo Karst, Wulong Karst, Guilin Karst, Shibing Karst, Jinfoshan Karst, and Huanjiang Karst. UNESCO describes the South China Karst as "unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes."

The Stone Forests (Shilin) of Yunnan (Photo from yn.people.cn)

The Stone Forests (Shilin) of Yunnan (Photo from yn.people.cn)

Geologically, South China Karst evolved due to the tectonic uplift of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has evolved into an integrated tropical and subtropical karst ecosystem. It is of significance in studying geological evolution.

The Stone Forests (Shilin) of Yunnan (Photo from yn.people.cn)

South China Karst contains the most significant types of karst landforms, including tower karst, pinnacle karst and cone karst formations, along with other spectacular characteristics such as natural bridges, gorges and large cave systems. The stone forests (Shilin) of Yunnan are considered superlative natural phenomena and a world reference. The cluster includes the Naigu stone forest occurring on dolomitic limestone and the Suyishan stone forest arising from a lake. Shilin contains a wider range of pinnacle shapes than other karst landscapes with pinnacles, and a higher diversity of shapes and changing colours. It is also the world's only karst landscape in the subtropical plateau area, and enjoys the fame of 'the First Wonder of the World'. The representative scenic area in Shilin is the Naigu Stone Forrest, characterized by typical karst terrain evolved from dolomite rocks.




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