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The Second International Symposium of Xiangxi Geopark on Karst held in Xiangxi

Date:2018-12-12 Author:IRCK/NICK

The Second International Symposium of Xiangxi Geopark on Karst held in Xiangxi

The Second International Symposium of Xiangxi Geopark on Karst was held in Xiangxi on November 17-18, 2018. Theevent, sponsored by the Institute of Karst Geology, China Geological Survey andthe People’s Government of Xiangxi Tujia & Miao Autonomous Prefecture, wasjointly organized by the Bureau of Land and Resources of Xiangxi Tujia &Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Travel and Foreign and Overseas Chinese AffairsCommission of Xiangxi Tujia & Miao Autonomous Prefecture, and theAdministrative Office of Xiangxi Geoparks. The event was attended by 29 expertsfrom 18 countries.

Experts present at the Symposium include:Prof. Christopher Groves, member of the Governing Board of the InternationalResearch Center on Karst Under the Auspices of UNESCO (IRCK), and director ofHoffman Environmental Research Institute, Western Kentucky University, USA;Prof. Peter T. Milanovic, member of the Governing Board of IRCK, chair of IAHSerbia National Committee; Prof. Ralf Benischke from the University of Graz,Austria, and deputy director of IRCK’s Academic Committee; Prof. George Veni,president of UIS and director of National Cave and Karst Research Institute,USA; Prof. Zoran Stevanovic from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, chair ofIAH’s Karst Committee; Prof. Augusto Auler, director of Brazilian KarstResearch Institute; Ms Aleksandra Maran Stevanovic, evaluation expert of globalgeoparks and scientific advisor to Serbian Natural Museum; and Prof. AndrzejTyc from the University of Silesia, Poland. The Chinese karstologists andgeopark experts include: Prof. Jiang Zhongcheng, director of IRCK and deputydirector-general of IKG; Prof. Cao Jianhua, executive deputy director of IRCK,and vice chief engineer of IKG; and Prof. Chen Weihai, vice chief engineer ofIKG, among others.

Lasting for two days, the symposiumconsisted of two parts: field study and academic workshop. On November 17, theexperts who attended the symposium visited karst geological landscapes (e.g.,Dehang Grand Canyon, Sisters Peak Rock Pillar Group, GSSP at Guzhangian Stage,Guzhang Red Stone Forest, and Dalong Cave Waterfall), as well as the historicand cultural landscapes (i.e., Aizhai Bridge, and Furong Ancient Town). Theexperts both at home and abroad were deeply impressed by the magnificent karstgeosites, beautiful natural environment and rich ethnic minorities’ cultures.

On the morning of November 18, the SecondInternational Symposium of Xiangxi Geopark on Karst was held at SunshineInternational Hotel. Apart from some well-known experts, the event was alsoattended by more than 70 participants, including Chen Songling, deputydirector-general of Hunan Department of Natural Resources; Long Xiaohua,governor of the People’s Government of Xiangxi Tujia & Miao AutonomousPrefecture; Li Ping, deputy governor of Xiangxi Tujia & Miao AutonomousPrefecture; as well as representatives from competent authorities of geoparksin Xiangxi (prefectural and municipal land and resources departments/bureaus).The participants shared their findings and experiences, and discussed how topromote the sustainable development of Xiangxi geoparks and geotourism in thisregion.

The symposium was chaired by Prof. JiangZhongcheng, deputy director-general of IKG. During the event, Long Xiaohua,governor of the People’s Government of Xiangxi Tujia & Miao AutonomousPrefecture, and Chen Songling, deputy director-general of Hunan Department ofNatural Resources, introduced the landscape features of Xiangxi Geopark, itscurrent status and future development plan, hoping that the internationalexperts can provide support for the application and development of XiangxiGlobal Geopark.

Subsequently, the 12 experts watched the promotionalfilm of Xiangxi Geopark and were presented the special report on thedevelopment of Xiangxi Geopark. After that, they delivered speeches, fullyaffirming the uniqueness of the karst landscape and ethnic minorities’ cultureof Xiangxi Geopark in international arena and its important value in scientificresearch and tourism development. They also believed that Xiangxi Geopark cansuccessfully be listed as a global geopark in 2019. On the issue of how tobuild the global geopark and tackle problems in the process of development, theexperts introduced experiences from their respective research fields, andproposed many reasonable comments and suggestions. It was agreed that XiangxiGeopark is an extremely attractive place, not only for its unique andmagnificent karst landscape, but for its long-standing ethnic minorities’culture, as well as for the warmth and hospitality of the local people. XiangxiGeopark is unparalleled in many aspects compared with other geoparks in theworld. Finally, they promised to provide strong support to the application andpublicity activities of Xiangxi Geopark in the near future.

Xiangxi Geopark is located in Hunan XiangxiTujia & Miao Autonomous Prefecture, and the slope areas of the easternfringe of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. Covering a total area of 2,710 km2, thegeopark is dominated by karst landforms. It features GSSPs in the Cambriansystem, red stone forests, and incision-type karst platform-canyon landscapes,which are complemented by typical geological phenomena, such as paleogeologicaltectonic events, paleoglacial climatic events and paleontological relics. They systematicallyrecorded the history of geological evolution of Yangtze Platform and theincision and fragmentation of the fringe areas of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, andshow the scientific essence of natural and cultural heritages in XiangxiGeopark, which integrate geological, ecological and ethnic minorities’cultures. As a result, Xiangxi Geopark enjoys promising prospects in terms ofscientific research and tourism development.


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