This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Wetlands in Jiuzhaigou World Natural Heritage site of Southwest China: classification and recent changes
To understand impacts of tourism and climate change on wetlands, a study was carried out at Jiuzhaigou, a destination receiving > 5 million people a year. Wetlands include 21 types, covering an area of 265.1 ha with 42.8% on tufa. Wetland areas declined by 16.1-31.2% during 1983-1999/2002 and increased by 31.8-60% to 2011/2014. Wetland changes included dissolving tufa, reduced tufa deposit rate, collapse of tufa mats, increased water nutrients and algae, and marshland development. Mean annual air temperature increased obviously from 1977. Annual precipitation varied from 430 to 810 mm from 1951- 2015, exhibiting an increasing trend from 2005. Number of both heavy rain and storm events increases from 2005. Number of tourists grew slowly from 1984 to 1997 but quickly from 360 000 in 1998 to 5.1 million in 2015. Commercial logging during 1966-1978 and debris flows are probably the key factors contributing to increased lake sedimentation and marshland development. Fast tourism development with intensive bus movement and regional air pollution likely caused water chemistry change, which in turn caused tufa changes and wetland degradation. Reducing tourist number is likely effective in reducing impacts on and conserving wetlands, but research is needed to obtain the appropriate tourist numbers.
MF17118 Accepted 07 September 2017
© CSIRO 2017