- Gordon Dumoulin
China's secret garden.....
The Kuerdening valley is part of the Xinjiang Tianshan UNESCO world heritage site in Xinjiang Autonomous Region in NW China.
Located in Gongliu County (Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture), the valley comprises 35,139 km2 (larger than Belgium) of meadows, forests, rivers and mountain slopes with altitudes ranging from 1,600-3,830 meters. The whole UNESCO world heritage site is larger than Spain at almost 520,000 km2.
There are no permanent residents living in the valley, only about 600 seasonal shepherds with their herds. The valley is home to a large diversity of flora and fauna include vast wild fruit forests (52 species), traditional herbs and rare, endangered wild animals such as black storks, golden eagles, imperial eagles, snow leopards, Capra ibex, red deer and argali.
Kuerdening is also home to the most preserved original habitat of dense Shrenk’s Spruce forests (Picea schrenkiana) and large forests of indigenous Chinese Red Birch trees (betula albosinensis).
There are few restricted areas for visiting and tourism but the far majority of the reserve is off limits for people.
Read more in this detailed report by UNESCO : https://whc.unesco.org/uploads/nominations/1414.pdf