Wuyi Mountains are a mountain range located in the prefecture of Nanping, in northern Fujian province near the border with Jiangxi province, China.
The world heritage site has a total area of 99,975 hectares that is divided into four core parts: the Nine-Bend Stream Ecological Protection Area (36,400 ha) in the center, flanked by the Wuyishan National Nature Reserve (56,527 ha) to the west and the Wuyishan National Scenic Area (7,000 ha) to the east.
The landscape is characterized by winding river valleys flanked by columnar or dome-shaped cliffs as well as cave systems.
Peaks in the western portion of the Wuyi Mountains typically consist of volcanic or plutonic rocks, whereas peaks and hills in the eastern area are made up of red sandstone with very steep slopes but flat tops (
The Nine-bend River (Jiuqu Xi), about 60 kilometers in length, meanders in a deep gorge among these hills.
Mount Wuyi is one of the most outstanding subtropical forests in the world.
It is the largest, most representative example of a largely intact forest encompassing the diversity of the Chinese Subtropical Forest and the South Chinese Rainforest, with high plant diversity.
It acts as a refuge for a large number of ancient, relict plant species, many of them endemic to China and rare elsewhere in the country.
It also has an outstanding faunal diversity, especially with respect to its reptile, amphibian and insect species.
The site contains what are probably the largest and best-preserved areas of humid subtropical forest in the world. It includes a range of vegetation types, with differences largely associated with elevation.
Probably the most extensive and important vegetation types are the evergreen broadleaved forests, which include some of the largest tracts of humid subtropical forests in the world.
Eleven broad vegetation patterns have been described, including shrub forest, brushwood and meadow steppe.
The known fauna of Mount Wuyi has received international recognition for its high diversity and large numbers of rare and unusual species.
Among the vertebrates are 49 species which are endemic to China and three that are endemic to this locality: a bird called David’s parrot bill, and two amphibians.
Other rare and important species in the area of Mount Wuyi include Chinese tiger, clouded leopard, leopard, black muntjac, mainland serow, Chinese black-backed pheasant and Chinese giant salamander.
Mount Wuyi has a long cultural history.
The site of the Wuyi Palace built in the seventh century for emperors to conduct sacrificial activities remains today.
It had been an important center of China’s Taoism and was listed as one of the top nine Taoist Temples in the 10th century.
The Wuyi Mountains act as a protective barrier against the inflow of cold air from the northwest and retain warm moist air originating from the sea.
As a result, the area has a humid climate (humidity eighty to eighty five percent) with high rainfall (annual average 2,200 millimeters in the south-west and 3,200 millimeters in the north) and common fogs.
At present, the zone of Mount Wuyi that falls under UNESCO World Heritage Site protection occupies a region of 63,575 ha of core zone, 36,400 ha of inner zone, and 27,999 ha of buffer zone.
All fall within the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China.