Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 2076-2092.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1828-2

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Building national eco-cultural protection areas and the Xiangxi practice in Hunan Province

LIU Chunla1,2(), WU Liping1,2, XU Mei3, ZENG Fanchao1,2, JIAO Lipeng1,2   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environment Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Geospatial Big Data Mining and Application, Hunan Province, Changsha 410081, China
    3. College of Tourism, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
  • Received:2019-10-27 Accepted:2020-04-17 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-02-25
  • About author:Liu Chunla, PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in ecological culture geography and regional development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    The Construction Program for First-Class Disciplines of Hunan Province(5010002);Education Department Research Project of Hunan Province(20B362)


Since 2007, the Chinese government has initiated the building of national eco-cultural protection areas (NECPAs), thereby embarking on a signi?cant transformation of the model of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) protection in China. To understand the origin and outputs of this policy, this paper demonstrates the context of China’s NECPAs. It proposes a conceptual NECPA framework that mainly features regional overall ICH protection. This is followed by an examination of the case of Xiangxi in Western Hunan as a pilot zone for China’s eco-cultural protection. Xiangxi has performed much related work to promote NECPAs and made great progress in regional overall ICH protection. This insight suggests that there are bene?ts and costs associated with promotion of China’s NECPAs and regional overall ICH protection. Despite the advantages of institutional innovation, the unexpected side effects actually undermine the success of plan implementation.

Key words: national eco-cultural protection area, intangible cultural heritage, regional overall protection, Xiangxi, China