landscape architecture · urbanism · planning

BeiHai Volcanic Wetland Park, TengChong, Yunnan, China


Millennia ago volcanic eruptions from surrounding mountains that wrap this verdant valley sealed one end resulting in a 5-km2 lake. Ash and pumice from the eruptions settled on the lake surface. Over time plants grew, forming floating islands of rich vegetation like native iris, ginger and a variety of grasses formed habitats for an array of wildlife and settlement locations for people. In the ’60s the dam was cut to expose arable land for agriculture, and the lake shrank to 1.5 km2 and along with it the floating wetlands. A partnership between the Yunnan Tourism Bureau, City of TengChong and the Private Sector will rebuild the dam to its original height allowing the lake and floating wetlands to reclaim their proper territory. The master plan guides this process and develops a strategy for the regeneration of the floating wetlands and associated habitat. It devises low-impact interventions like floating boardwalks fabricated off-site that allow people to experience the wetlands. Visitor centers and museums educate people about this rare natural phenomenon and ecosystem. On this 15km2 site select development is deployed that will capture the revenue required to develop and maintain the park over time, but does so without impacting the watershed that is the source of life for the wetland or the view shed from which its authenticity is derived. It preserves historic villages and the agriculture that supports those villages and in some cases involving villages in the guest experience.

SWA Group, Scott Slaney, FASLA, Design Principal, Principal-in-Charge

Prime Consultant, Conceptual Master Planning and Conceptual Design, Phase One Schematic Design, Design Development

HuaLong Real Estate Holdings Ltd.

Yunnan Province Tourism Bureau, City of Tengchong Leadership, City of Tengchong Planning Bureau. City of Tengchong Public Works, Transportation and Parks Departments, Yunnan Water Development Corporation

Herrera Environmental Engineering and Biologists

Date Complete: 2011

Area: 3750 acres (1500 hectares)

Ecosystem Preservation and Creation, Habitat Preservation and Creation Historic, Cultural Preservation, Agricultural Preservation, Productive Landscapes, Landscape and Topography Preservation, Historic Tree Preservation, Storm Water Management, Water Quality Preservation, Low Impact Development, Job Preservation and Creation, Material Recycling, Multi-Modal Transportation and Connectivity.