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Committee Decisions

34 COM 8B.8

Natural Properties-Putorana Plateau (Russian Federation)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B2;

2. Inscribes the Putorana Plateau, Russian Federation, on the World Heritage List under natural criteria (vii) and (ix);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

Comprising a vast area of 1,887,251 ha, the property is located in the centre of the Putorana Plateau in the northern part of Central Siberia. The part of the plateau inscribed on the World Heritage list harbours a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range, including pristine taiga, forest tundra, tundra and arctic desert systems, as well as untouched cold-water lake and river systems. The combination of remoteness, naturalness and strict protection ensure that ecological and biological processes continue at a large scale with minimal human influence. The property provides a dramatic demonstration of ecological processes, including the interactions between healthy populations of a full range of Arctic fauna. A major reindeer migration crosses part of the property. The property is also one of the very few centres of plant species richness in the Arctic.

Criterion (vii): A vast and diverse landscape of striking natural beauty, the Putorana Plateau is pristine and not affected by human infrastructure. Its superlative natural features include an extensive area of layered basalt traps that has been dissected by dozens of deep canyons; countless cold water rivers and creeks with thousands of waterfalls; more than 25,000 lakes characterized by a fjord-like formation that is associated with a large variation in the relief. The immense arctic and boreal landscapes remain intact with carpets of lichens and forest that are unusual at such northern latitudes.

Criterion (ix): The property displays a comprehensive set of ecological and biological processes associated with its diverse arctic and subarctic ecosystems. Its bio-geographical location, on the border of the tundra and taiga biomes and at the transition between Western and Eastern Siberian floras, makes the property one of only a few centres of plant species richness in the Arctic. The combination of landscape diversity, remoteness, naturalness and degree of protection are extraordinary. In addition, the property may provide valuable evidence on the impacts of climate change to large-scale natural arctic ecosystems if proper monitoring and research take place.

Integrity

The property is a strictly protected State Nature Reserve, or "Zapovednik": its boundaries coincide with those of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, established in 1987. The property is large and is surrounded by an extensive buffer zone of 1,773,300 ha. The property's size, remoteness and naturalness, as well as the degree of protection afforded to it are essential attributes in ensuring the protection of the full range of largely undisturbed landscapes and processes that are the basis of its Outstanding Universal Value. The property includes the key areas and features that are essential for maintaining the property's natural beauty. A full range of important natural features, such as lakes, canyons and waterfalls, is located within its boundaries. The property is also of sufficient size and contains the necessary elements to maintain the ecological and biological processes that are essential for the long term conservation of the property's ecosystems and biological diversity, and the migratory species that rely on its natural state.

Difficult access is also a contributor to the property's integrity: there are no roads within the property and large parts of the buffer zone, thus the property is only accessible by helicopter or boat. The property is also unaffected by the impacts of mining and other land-uses incompatible with its values. Important natural values linked to the property are located in the buffer zone, and their conservation is also an essential requirement.

Protection and management requirements

The property was declared a strictly protected State Nature Reserve (Zapovednik) in 1987. No land or resource uses are allowed other than scientific research and monitoring. A number of other federal and regional laws and regulations on nature conservation, land use planning, scientific research and monitoring, and environmental education apply to the property.

The combination of a strict legal and management framework, remote location and lack of any road infrastructure enables effective management of the property with relatively modest staffing and funding levels for a protected area of this magnitude. Increasing tourism in the buffer zone carries the risk of unauthorized access to the property, including for hunting and fishing. There is a need for unambiguous and rigorously enforced land use and building arrangements in the buffer zone and for regulations of tourism, including strict limits on air traffic.

Mining is a potential threat to the property. The Federal Law on Specially Protected Natural Areas prohibits mining in the property. It must be ensured that the impacts of existing and future mining outside the property will not affect in any way the Outstanding Universal Value and/or integrity of the property, for example through air pollution, pipelines or the development of any supporting infrastructure.

One of the most important inter-regional reindeer migration routes crosses the property. As the continuation of this natural phenomenon depends strongly on the natural conditions of the areas within and outside the property, effective legal and management systems are required to ensure that human use, including tourism, mining and other development will not adversely affect this phenomenon.

4. Commends the State Party on the elaboration and approval of a management plan for the property and requests the State Party to sustain its commitment to the protection, management and monitoring of the property through sufficient financial resources and staffing levels to ensure the effective long-term implementation of the management plan;

5. Also requests the State Party to further develop and implement more detailed management schemes for sustainable recreational use and environmentally friendly tourism within the buffer zone of the property, in cooperation with local authorities and stakeholders, including indigenous communities, and taking account of the needs for tourism monitoring, zoning and regulatory frameworks and licensing schemes for buildings, infrastructure, and tourism operations;

6. Encourages the State Party to clearly demarcate the boundaries of the property at all entry points and to strictly regulate air access to the property;

7. Also commends the State Party on the diverse range of funding sources for the property, and further requests the State Party to ensure funding for management, and also encourages the State Party to increase their investments in research;

8. Recommends setting up a long-term scientific research and monitoring program to document and better understand the impacts of climate change on the diverse array of ecosystems within the property;

9. Notes that the important migration of reindeer which crosses the property is vulnerable to impacts from activities outside the property, such as tourism, mining and pipeline construction and urges the State Party to ensure such threats to this important value of the property are effectively controlled;

10. Finally requests the State Party to ensure that mining and mineral exploitation inside the property remain permanently prohibited and to also prevent any indirect impacts from mining outside the boundaries that could affect the values of the property.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Russian Federation
Properties: Putorana Plateau
Session: 34COM