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Western Caucasus

Western Caucasus

The Western Caucasus, extending over 275,000 ha of the extreme western end of the Caucasus mountains and located 50 km north-east of the Black Sea, is one of the few large mountain areas of Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Its subalpine and alpine pastures have only been grazed by wild animals, and its extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests, extending from the lowlands to the subalpine zone, are unique in Europe. The site has a great diversity of ecosystems, with important endemic plants and wildlife, and is the place of origin and reintroduction of the mountain subspecies of the European bison.

Caucase de l'Ouest

Situé à une distance de 50 km au nord-est de la mer Noire et couvrant plus de 275 000 ha, le site du Caucase de l'Ouest est l'une des rares grandes régions de montagne d'Europe qui n'ait pas subi d'importants impacts humains. Ses pâturages subalpins et alpins n'ont été utilisés que par des animaux sauvages, et ses vastes étendues de forêts de montagne non perturbées qui vont des basses terres à la zone subalpine sont uniques en Europe. Le site contient une grande diversité d'écosystèmes avec une flore et une faune endémiques importantes. Il est également le lieu d'origine et de réintroduction de la sous-espèce de montagne du bison d'Europe.

القوقاز الغربيّة

تقع القوقاز الغربيّة على مساف50 كلم شمال شرق البحر الأسود وهي تغطّي أكثر من275000 هكتار وهي إحدى المناطق النادرة الكبيرة لجبل أوروبي لم يخضع لفعل البشر. ولم يطأ مراعيها عند السفوح الجبليّة أو الجبال غير الحيوانات المتوحشة وتعتبر مساحاتها الواسعة من الغابات الجبليّة العذراء الممتدة من الأراضي المنخفضة إلى المنطقة عند سفح الجبل فريدة من نوعها. ويحتوي الموقع على تنوّع كبير من النظم البيئيّة ويضمّ مجموعة حيوانيّة ونباتيّة مستوطنة كبيرة. كما يُشكّل مسقط رأس الفصيلة الجبليّة المشتقة لبيسون أوروبا.

source: UNESCO/ERI

西高加索山

西高加索山在高加索山脉的最西端,位于黑海东北50公里处,占地275 000多公顷,是欧洲尚未受到人类重大干扰的少有的几座大山之一。其亚高山带的高山草原牧草只有野生动物食用。而从山下一直延伸到亚高山地带未遭破坏的广阔山林,在欧洲也是罕见的。该地区拥有的大量本地植物和野生动物,显示了其生态系统的多样性。这里也是山区亚种欧洲野牛的起源地和重新引进之地。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Западный Кавказ

Это один из немногих крупных высокогорных массивов в Европе, где природа еще не подверглась существенному антропогенному влиянию. Площадь объекта примерно 300 тыс. га, он располагается на западе Большого Кавказа, в 50 км к северо-востоку от побережья Черного моря. На здешних альпийских и субальпийских лугах пасутся только дикие животные, а обширные нетронутые горные леса, простирающиеся от низкогорной зоны до субальпики, – также уникальны для Европы. Местность характеризуется большим разнообразием экосистем, высокоэндемичной флорой и фауной, и является районом, где некогда обитал, а позднее был реакклиматизирован, горный подвид европейского зубра.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Cáucaso Occidental

Situado a 50 kilómetros al nordeste del mar Negro, este sitio de 275.000 hectáreas es una de las pocas zonas montañosas importantes de Europa que apenas ha sufrido el impacto de la actividad humana. Sus praderas alpinas y subalpinas sólo han servido de alimento a animales silvestres, y sus vastos bosques de montaña vírgenes, que se extienden desde las tierras bajas hasta la zona subalpina, son únicos en Europa. El sitio posee una gran variedad de ecosistemas, con abundantes especies vegetales y animales endémicas. Lugar de origen del bisonte de montaña europeo, el Cáucaso Occidental ha sido también el primer sitio donde se ha iniciado la repoblación de esta especie.

source: UNESCO/ERI

西コーカサス山脈

source: NFUAJ

Westelijke Kaukasus

De Westelijke Kaukasus omvat 275.000 hectare van het uiterst westelijke deel van de Kaukasus bergen, 50 kilometer ten noordoosten van de Zwarte Zee. Het is een van de weinige grote berggebieden in Europa waar de mens geen grote invloed heeft gehad. De alpenweiden zijn alleen begraasd door wilde dieren en de uitgebreide ongerepte bergbossen zijn uniek in Europa. Het gebied kent een grote diversiteit aan ecosystemen, met belangrijke inheemse planten en dieren. Diersoorten die in de westelijke Kaukasus voorkomen zijn de wolf, beer, lynx, wilde zwijnen, Kaukasische herten, toer, gemzen en de geherintroduceerde Europese bizon. De laatste komt oorspronkelijk uit dit gebied en wordt wereldwijd bedreigd.

Source: unesco.nl

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Lago-Naki, Adygeya © Afonin
Justification for Inscription

The Western Caucasus has a remarkable diversity of geology, ecosystems and species. It is of global significance as a centre of plant diversity. Along with the Virgin Komi World Heritage site, it is the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impact, containing extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests unique on the European scale.

Long Description

The site is at the far western end of the Greater Caucasus Mountains within Krasnodar Kray and the republics of Adygea and Karachevo-Cherkessia. It includes a number of units. The largest of these is the Caucasus (Kavkazskiy) state biosphere reserve, together with its 1 km wide buffer zone which runs along much of the perimeter of the reserve except in Karachevo-Cherkessia Republic and where the reserve abuts Georgia (Abkhazia). The second main component of the site comprises the three elements of the most strictly protected zone of Sochi National Park (all in Krasnodar Kray).

The remainder of the site comprises four small areas in Adygea Republic: Bolshoy Thach nature park; the nature monuments of Buiny Ridge, the headwaters of the River Tsitsa and the Pshecha and Pshechashcha rivers. The region is mountainous, ranging in altitude from 250 m to peaks over 3,000 m, of which the highest is Akaragvarta (3,360 m). The geology is very diverse, including sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks from the full span of eras from the Precambrian to the Palaeozoic; it is also very complex, reflecting the origin of the Caucasus Mountains. The north part of the site is characterized by karst limestone massifs with many caves, including 130 in the Lagonaki massif alone. Over the majority of the site the landscape has a typical glaciated relief, with high peaks, 60 remnant glaciers, moraines, and over 130 high-altitude lakes. The main rivers on the north side are the Bol'shaya Laba and Belaya, which feed into the Kuban; on the south side the rivers are shorter, flowing into the Black Sea. There are numerous waterfalls, up to 250 m in height.

The flora of the area is characterized by clear zonation, both vertically and from west to east. The western part has oak-hornbeam and beech and beech-fir forests; the higher central parts have fir-spruce forests with birch and maple at high altitudes; and the eastern parts have both fir-spruce and pine-cedar forests. Above the timberline at around 2,500 m are endemic rhododendron thickets as well as subalpine and alpine meadows. In total, 1,580 vascular plant species have been recorded on the site. Of the forest plant species, about one-fifth is relict or endemic. Some 160 of the vascular plant species are considered as threatened with extinction in the Russian Federation, Adygea Republic and Krasnodar Kray. There are over 700 species of fungi, including 12 that are nationally threatened.

The fauna is also rich, with 384 vertebrate species, and 60 mammal species, including wolf, bear, lynx, wild boar, Caucasian deer, tur, chamois, and reintroduced European bison which are globally endangered. Signs of snow leopard area are occasionally seen (globally endangered). There are 246 species of bird, including many endemic, of which 24 are nationally threatened and 24 globally threatened. There is also a high species richness of amphibians, reptiles and fish, with many rare species. About 2,500 insect species have been recorded from a projected total of 5,000.

Since the last glaciation, ecological succession has taken place across the nominated site, resulting in a great diversity of ecosystems. The forests are remarkable on the European scale for their lack of human disturbance, i.e. natural ecological processes have continued over the millennia. Vegetation dynamics and timberline have not been influenced by the grazing of domestic animals; an unusual situation on a global scale. There are important populations of both ungulates and wolves, providing opportunities for studying both competitive interactions between grazing animals and predator/prey interactions. Given the size and untouched nature of the site, it should be considered for inscription under this criterion.

The Caucasus is one of the global centres of plant diversity. The site includes around a third of the 6,000 plant species of the Greater Caucasus, including Tertiary relicts and Mediterranean and Asiatic Turano-Iranian elements. About a third of the high mountain species and about a fifth of the forest species are endemic. The fauna is also very rich. The site is the place of origin and reintroduction of the mountain subspecies of the European bison, and acts as a reservoir for its expansion through the region. There are stable populations of many other large mammals. The avifauna is rich, and includes many endemic species. There are also high levels of species richness and endemicity in the lower orders. Apart from the Virgin Komi Forests of the Urals, the Western Caucasus is probably the only large mountain area in Europe that has not experienced significant human impacts. Its subalpine and alpine pastures have only been grazed by wild animals. Its extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests, extending from the lowlands to the subalpine zone, are unique in Europe. The forests include very large specimens.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC