Documents Decisions of the World Heritage Committee Decisions adopted at the 36th Session (St.-Petersburg, 2012)

Lena Pillars Nature Park

Decision 36 COM 8B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B2,
  2. Inscribes the Lena Pillars Nature Park, Russian Federation, to the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (viii);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

The nominated property of the Lena Pillars Nature Park tells us key stories about our planet and the early evolution of life, namely: a record of the Cambrian Explosion, and the story of the emergence of the frozen ground karst phenomenon.

The nominated area is an outstanding natural property providing an unmatched synthe­sis of Cambrian geological and palaeontological data, which serves as the basis for our understanding of the far past, the evolution of the Earth and of life on our planet during one of the most pivotal and dramatic points of its development.

Valuable geological sites (lower to middle Cambrian strata), and paleontological sites (exceptional, rich fossils and biocenoses, including the earliest metazoan reef belt) are all combined in the region with unique geomorphological features (frozen ground karst, thermokarst and sand dunes-tukulans).

Criterion (viii): The site possesses a remarkable world-wide value being the most sig­nificant natural monument of the Cambrian Explosion, which was one of the pivotal points in the Earth’s life evolution. Due to platformal type of carbonate sedimentation within tropical belt without subsequent meta­morphic and tectonic reworking and magnificent impressive outcrops, the nominated property preserve the most continuous, fully documented, and richest record of the diversification of skeletal animals and calcified algae from their first appearances until the first mass extinction event which is excellent documented in parallel in three types of sedimentary basins during the first 35 m.y. of the Cambrian evolution.

The "Lena Pillars" comprises the earliest and the largest, in both tem­poral and spatial senses, fossil metazoan reef of the Cambrian world. This reef being a site of Cambrian diversification is comparable to the Great Barrier Reef in modern world. The high preservation quality of both skel­etal and soft-bodied fossils being coupled with high resolution isotope and palaeomagnetic records as well as with various well-preserved sedi­mentary fabrics allows researches to solve diverse ecological and evolu­tionary problems with a precision comparable with the study of modern biotas and communities.

Situated within the nominated territory Cambrian carbonates remained to be a place of unique ongoing geological processes now – the only mod­el of recent frozen ground karst of karst plateaus. All the rock massif is touched by karst processes of perennially cryotic rocks under extremely continental semihumid climate conditions. The Lena and Buotama pillars are the only area on the globe where the processes of the fine disintegra­tion of the rocks – cryohydration weathering – dominate in the shaping of carbonate pillar relief. These karst phenomena are enriched by thermo­karst processes developed in the area of a great permafrost thickness (up to 600 m) which led to appearances of alases – thermokarst features of almost exclusively Yakutian affinities. The frozen ground karst in combi­nation with thermokarst is an worldwide unique phenomenon of Eastern Siberia and in outstanding kind documented in the proposed property. It is quite different from all karst sites in the World Heritage List, which are located in humid areas. In turn, the semihumid continental climate condi­tions are expressed in a formation of tukulans which are eolian sand dunes being developed at almost polar latitudes.


The Lena Pillars Nature Park presents a single nature complex, its main components are inseparably tired with each other by common origin, history and the dynamics of natural development, and include all the elements necessary to express its outstanding universal value.

By its size (1 272 150 ha) the property is great enough to support the func­tioning of nature complexes and to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey its significance. Besides, local and Republican Resource Preserves adjacent to the Park’s boundaries give additional integrity guarantees for the nominated property.

The territory presents an integral system. Natural ecosystems, numerous nature monuments, and also evidences of human activity from ancient times are being sustainable preserved in its limits over a long period of time.

The biophysical processes and landform features of the nominated area are intact.

The area of the "Lena Pillars Nature Park" has passed a long and complex period of geological development since Early Cambrian. The property reflects both sig­nificant geological processes of surface development and outstanding geomorphological relief features. All significant relief forms of the property are interrelated and interdepen­dent elements in their natural relationships.

Protection and management requirements

The whole territory in the limits of the Lena Pillars Nature Park is provided with professional guarding by the Park administration and the staff on the basis of laws and decrees of the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Sakha.

Traditional nature management and license use of biological resources by local residents from eight communities of small nationalities of the North inhabiting the Park territory (and absolute absence of permanent settlements) present the main condition for con­servation of nature monuments and biological diversity of ecosystems of the concerned territory.

In 2011 the professional management-plan for 2012-2016 has been elaborated in confor­mity with Order of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage of the Russian Federation №491 of 03.12.2007.

  1. Request the State Party to:

a) consider including the Sinyaya component of LPNP, and relevant areas of the Lena River that are necessary to assure integrity within the nomination;

b) provide a clear demonstration that the legal regime supporting property is effective;

c) provide a revised long-term management plan for the property which includes a strong programme of awareness devoted to the aesthetics, geomorphological and geological features, and ensures the necessary scientific skills required to protect and manage these values are in place.

  1. Expresses its appreciation to the State Party, and the State Government of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), and stakeholders, regarding the work that has been done to research, present and protect the values within the Lena Pillars region.
  2. Welcomes the collaborative efforts of the State Party, stakeholders and IUCN during the evaluation of this nomination, and requests that lessons learned during this process are appropriately considered in the reflection on the Future of the Convention.
  1. Further requests the State Party to provide a report to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015 on the progress in implementing the above recommendations, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th Session in 2015.