Booklet "Lena Pillars Nature Park - Potential World Heritage Property"

Introduction

Adopted on November 16, 1972, the UNESCO Convention сoncerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is the most efficient and representative among existing nature conservation conventions and programs. The primary purpose of the Convention is to unite the efforts of the international community to identify, protect and provide comprehensive support to cultural monuments and natural objects of outstanding universal value.

Established in 1976, the UNESCO World Heritage List is representative both of the diverse regions upon our planet and of a number of specific properties. Many natural properties of worldwide renown are protected under the World Heritage Convention, including the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Grand Canyon, Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria and Iguazu Falls.

Russia is currently represented on the World Heritage List by fifteen cultural and nine natural properties. Russia’s natural World Heritage properties are the Virgin Komi Forests, Lake Baikal, Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Golden Mountains of Altai, Western Caucasus, Central Sikhote-Alin, Uvs Nuur Basin, Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve, and Putorana Plateau. Thirty-one of Russia’s specially protected nature areas, among which twelve are nature reserves and five are national parks, have World Heritage status. The total area of Russian Natural World Heritage Properties comprises more than 22 million ha. Two of Russia’s natural properties, Lake Baikal and Volcanoes of Kamchatka, are ranked in the top 10 largest properties worldwide and included in the World Heritage List according to all natural criteria requirements. Work is currently being carried out to present more of Russia’s natural sites for inclusion in the World Heritage List. Magadansky Nature Reserve, Commander Islands, Daurian Steppes, Krasnoyarsk Pillars, Great Vasyugan Mire, Il’mensky Mountains, Bikin River Valley, and Bashkir Ural are all included on the Russian Federation's Tentative List.

Without a doubt, Russia possesses a wealth of unique natural complexes untouched by the economic activity of man (an important factor to note). Scientists have assessed that the country houses over 20 territories worthy of holding the status of World Heritage properties.

The present booklet contains materials from the Lena Pillars Nature Park nomination dossier prepared in 2006 – 2010, materials prepared in 2011 in reply to a request by IUCN experts were performing a field visit, a fossil check list, and a selection of support letters for the nomination from leading specialists in the field of Cambrian deposits and frozen ground karst to the Director General of the IUCN as well as the Chairman of the World Heritage Committee.

The nominated property of the Lena Pillars Nature Park tells us three key stories about our planet and the early evolution of life, namely: 1) a record of the Cambrian Explosion, 2) the story of the emergence of the frozen ground karst phenomenon, and 3) elements of the history of humans deifying a great natural monument.

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.

The Lena Pillars Nature Park can make a claim for its inscription on the World Heritage List based on two criteria: vii and viii. Valuable geological sites (lower to middle Cambrian strata), paleontological sites (exceptional, rich fossils and biocenoses, including the earliest metazoan reef belt) and unique geomorphological sites (frozen ground karst, thermokarst and sand dunes-tukulans) are all combined in the region with incredible natural scenic attractions.


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