Status of component parts: State Biosphere Nature Reserve, State Nature Reserve, National Park, Nature Preserve
Area: Over 8 million ha
Situation: Included into the World Heritage List in 1996
Criteria: (vii) (viii) (ix) (x)
The Baikal Lake is one of the largest lakes of the planet. This is the lake of the superlative degrees: this is the deepest (1,637 m) and the oldest (about 25 million years) fresh water lake with the most diverse flora and fauna among world natural fresh reservoirs. Volumes and quality of fresh water stock of the lake are just as unique (23,6 thousand cubic km - more than 20% of the world fresh-water stock).
This is the region where the borders of different flora and fauna complexes come together. This place has biocenoses that can be met nowhere else in the world. The Baikal hollow has always been isolated from the outer world. That's why it has become home for one of the richest and the most unusual fresh-water fauna in the world, which is of extreme importance for studies of the evolution. Out of the 2,630 plant and animal species and subspecies that have been discovered in the lake by now, about 80% cannot be met anywhere else.