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Virgin Komi Forests
Site number:
Type of site: Natural
Date: -
Date of Inscription: 1995
Location: Eurasia, Russian Federation, Komi Republic
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Description: The Virgin Komi Forests envelop 3.28 million ha of tundra and Ural mountain tundra, as well as one of Europe’s most widespread areas of virgin boreal forest that still endures. For over 50 years this vast area’s conifers, aspens, birches, peat bogs, rivers and natural lakes have been scrutinized and studied. It holds vital evidence of the natural progressions affecting the taiga’s biodiversity. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  The Virgin Komi Forests is a natural UNESCO World Heritage site in the Northern Ural mountains of the Komi Republic, Russia. At 32,800 km² it is the largest virgin forest in Europe. The Virgin Komi Forests belong to the Ural Mountains taiga ecoregion. Dominant tree species include Siberian spruce, Siberian fir and Siberian larch, while the most prominent mammals are the reindeer, the sable, the mink and the hare. The site corresponds to Russia's Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve and Yugyd Va National Park. Its World Heritage Site status was recognised in 1995, making it the first natural World Heritage site in the country. This recognition brought the site additional funding from abroad and saved it from imminent logging by a French company (HUET Holding). However, conservation threats remain, illegal logging and gold-mining in particular. Deposits of gold in the northern part of the Yugyd-Va National Park were to be mined prior to 1995. Despite the area's recognition as a World Heritage site, attempts at extracting gold are being actively lobbied by the Head of the Republic and Komi's Ministry of Nature. The regional government's attempts to move the site's borders so as to exclude the gold-rich parts and strip them of their protected status have been recently ruled out by Komi's Supreme Court. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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