Country: The Russian Federation
List drawn up by: Greenpeace Russia, NABU
Name: National Park "Vodlozero"
Region: Karelian Republic and Arkhangelsk Region
The territory proposed for nomination in the World
Heritage List includes:
The territory of Vodlozersky Park provides a great number of typical and unique natural formations and relict, and is famous for the peculiarity of its water-swamp and forest ecosystems, floristic and faunistic diversity, especially of ornithologic species. Its ecosystems and populations are almost undisturbed: they are virgin and could be considered as a standard for other territories.
The park is located on a flat swamp plain with a single crystalline chain of hills located to the north. The region belongs to the Baltic geological shield which is formed of crystalline rocks dated to the early Archean/Proterozoic period. On the park's territory can be found numerous palaeovolcanic and rift formations, large intrusive bodies and clastic pipes (diamonds have been discovered recently in clastic pipes in the northern area of the park). A complex of sedimentary volcanogenic rocks in the southern part of the park is one of the most ancient in Europe and in the world. Adding to the region's enormous scientific and educational value are the latest glacial and water-glacial sediments overlapping ancient rocks.
The forest complex of Vodlozero provides an ecosystem of plain northern and middle Eurasian taiga which is unique in the purity of its genetic fund and the state of preservation. This site is almost ten times as large as other European sites of its type and is probably one of the world's largest.
The forests of Vodlozersky Park provide an integral natural complex that belongs to a vast virgin basin of the Ileksa River and the Vodlozero Lake. 96 per cent of the forest territory is covered
with climax ecosystems, i.e. ones that have reached natural equilibrium and the maximum sustainability. The age of the trees is 200-280 years, while some samples even reach the age of 500-600 years.
Wetlands make up the second major part of the park, occupying 41 per cent of its territory (about 200,000 hectares). The park's swamp complex has developed without any outside interference. The Vodlozero swamp complex has no equal in Europe in its size or the state of preservation.
Of greatest interest is the ornithologic fauna of the park which is undoubtedly unique. Europe's largest continental nest group of predatory fish- feeded birds registered in the Red Book is found in the Ileksa basin. On a comparatively small territory that makes up less than 1 per cent of the area of Russian North-East, can be found 25 per cent of population of Haliaeetus albicilla (20 couples); 10 per cent of the population of Pandion haliaetus (12 couples) and 25-per cent of the population of Aguila chrysaetus (8 couples). A total of 176 species are registered there.
The wetlands of the Park are of global importance as a main junction of migration and reproduction of waterfowls (loons, swans, ducks, geese, sandpipers and gulls) among them several rare species (Bewick's swan, Cyrnus Cyrnus). The Vodlozersky Park provides important mating-grounds for other taiga species as well (brown bear, wolf, fox, lynx, European mink, glutton, badger etc.) for the surrounding area some 15-20 times the size of the Park and contains the largest black grouse and marten populations in European Russia.
The entire spectrum of swamps with a high floristic diversity is presented in the Park.
Conservation of locality of typical and rare species of zonal flora and fauna is possible in the Park due to mainly its size, complex structure and a lack of anthropogenic influence.
In addition, the numbers of the most species is stable, and even increasing in some cases. Necessary migratory grounds for waterfowl are strictly protected.
Swamp-forest complexes occupy almost whole area of protected basin of the Ileksa River and one of the Voldozero Lake which in its turn is situated within the upper basin of the Ladoga Lake and Baltic Sea, which permits for stability and protection from outside influences.
The area is free from significant pollution sources and enterprises. The impact of global pollution is not significantly in evidence.
Conservation is based on the laws of the Russian Federation, special acts and resolutions about Vodlozero Park and the "Kozhozersky" Preserve.
Including Vodlozersky Park into the list of World Heritage would give the possibility to raise protective status of the Park in order to preserve its integrity and virginity from mining and forest industry as well as to attract scientists' and tourists' attention to this almost unknown region called figuratively "The Northern Amazon".