woensdag 3 oktober 2012

Russia, Volcanoes of Kamchatka

This is one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with a high density of active volcanoes, a variety of types, and a wide range of related features. The six sites included in the serial designation group together the majority of volcanic features of the Kamchatka peninsula. The interplay of active volcanoes and glaciers forms a dynamic landscape of great beauty. The sites contain great species diversity, including the world's largest known variety of salmonoid fish and exceptional concentrations of sea otter, brown bear and Stellar's sea eagle.




The site comprises six distinct locations on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, in the central mountainous spine of the peninsula (Bystrinsky Nature Park), and coastal locations facing east towards the Bering Sea (Koronotsky Zapovednik, Nalychevo Nature Park and the contiguous Southern Kamchatka Nature Park and Southern Kamchatka State Nature Reserve). Kluchevskoy Nature Park was added in 2001 as the sixth component of the site.
The property represents the most pristine parts of the Kamchatka Peninsula and a remarkable collection of volcanic areas, characteristic of the 'Pacific Volcanic Ring'. This is the surface expression of the subduction of the Pacific Ocean Continental Plate under the Eurasia Plate at rates of 10 cm annually. The addition of Kluchevskoy Nature Park, an outstanding example of geological processes and landforms, further adds to the range of natural features.
More than 300 volcanoes are found in Kamchatka, 29 being currently active, including caldera, strata-volcano, somma-volcano and mixed types, the largest included in the World Heritage site being Kronotskaya Sopka (3,528 m). In addition there is a multitude of thermal and mineral springs, geysers and other phenomena of active vulcanism.


Surrounded by sea, the peninsula enjoys a moist and relatively mild climate leading to a lush vegetation cover. With only modest history of human exploitation, the vegetation is in largely pristine condition, and includes mountain valley taiga forest of birch, larch and spruce; extensive stone-birch forest; riparian forest on alluvial soil of poplars, aspen, alder and willow; peat wetland and extensive coastal wetlands up to 50 km wide; and subalpine shrub and mountain tundra. The region also contains an especially diverse range of Palaearctic flora (including a number of nationally threatened species and at least 16 endemics.
The faunal complement is relatively low in diversity, with the Kamchatka Peninsula exhibiting some of the biogeographic qualities of an island. Nevertheless, a number of species are abundant, including bears, snow ram, northern deer, sable and wolverine, and there is a high level of endemism.
Noteworthy birds include Stellar's sea eagle (50% of world population), white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, gyrfalcon and peregrine falcon. There are numerous seabird colonies and 50% of the global population of Aleutian tern nest on the peninsula. Almost all rivers, noted for being exceptionally unpolluted, serve as salmon spawning grounds, a key food-chain species for predatory birds and mammals. All 11 species of salmonid fish coexist in several of Kamchatka's rivers.

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