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Премия рунета 2017

Bikin National Park got UNESCO World Heritage Site Status

03 july 2018
On July 2, 2018, the World Heritage Committee declared the Bikin National Park a part of the Central Sikhote-Alin UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
“Bikin has a sacral significance for me since my first expedition to its upper reaches in 1983. Together with Udege we have covered a long way to preserve the last untouched massif of the Ussuriyskaya taiga fighting against loggers and gold diggers, recalls Yury Darman, Ph.D., an honorable ecologist of Russia, senior adviser at WWF-Russia. – However, the provincial wildlife refuge and the territory of traditional nature use existing here at that time did not protect the area against its intense development. If we have failed to establish the Bikin National Park in 2015, this territory would have never got the UNESCO status. International recognition of the value of the Bikin River Valley – we call it “the Russian Amazon” – will facilitate the establishing of the buffer zone around the national park and will attract new investments to build sustainable infrastructure to preserve traditional nature use of the indigenous peoples. We express special thanks to Alexei Butorin, an expert of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, who has been helping all these years to prepare various background materials and who managed to prove the urgency of inclusion the Bikin NP into the Central Sikhote-Alin UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination at the meeting of the UNESCO Committee in Bahrain”.
The Bikin River valley
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia

The territory of the upper and middle parts of the Bikin River is unique for its landscape and biodiversity features. These forests are actually full analogues of Eurasia’s pre- temperate forests, but such ecosystems have almost completely transformed or disappeared entirely on the rest of the territory. It is the sole large basin where trees have never been felled, and that is why it is only this site that can give the idea about how Ussuriyskaya taiga looked like till the mid-19th century.

Yury Darmar in the expedition to Bikin
Svetlana Titova / WWF Russia
“Creation of the Park is regarded as a colossal step in conservation of the Bikin River environment and a good thing for the local Udege and Nanai tribes. All issues of the everyday routine like hunting or fishing, tourism or social development of Krasny Yar are discussed by the Council of Indigenous Peoples which is active under the Park’s administration and later are brought up for discussions with native hunters and villagers. The Parks provided jobs to almost 70 aboriginals. We can say without exaggeration that the Park gave a new impulse to the village. The new UNESCO status proves once again the unique character of the area we are striving to conserve together”, notes Aleksei Kudryavtsev, head of the Bikin National Park.

The Bikin River Valley was included into the tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010. But according to the strict UNESCO rules the country has to guarantee the long-term conservation of the site. Only a federal PA status meets this criterion. Yet, one of the demands of the Committee is the creation of a buffer zone around the Park and the elaboration of a Management Plan jointly with the Sikhote-Alinsky NR and the Goraliy Wildlife Refuge. 

Celebrating the Day of Bikin in 2017
Elena Starostina / WWF Russia
According to Peter Osipov, head of WWF Russia Amur branch, “With the support of WWF over 20 years in the Amur Ecoregion over 7.5 million hectares received a protective status and the Bikin National Park is one of our incredible successes. We are glad to have another site of international significance; similar feelings we had last year when the Daursky NR in Zabaikalie was added to UNESCO List. Right now our task is to do all possible to help these PAs in their conservation efforts and to assist in building effective management system.”

The establishment of the Bikin National Park on over 11 000 square kilometers became possible only due to the support of the Presidential Administration of Russia and the Amur Tiger Center.

Cover photo by Oleg Kabalik / WWF Russia
For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch