Location and Values: The Volcanoes of Kamchatka are located on the remote Kamchatka peninsula of north-eastern Russia. This is a region of arctic taiga and alpine tundra, punctuated by a line of 160 volcanoes that run along the eastern side of the peninsula forming part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. This is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding volcanic regions of the world, with a large number of active volcanoes and a wide range of volcanic features. The world heritage site includes 29 active volcanoes, spread between six separate components of this very extensive site. It is an area of spectacular natural beauty which includes the largest active volcano in the northern hemisphere (Klyuchevskaya Sopka, 4750m), and possibly the most beautiful in the world, Kronotsky, with it’s a perfect cone. The site is listed under all four natural criteria, recognizing the importance of its biodiversity values as well as its outstanding volcanic features. The area supports an extraordinary diversity of palearctic flora, and an exceptionally dynamic ecology as areas that have been subject to past volcanic action and lava flows are colonized by plants and animals. The wider landscape is home to the world’s greatest known diversity of salmonid fish and half the world population of Stellar’s Sea Eagle, amongst other rare and threatened species.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka is ‘of significant concern’. The IUCN report notes that, while the geological and scenic values of the site are secure, its biodiversity is under increasing threat. The main concerns are unsustainable use of natural resources (legal and illegal hunting and fishing), infrastructure development and the rapid growth of tourism. The existing management systems and staff capacity are insufficient to provide the level of protection necessary, especially for components of the site which fall under regional administrations.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description