Putorana Plateau

on the map

Region of the Russian Federation: Krasnoyarsk Krai

Area: 1.887 ha

Criteria: (vii), (ix)

Site Status: inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2010

Status of Territories composing the Site:
Putoransky State Nature Reserve. Since 2013 is a part of Federal State Institution “United Direction of Taimyr Nature Reserves” (663300, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Norilsk, ul. Talnakhskaya, 22) together with Taimyrsky and Great Arctic Nature Reserves.

The Putorana Plateau is a seemingly boundless basalt plateau, untouched by human activity. It is thought to have arisen 10–12 million years ago as a result of a strong earthquake that affected the greater part of the Eurasian continent and gave rise to big islands in the Barents and Kara Seas.

The plateau is characterized by spectacular trap-shaped relief formed from huge steps and terraces, and unique menses (table-tops) rising up to 1,000 – 1,500 m above sea-level, cut by deep canyons.

The site has the greatest concentration of waterfalls in Russia. There is no other elevated province in the world to compare with the Putorana Plateau for number and depths of lakes. There are more than 25 thousand lakes here with lengths of up to 150 km and depths up to 400 m.

The combination of plant and animal communities of forest (alpine – northern taiga), subalpine-forest-tundra, alpine tundra and high-altitude landscape belts are characteristic of the plateau.

Over 1,300 plant species have been recorded here. The basins of the rivers Kutaramakan and Irkinda comprise the northeastern distribution limits of the Siberian larch and fir. The Putorana Mountains are also the northern habitation limits of flying squirrel, lynx, sable and stone cock.

The unique peculiarity of the territory is its location in the limits of the Yenisei zoo-geographical boundaries, recognized as one of the largest meridional bio-geographical limits of Eurasia. This determines the heightened species diversity of local fauna.

36 fish, 1 amphibian, 184 bird and 34 mammal species inhabit the nature reserve. The migration route of Eurasia's largest population of Taimyr reindeer runs through the plateau. It is the home of the little-studied bighorn snow sheep: this population was separated from the main species population range about 15,000 years ago. The lesser white-fronted goose, gyrfalcon, yellow-billed loon, red-breasted goose, tundra swan, osprey and golden eagle are among the site’s rare and endangered birds.