Central Sikhote-Alin

© IUCN/ Tilman Jaeger
Country
Russian Federation
Inscribed in
2001
Criterion
(x)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "good with some concerns" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.

The Sikhote-Alin mountain range contains one the richest and most unusual temperate forests of the world. In this mixed zone between taiga and subtropics, southern species such as the tiger and Himalayan bear cohabit with northern species such as the brown bear and lynx. The site stretches from the peaks of Sikhote-Alin to the Sea of Japan and is important for the survival of many endangered species such as the Amur tiger. © UNESCO

© IUCN/ Tilman Jaeger
© IUCN/ Tilman Jaeger

Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020
Good with some concerns
The overall integrity of the forest ecosystems of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site appears to be in a good state, however, some concerns still exist. The Amur Tiger population seem stable and recovering after a collapse due to multiple sources of mortality. The site remains under threat from poaching, affecting not only the Amur Tiger population, but also other wildlife. Industrial logging in areas adjacent to the site creates preconditions of direct and indirect threats to property, such as increased fire risks, poaching and interruption of species migration.
The extension of the Central Sikhote-Alin with the Bikin National Park in 2018 almost tripled this site by size. Local indigenous people have the right to use natural resources in Bikin National Park for traditional economic activities such as hunting, fishing and collection of non-timber products. A Council of Indigenous Minorities is active within the management authority to ensure the legal rights and interests of local people, which is likely to lead to support for the Park. A change in management in Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve leading to a far more effective regime being established along with an impressively long history of monitoring and conservation management has dramatically changed the conservation outlook of this site. However, although the individual components have adequate management systems, an overarching integrated management plan and a unified approach still needs to be established. External threats to the site including illegal activities, disease, climate change and fire still pose substantial threats and any changes in management and funding for the site could easily see a return to higher level on conservation concern given the fragile environment and number of endangered species present.

Current state and trend of VALUES

High Concern
Trend
Stable
Although there was a rapid “collapse” of the Amur Tiger population, due to multiple sources of mortality and very poor recruitment of young for a few years, the population is now rising and populations seem stable and are clearly able to recover after collapse. By 2015, tigers were increasing again to a population of between 13 (2015 track counts analysis) to 20 individuals (2015 track counts plus camera traps analysis).
Poaching has reportedly affected key wildlife populations inside the property, including the Amur Tiger. Potential for poaching and illegal wildlife trade is still high through the road network created for industrial logging activities in adjacent territories of the site. Large-scale logging also affects ungulate populations, increases the risk of forest fires and obstructs ecological connectivity.
The overall integrity of the forest ecosystems of the site appears to be in a good state, however, climate change, forest fires and logging pose some threats.

Overall THREATS

High Threat
The site remains under threat from poaching, including of its most iconic species the Amur Tiger, as well as other large mammal and salmon species. As populations of some of these mammals are fairly small, any incident has a major impact. There is also a significant risk of forest fires. Industrial logging, including potential illegal logging, remains a threat because of the strong economic interest and impacts on species migration. Indirectly, through the network of forest roads, it might also increase the risk of poaching and illegal fishing. However, the effective conservation management of the site is currently insuring threats do not exceedingly impact the site.

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Mostly Effective
The protection and management of Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve underwent a major change in 2013 (including a new manager) leading to stronger, more dynamic, adaptive and scientific management. The population of tigers has been secured and is increasing again and the reserve is acting as an exemplar of good management in the region and beyond.
Bikin National Park was established in 2015 and was inscribed as an extension to the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site in 2018. While protection and management are still in their development stage, the Park administration has made great progress and the participatory approach, including a Council for Indigenous Minorities representing indigenous peoples interests in the administration, is likely to lead to local support for Bikin National Park.
The three components of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site are still largely managed separately, with very limited joint measures. While all individual components have an adequate management system and legal framework for protection, an overarching integrated management plan still needs to be established, as well as an effective coordinative body and a framework law to define the unified management.
 

Full assessment

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Finalised on
02 Dec 2020

Description of values

Vast complex of pristine temperate forest of exceptionally high plant biodiversity

Criterion
(x)
A vast complex of pristine temperate forest (mainly of the spruce-fir-larch and pine-broadleaf type) of exceptionally high plant biodiversity with both temperate and subtropical flora, which is distributed along pronounced altitudinal belts, as well as latitudinal and continental/maritime gradients. Dominant tree species of the various zones include Mongolian Oak (Quercus mongolica), Japanese Elm (Ulmus japonica), Manchurian Ash (Fraxinus mandschurensis), Japanes Poplar (Populus maximowiczii) in the lower regions, and Korea Pine (Pinus koraiensis), various broadleaved species, Manchurian Fir (Abies nephrolepsis), and Yeddo Spruce (Picea ajanensis) higher up. The highest mountain tops are covered by alpine tundra. There are almost 1,200 species of plants recorded from the property, including over 180 species of trees and woody shrubs, as well as Wild Ginseng (Panax ginseng). There are also 384 species of mushrooms, 214 of lichens and 100 of mosses. Many of the plant species are endemic. The nomination document also documents 31 species of vascular plants and 12 rare lichen species in the property that are listed in the national Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (UNEP-WCMC, 2011). The vegetation of the Bikin River basin belongs to two botanical-geographical regions: the South-Okhotsk dark coniferous forests and the East-Asian coniferous broadleaf forests. There is a well-developed altitudinal zoning of the vegetative cover within the property, with a mountain tundra belt, a forest belt of dwarf Siberian Pines, a forest belt of Ermanʼs Birch, a fir-spruce forest belt, a spruce-pine forest belt, and a pine-broadleaf forest belt (World Heritage Committee, 2018).

Diversity of animal species at the margins of their distribution ranges and their unusual assemblages

Criterion
(x)
There are 65 mammal species, 241 bird species, 7 species of amphibians, 10 of reptiles and 51 of fish within the site, distributed among 15 small-scale biogeographic regions. Species near the northern margin (such as Amur Tiger and Long-tailed Goral) and near the southern margin (such as the Wolverine) of their distribution range intermingle in the area, further enhancing its biodiversity. Subtropical species such as tiger and Himalayan bear share the same habitat with species typical of northern taiga such as brown bear and and moose (Justification for Inscription, 2001). The Bikin River National Park has a very uncommon bird species composition and ecologic structure, with 241 bird species, belonging to 17 families, including 171 nesting species (World Heritage Commitee, 2018).

Endangered and endemic animal species

Criterion
(x)
Globally threatened mammal fauna of the area include Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica, (EN)), Himalayan Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus, (VU)), and Long-tailed Goral (Naemorhaedus caudatus, (VU)). After a recent decline tiger populations are stable (see below) as are those of the Goral (Zaumyslova & Bondarchuk, 2017). Among the globally threatened birds, the Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis, (EN)), Hooded Crane (Grus monacha, (VU)), Oriental Stork (Ciconia boyciana, (EN)), Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis, (VU)), Chinese Merganser (Mergus squamatus, (EN)), and Blakiston’s Fish-owl (Ketupa blakistoni, (EN)) are present (IUCN 2012, UNEP-WCMC, 2011). Among the reptiles, there is the rare and endemic Amur Racer (Elaphe schrenki), two species of pit vipers, and one lizard species. Freshwater species have co-evolved undisturbed since the Miocene, with 51 species in 15 families, including the endemic Far Eastern Brook Lamprey (Lampetra reissneri). 28 inspect species occurring in the property are listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (UNEP-WCMC, 2011).

Assessment information

High Threat
The site remains under threat from poaching, including of its most iconic species the Amur Tiger, as well as other large mammal species. As populations of some of these mammals are fairly small, any incident has a major impact. Industrial logging along the boundaries of the components is impacting species migration, especially of the ungulates population, and further increases the risks of poaching (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020). There is also a significant risk of forest fire. Although these threats remain high, management is being effective in mitigating these threats at present.
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Temperature extremes, Storms/Flooding
(Shifts in temperature and precipitation regime due to global climate change; extremely strong typhoons destroying pristine forests)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Climate change has lead to a 0.6-1.7 degree increase in mean annual air temperatures, higher temperature and precipitation variability, decreased precipitation, seasonal shifts in precipitation, and increased frequency of extreme events including floods, droughts and autumn dust storms in the region. This has led to decreased precipitation and increased fire frequency in Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park. The typhoon LionRock destroyed large patches of pristine forests in Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in 2016, and the damaged areas now represent a severe fire hazard (IUCN Consultation, 2020). The distribution of the ungulate communities appear to be shifting northwards, with sika deer expanding northwards as moose retreat. Some large mammalian populations have reportedly benefited from an overall milder climate in the reserve (Kokorin, 2006). Over the last 40 years, changes in fauna and flora species composition is occurring in the upper part of Bikin River and its adjacent areas, which might also be a consequence of climate change towards warmer annual air temperatures (Panichev et al., 2012; State Party of the Russian Federation, 2017). However, it is difficult to draw a conclusion about the overall effect of climate change on the site and its trend.
Fire/ Fire Suppression
(Forest fires)
High Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
Fire is a natural part of the forest system in Russia; however, fire can lead to dramatic changes in the forest community, replacing old-growth forest with secondary forest of birch and larch (UNEP-WCMC, 2011). Catastrophic forest fires in the region surrounding the site typically occur every 30 years, and have multiple negative consequences for wildlife (Simonov and Dahmer, 2008). Studies in the Bikin River Basin have shown that despite a large number of forest fires during the last millennia, there has not been any principal changes in forest species composition. This can be explained by the relatively local spread of fires due to the complex relief, along with the presence of fire refugia. Historically, fires often occurred in periods following low precipitation; however, since the end of the 19th century, remarkable increase of fire frequency has coincided with periods of forest logging. (Bobrovsky, 2019; State Party of the Russian Federation, 2017). Currently forest fires are closely associated with the proximity of roads and recent logging activity (Vladimirova et al., 2016). Increased forest fire frequency caused by human activities, as well as decreased precipitation due to climate change, pose a high threat to the forest ecosystem and many endangered species (Gromyko, 2010). Fire management is a priority at the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site. There were 70 fires from 1977 to 2013, affecting more than 23,000 ha (Pimenova et al., 2016). The destruction of large stands of pristine forests caused by strong winds of the typhoon LionRock in 2016 greatly increases the risk of catastrophic fires (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Other Biological Resource Use
(Wild plant collection)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
Local markets around the site seasonally offer locally wild-collected ferns, mushrooms, fruits, nuts and berries, ornamental plants, medicinal and traditional medicinal plants (including Wild Ginseng and other species listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation) (Lypustin et al., 2010). It is known that collection of Korean pine nuts has occurred illegally both within and adjacent to the site, and this widespread intensive harvest will impact wildlife populations dependent on pine nuts for fall and overwinter forage (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Impact on other plant species and on the site’s values are unclear (IUCN Consultation, 2014).
Hunting and trapping
(Poaching of large mammals and illegal salmon fishing)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Poaching, particularly of tigers, both within and adjacent to the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park, remains a serious threat. Other regularly poached species of the region include Himalayan Black Bear, as well as various deer and salmon species. Local markets in the vicinity of the site offer wild-sourced animal products of use in traditional medicine, such as bear gall bladders, as well as bear and badger fat and velvet antlers of deer. There is also poaching directly for the Chinese market (Lypustin et al., 2010). Evidence of tiger poaching within Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve exists, but it is probably more common in areas surrounding the Reserve. Poaching and over-harvest of prey species, including wild boar, red deer and sika deer, also pose a threat to tiger populations (IUCN Consultation, 2020). New anti-poaching regimes (patrols, intelligence networks etc.) are operating (CA|TS Assessment 2015; State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020), but it is not clear whether poaching levels are declining.
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Industrial logging)
High Threat
Outside site
Logging in components of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site is strictly prohibited. However, large scale industrial logging in the territories adjacent to Bikin National Park and Sikhote-Alin State Nature Reserve creates preconditions of direct and indirect threats to property such as increased risks of forest fires and interruption of species migration (especially for ungulates). The already dense network of roads constructed for timber harvesting is increasing every year, allowing access to remote areas and leading to greater risks of poaching for the wildlife trade (IUCN, 2018; State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020).
Low Threat
Logging including illegal logging remains a potential threat because of the strong economic interest, however, at present the management of the site is being effective in mitigating this threat. Although unregulated fishing was significantly limited with the establishment of the Bikin National Park, fishing tourism surveillance and regulations need to be properly implemented to prevent illegal fishing.
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Illegal logging in the region)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Logging led to a 50% reduction of the extent of Korean Pine forests in the Amur-Heilong region (north of the site) between 1937 and 1996 (Simonov and Dahmer, 2008). In the early 2000s, 1.5-1.9 million m3 of timber per year were being removed illegally from Primorskiy Region, where all component parts of the site are located. Illegal and unsustainable logging is driven by the high demand from China, which instituted a domestic logging ban in 1998 (WWF Forest Programme, 2007). Although currently there seems to be no logging inside the site, illegal logging appears to be expanding in areas surrounding the site (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Along the river and river banks)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Unregulated fishing tourism was described as a serious past threat with more than 1200 anglers documented for a single day in 2014 just on the Bikin River (State Party of Russian Federation, 2017). Even through such past excesses could be significantly limited since establishment of the National Park, the attractiveness of the area continues to be enormous, which requires management. Fishing tourism is an explicit objective for the corresponding zones and a potentially important income source and employment opportunity of Indigenous People, who are living in nearby settlements. Proper tourism planning and its implementation is essential to take advantage of the opportunities while minimizing the risks and negative impacts. Increased accessibility to the property could potentially also lead to increased threat from illegal fishing (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020).
The site remains under threat from poaching, including of its most iconic species the Amur Tiger, as well as other large mammal and salmon species. As populations of some of these mammals are fairly small, any incident has a major impact. There is also a significant risk of forest fires. Industrial logging, including potential illegal logging, remains a threat because of the strong economic interest and impacts on species migration. Indirectly, through the network of forest roads, it might also increase the risk of poaching and illegal fishing. However, the effective conservation management of the site is currently insuring threats do not exceedingly impact the site.
Management system
Mostly Effective
The majority of the site's land areas are in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, established 1935 and Bikin National Park, established in 2015. Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve has a range of five-year and annual plans, which direct management (and make up the ‘management system’ for the site). These include plans on forestry and science. Annual operational plans linked to budgets include protection and infrastructure. Three-year ‘rolling’ budget plans are approved by the ministry. There is discussion on the need to develop a plan for ecotourism, as well as an integrated management plan for all the components of the site (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020). Bikin National Park is federally owned, but it is exceptional among Russian National Parks in terms of resource use. On 674,184 hectares (58.1%) of the National Park territory (State party of Russian Federation, 2017), local Indigenous People are permitted to use natural resources for traditional economic activities e.g. hunting, fishing and collecting non-timber products, in line with the Federal decree establishing the Bikin National Park. Accordingly, the regulations of the Bikin National Park legal management framework were approved by the Ministry of Natural resources and Environment in 2016. In January 2017 a management authority of the National Park was established, where a Council of Indigenous Minorities is active to ensure legal rights and to represent interests of the local people. Since the establishment of the Park administration, it has paid special attention to infrastructure development (e.g. establishing check points, increasing mobility, border signs, visitor center etc.), capacity building and communication outreach (State party of Russian Federation, 2020). In February 2018, the Government of Russia approved a Complex programme for tourism development in Bikin National Park (WWF Russia, 2017) and a management plan seems to be in preparation.
Effectiveness of management system
Some Concern
The World Heritage site is a serial property consisting of three components: Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Goralij Zoological Preserve, both inscribed in 2001 and extended in 2018 by Bikin National Park, which is located about 100 km to north. While all individual components within site by some means have an adequate management system, an overarching integrated management plan/system for the extended World Heritage Site still needs to be established, as well as a coordinative body for integrated management (World Heritage Committee, 2018). The Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve management structure includes annual audits, which equate to a management effectiveness with multi-agency auditing (Ministry, Health, Forestry, Fire control, Police, etc.). Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve has also undertaken a very detailed assessment of its management with regards to tigers through the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) assessment system and was the second site to receive approved status under this system in 2015.
There is limited information available on the management of the Goralij Zoological Preserve and efforts to protect this component part is not equal to those of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park (IUCN Consultation, 2020). There is a need for improvements in management and protection of this refuge area.
Boundaries
Mostly Effective
The boundaries appear generally adequate, although Goralij Zoological Preserve occupies a very narrow coastal strip and may be subject to strong edge effects. In 2018, the World Heritage Site was extended to include Bikin National Park, established in 2015. The boundary of the newly established Bikin National Park is adequately determined and land tenure rights fully transferred to the National Park in September 2018 by a Government Decree of the Russian Federation (WWF Russia, 2019). However, establishment of a buffer zone of the National Park, which is currently ongoing (State party of Russian Federation, 2018), is needed for ecological connectivity (IUCN, 2018).  
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Mostly Effective
Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve is surrounded on three sides by State Forest Lands (GosLesFund) that are legislatively mandated to be managed as forests, and hence, by definition, they provide suitable corridors and linkage to the newly extended property component Bikin National Park and further to the greater Sikhote-Alin Mountain Ecosystem. However, large-scale logging activities going on in the wider Sikhote-Alin range is an issue for connectivity (IUCN, 2018) and better planning and regulations are needed to ensure long-term protection of the site’s values. There is wide collaboration with stakeholders around the protected areas. The northern boundary of Bikin National Park coincides with the border between the Primorsky and Khabaravsky Krays regions. Therefore, coordination and cooperation across sub-national administrative levels is important, including in terms of buffer zones and broader connectivity considerations. It has also been recommended that consideration be given to strategies ensuring connectivity of Amur Tiger habitat at the landscape level, including adding further areas to the property (IUCN, 2018).
Relationships with local people
Mostly Effective
The governance structure of nature reserves in Russia provides few opportunities for stakeholder involvement; Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, however, has an active education programme (see below) and is making attempts to better involve the small local population in management. For instance, ecological tourism, although limited, is increasing. Also, local people now have strictly managed access to parts of the Reserve for fishing and summer bathing. There is some local involvement in management e.g. local provision of information about possible or already happened violations (e.g. poaching). Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve is an important employer in the town. Staff are known and the HQ and staff well integrated into the local community – and thus feedback into management activities is common.  In the Bikin National Park, 674,184 hectares (58.1%) of territory is explicitly designated for exclusive traditional natural resource use by Indigenous People, who are living in adjacent settlements. Therefore, direct involvement of local people in management and the decision-making process is crucial for Bikin National Park. Resource use and cultural rights are acknowledged in both the establishment of a decree and regulations of the National Park, as well as a Council for Indigenous Minorities, with 15 elected members. Co-management principles have been introduced where the chair of the Committee for Indigenous Minorities serves as one of several Deputy Directors of the National Park, responsible for traditional nature resource use in the territory of the National Park. The National Park is also a major local employer.
Legal framework
Some Concern
While the legal framework for protection of individual protected areas, particularly strict nature reserves and National Parks at Federal level, is strong, the Russian Federation lacks a framework law to define the unified management of World Heritage sites, which often consist of several protected areas of various designations. This is also the case for the Central Sikhote-Alin Natural Heritage Site, where an effective overall management framework for all component parts is lacking. Most of the conservation activities, research and data tend to focus on the activities at Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park, which currently makes up the majority of the site. At the same time, the Goralij Zoological Preserve component, which is a regional Protected Area, is suffering from a lack of coherent management and is not even mentioned in state of conservation report (State party of Russian Federation, 2020).
Law enforcement
Highly Effective
Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve has a three year ‘rolling’ plan, which includes a protection strategy. There are also plans for patrolling, infrastructure, firefighting, etc. A database is maintained on wildlife offences / crime, which is also used to analyze threats. The Protection Units carry out joint patrolling with the Police, Hunting Supervision (adjoining hunting concessions) and Frontier Guards and with a forestry team in logging areas. Threat levels appear to be low; in 2014 six illegal hunts were recorded (of ungulates) and 64 trespasses into the reserve area. This led to fines of 275,000 roubles in total. However, while the reason for a slow recovery of the tiger population after a crash in 2010 is unknown, one possibility is that persistent poaching is preventing growth of the population. Despite the lack of road infrastructure, the National Park is accessible by boat in summer time and by snowmobile in wintertime and potential threats come from neighboring settlements. In 2019, the Park administration therefore established three checkpoints in the territory and further five checkpoints are being planned (State Party of Russian Federation, 2020). Poaching levels seem to be low inside the Park, but poaching is difficult to address in the headwater areas of the Bikin River due to its remoteness.
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Some Concern
The extension of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site to include Bikin National Park in 2018 was based on recommendations of the World Heritage Committee (2001). In the the decision of the inscription, the Committee strongly recommended the State Party a) to complete the process of configuration and designation of the property's buffer zone and b) finalize the preparation of the Integrated Management Plan for the extension, to provide a single and cohesive framework for the management of Bikin National Park and the existing World Heritage property Central Sikhote-Alin as a whole (World Heritage Committee, 2018). The process of configuring a buffer zone and the development of an integrated management plan for all component parts are still ongoing. The Committee further encouraged the State Party to i) strengthen the involvement of local indigenous people in governance, planning and management; and, ii) develop and adopt a long-term vision in order to ensure connectivity of Amur Tiger habitat at the landscape level, as well as considering extending the property in the future (World Heritage Committee, 2018). While the former has been addressed by the State Party, no information has been provided on the latter (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020).
Sustainable use
Mostly Effective
No natural resource use is typically allowed in Strict Nature Reserves of the Russian Federation (such as the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve), and it appears that no natural resource use is allowed in Goralij Zoological Preserve (Bersenyev et al., 2006). However, Bikin National Park is especially designed to allow traditional natural resource use such as hunting and fishing in the Traditional Use Zone (674,184 hectare) by Indigenous People, who are living in adjacent settlements. The National Park has also a Recreational Zone (109,625 hectare) located along the Bikin River and parts of some of its main tributaries, where recreational activities including fishing tourism is allowed. Fishing tourism is controlled through an entrance point to the National Park. Indigenous resource use is granted in defined areas to individuals. It requires no permits and there are not quota system. 
Sustainable finance
Mostly Effective
Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve has been able to increase its budget (thanks to effective management and involvement in high profile international processes such as CA|TS). No information about the funding of the Goraliy Zakaznik is available.
The recent establishment of the Bikin National Park was accompanied by an encouraging investment permitting the rapid establishment of critical infrastructure. Over the years, the National Park has benefited from several NGO and bilateral projects (WWF, 2019).
Staff capacity, training, and development
Mostly Effective
No information on Goraliy Zoological Preserve is available. However, staffing numbers and training are adequate in Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park and gaps in capacity and training are being effectively mitigated.
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
There is one qualified interpretation professional on the staff of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve. Interpretation and presentation programmes are conducted mainly with school children. Upgrading of the visitor centre is nearly complete (CA|TS, 2015). An educational program for children on “Safe Conduct” aims to improve understanding of how to co-exist with tigers (Mukhacheva et al., 2015). Nature guides (employees of the ecological education department) lead environmental tours within the Reserve and provide educational information and  booklets for visitors. The Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve website and Facebook account are updated often. The Bikin National Park has an active education programme targeting hunters, children and local residents through regular events such as the "Va: kchay ni" in March, dedicated to the closure of the hunting season; the "Bikin Day" in August, dedicated to the International Day of Indigenous People of the World; and the "Va: kchay ni" in October, dedicated to the opening of the hunting season and celebrating the establishment of the Bikin National Park. The children's club "Friends of Bikin National Park" is very active in engaging children through different activities (State Party of Russian Federation, 2020). 
Tourism and visitation management
Mostly Effective
10-12 international visitor groups and about 1,700 local visitors (mainly to beaches) visited the property in 2000 (UNEP-WCMC, 2011). In 2015, a new flight route was established between Vladivostok and Terney, leading to an increase in the number of tourists. Since then, numbers have fluctuated between about 2700 and 4000 visitors per year (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020). There is no tourism management plan for the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, although there are plans to develop one. New tourism trails have been developed covering about 1% of the reserve (not far from the main town and along the coastal edge). There have been a few homestays arranged for tourists. The site is very remote and mass tourism is not likely to be an option or threat. Bikin National Park has limited opportunity for international tourism due to its remoteness and lack of infrastructure, but very high potential for domestic tourists from regional big cities such as Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, especially for recreational and fishing purposes. In February 2018, the Government of the Russian Federation approved a complex programme for tourism development on the territory of Bikin National Park (WWF Russia, 2017).
 
Monitoring
Highly Effective
Sikhote-Alin State Reserve has monitoring records going back 80 years, all of which are available in the HQ office, and monitoring protocols are in place. Monitoring of tigers (through both track counts and camera trap monitoring) and ungulate population status is included in the long-term research plan. Habitats are mapped (in 1980s a detailed map and report of all forests were made with details of species, age etc.). Permanent monitoring of key habitats is carried out. The monitoring is carried out through permanent sample plots and ecological transects in different natural zones. There are 45 sample plots in primary and 22 in secondary ecosystems and six ecological transects exist. Water sources are mapped. Hydro-biological monitoring of water sources both in the core area and buffer zone is part of the Research programme. SMART monitoring of law enforcement activities has been in place since 2011 (CA|TS, 2015). Currently, the following monitoring activities are carried out annually inside of Bikin National Park: meteorological observation; monitoring of the main animal and bird species; and monitoring of the Tiger population through camera traps (State Party of Russian Federation, 2020).
Research
Mostly Effective
Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve has been a centre of scientific research activities for many decades, with several monographs and ca. 500 scientific articles published. There is international scientific co-operation, especially with the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bersenyev et al., 2006). Since the establishment of the Bikin National Park, the administration has been undertaking inventories of the Park's fauna and flora and studies of predatory vertebrates in the reference ecosystems of the Bikin River Basin (State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020).  
The protection and management of Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve underwent a major change in 2013 (including a new manager) leading to stronger, more dynamic, adaptive and scientific management. The population of tigers has been secured and is increasing again and the reserve is acting as an exemplar of good management in the region and beyond.
Bikin National Park was established in 2015 and was inscribed as an extension to the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site in 2018. While protection and management are still in their development stage, the Park administration has made great progress and the participatory approach, including a Council for Indigenous Minorities representing indigenous peoples interests in the administration, is likely to lead to local support for Bikin National Park.
The three components of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage site are still largely managed separately, with very limited joint measures. While all individual components have an adequate management system and legal framework for protection, an overarching integrated management plan still needs to be established, as well as an effective coordinative body and a framework law to define the unified management.
 
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Mostly Effective
An effective management system is ensuring threat levels are kept low. However, potential impacts from threats linked to illegal activities, disease (e.g. canine distemper, WCS, 2014) and climate change remain possible. Large-scale logging activities in the wider Sikhote-Alin range, and especially around the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, is affecting the ungulates population, it increases the risk of forest fires and poaching for the wildlife trade, and is also an issue for connectivity. Better planning, dialogue with the logging industry and regulations are needed to ensure long-term protection of the site’s values.
World Heritage values

Vast complex of pristine temperate forest of exceptionally high plant biodiversity

Low Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The overall status of the ecosystems of Sikhote-Alin State Nature Reserve and Bikin National Park was characterized as exceptionally good in 2006, primarily because of its remoteness (Bersenyev et al., 2006). Monitoring systems are in place and no major change has been detected. Although climate change, forest fires and logging pose some threat to this value, and the destruction caused by high winds of the typhoon LionRock in 2016 greatly increased the risk of catastrophic fires.

Diversity of animal species at the margins of their distribution ranges and their unusual assemblages

High Concern
Trend
Stable
Poaching has reportedly affected key wildlife populations inside the property, including that of Amur Tiger. Incidences in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve are less common than in the surrounding forests. However, because both tigers and prey range outside the boundaries of the Reserve, poaching can impact the Reserve even when it occurs outside of its boundaries (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Poaching levels are perceived as low inside of Bikin National Park, but poaching is difficult to address in the remote areas of the Bikin River headwater. Potential for poaching is still high due to the dense network of logging roads through the territories adjacent to both component parts. Large-scale logging activities and hunting/poaching in the wider Sikhote-Alin range, and especially around the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, also affect ungulate populations, increase the risk of forest fires and is an issue for ecological connectivity (IUCN, 2018; State Party of the Russian Federation, 2020).

Endangered and endemic animal species

High Concern
Trend
Improving
As reported in the 2014 Conservation Outlook Assessment, there had been a major fall in numbers of the Amur Tiger population (from 17 adults in 2010 to six in 2012; Miquelle et al, 2015). This rapid "collapse" was due to multiple sources of mortality and very poor recruitment of young for a few years (Miquelle et al, 2015). The population was recovering, but has now stagnated at a number of 20 or less, and there is some concern of what is preventing further recovery, in addition, some parts of Sikhote-Alin have not been colonized since the collapse of the population in 2010 (IUCN Consultation, 2020). This should be a reason for high concern.
Sources of mortality were wide ranging, including canine distemper, natural sources of mortality including infanticide, and some poaching. Recovery has been slow however, suggesting that some threats, like poaching (even though mostly outside the boundaries of the Reserve), may be slowing growth (IUCN Consultation, 2020). The nomination dossier of the Bikin National Park highlighted that some 40 Tigers (10% of the total population in the region) live in the Bikin River Valley and serves as a reproductive center of the northeast group of Tigers (State Party of Russian Federation, 2017).   
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
High Concern
Trend
Stable
Although there was a rapid “collapse” of the Amur Tiger population, due to multiple sources of mortality and very poor recruitment of young for a few years, the population is now rising and populations seem stable and are clearly able to recover after collapse. By 2015, tigers were increasing again to a population of between 13 (2015 track counts analysis) to 20 individuals (2015 track counts plus camera traps analysis).
Poaching has reportedly affected key wildlife populations inside the property, including the Amur Tiger. Potential for poaching and illegal wildlife trade is still high through the road network created for industrial logging activities in adjacent territories of the site. Large-scale logging also affects ungulate populations, increases the risk of forest fires and obstructs ecological connectivity.
The overall integrity of the forest ecosystems of the site appears to be in a good state, however, climate change, forest fires and logging pose some threats.

Additional information

Direct employment
The three component parts of the property offered ca. 159 jobs in 1999, a number that could probably be increased if additional areas would be included in the property as recommended by Decision 25 COM X.A (2001). In addition, a significant number of jobs (possibly hundreds of jobs in tourism, natural resource use etc.) could be created in the course of eco-tourism development and the development of sustainable natural resource use schemes within the property (Bersenyev et al., 2006).
Wilderness and iconic features,
Sacred natural sites or landscapes,
Sacred or symbolic plants or animals,
Cultural identity and sense of belonging
The forests inside and around the site are one of the most unusual and bio-diverse wildernesses in Eurasia, with considerable wilderness values and iconic importance. The forest and many places, features and species within Bikin National Park are of intangible cultural and spiritual value for Indigenous People of the region. Tigers and bears are major spiritual symbols. 
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - High
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Overexploitation
Impact level - Low
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Collection of medicinal resources for local use,
Outdoor recreation and tourism,
Natural beauty and scenery
Nature based tourism is practiced at a very moderate intensity on the property (UNEP-WCMC, 2011). If developed in a responsible way, the site may offer a unique opportunity to experience an undisturbed wilderness and biodiversity. This might also contribute significantly to income generation for its component protected areas and the socio-economic development of the region. The forest offer locally wild-collected medicinal and traditional medicinal plants for local Indigenous People.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - High
Pollution
Impact level - Low
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Invasive species
Impact level - Low
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Legal subsistence hunting of wild game,
Collection of wild plants and mushrooms,
Fishing areas and conservation of fish stocks
The intact and productive forest in the Bikin National Park is teeming with fish and wildlife, and is rich in countless other non-timber products which underpins the local livelihood system for Indigenous People living in adjacent settlements.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - Moderate
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - Low
Trend - Continuing
The property provides a wide range of conservation benefits, as well as resources, which underpins the local livelihood system for Indigenous People. At the same time, it appears that some potential benefits such as those associated with tourism and sustainable biodiversity resources management are currently underused, and could be turned into an income and livelihood supporting instrument for the protected areas constituting the property, as well as the people living around it. This could also be used to incentivize local inhabitants to support the sustainable management of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 WWF Russia Various projects on Tiger conservation, community co-managed PAs (including in Bikin area), anti-poaching and anti-logging activities.
http://www.wwf.ru/about/where_we_work/dvo/eng/
2 Wildlife Conservation Society (USA) PA network creation, anti-poaching activities, veterinary programmes in relation to possible canine distemper infections in tigers, tiger-friendly business initiatives.
http://www.wcs.org/saving-wild-places/asia/sikhote-alin-forests-russia.aspx
3 Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards The Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve was the second site globally to be awarded CA|TS Approved status after undergoing a rigorous peer reviewed assessment of its tiger conservation and management.
4 The Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution at Russian Academy of Science (IEE RAS) The Amur Tiger Programme aims to develop a scientific platform for the conservation of the Amur Tiger living in Russia. The objective of the programme is to study the distribution range of Amur Tiger population, the number and migration routes, and way to use landscape.
http://programmes.putin.kremlin.ru/en/tiger/program

References

References
1
Bersenyev, Y. I., Tsoi, B. V., Yanova, N. V. (2006). ‘Protected Areas of Primorskiy Region’. Vladivostok: WWF Russia, Russian Far East Branch. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012. (in Russian)
2
Bobrovsky, M.V. (2019). The history of fires in old-growth Korean pine-broadleaved forests in the middle reaches of the Bikin River (western slope of the Sykhote-Alin mountains) according to dendrochronological and pedoanthracological data. Russian Journal of Ecosystem Ecology, (1). DOI 10.21685/2500-0578-2019-1-2
3
Butorin, A. and Kreindlin, M. (2006). ‘World Heritage Status for Unique Territories in the Bikin River Valley?’ Russian Nature Conservation 40: 35.
4
CA|TS (2015) Form F2 – CATS Sikhote-Alin assessment dossier, 6-7-15. CA|TS. Unpublished report
5
Gromyko, M.N. Long-term seasonal dynamics of forest fires. 2010. Pp. 86-103 in Fires and their influcence on the natural ecosystems of the central Sikhote-Alin. DalNauka, Vladivostok.
6
IUCN (2001). ‘World Heritage Nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation: Central Sikhote-Alin, Russian Federation’. Gland: IUCN. [Electronic reference] h. Accessed 16 June 2012.
7
IUCN (2012b). ‘The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species’. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012.
8
IUCN (2018). World Heritage Nomination – IUCN Technical Evaluation, Bikin River Valley (Russian Federation). In: IUCN World Heritage Evaluations 2018, IUCN Evaluations of nominations of natural and mixed properties to the World Heritage List. WHC/18/42.COM/INF.8B2. [online] Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, pp.51-62. Available at: <http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2018/whc18-42com-inf8B2-en.pd…; [Accessed 28 May 2020].
9
Kokorin, A. O. (Ed.) (2006). ‘Climate Change Impact on Ecosystems of the Amur Basin’. Moscow: WWF Russia. Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012. (in Russian with English abstracts)
10
Lypustin, S. N., Fomenko, P. V. and Pervushina, H. V. (2010). ‘Illegal Trade in Objects of Fauna and Flora from the Russian Far East (2007-2009)’. Vladivostok: WWF Russia, Traffic Europe-Russia and Apelsin Publishers. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012. (in Russian)
11
Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation (2012a). ‘Sikhote-Alinskiy State Biosphere Reserve’. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012. (In Russian)
12
Miquelle, D.G, Smirnov, E.N., Zaumyslova, O.Y., Soutyrina, S.V. and D.H. Johnson (2015) Population dynamics of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik: 1966–2012. Integrative Zoology; 10: 315–328
13
Mukhacheva, A.S., Derugina, V.V., Maksimova, G.D. and S.V. Soutyrina (2015) Amur tiger conservation education program: A pilot study on program effectiveness, Integrative Zoology; 10: 403–407 doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12145
14
Panichev, A.M, Pikunov, D., Bocharnikov, V., Seryodkin, I., (2012), Natural changes in plant and animal life in the Bikin river basin connected with climate change (in Russian), [online], ResearchGate, Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275652917, [Accessed 22 March 2020]
15
Pimenova, E.A., Gromyko, M.N., Bondarchuk, S.N., Malysheva, V.F., Malysheva, E.F. and A.E. Kovalenko (2016) Post-fire Successions of Vegetation and Pinus koraiensis Ectomycorrhizal Communities in Korean Pine–Broadleaf Forests of the Central Sikhote-Alin. Achievements in the Life Sciences 10: 48–56
16
Simonov, E.A. and Dahmer, T. D. (Eds.) (2008). ‘Amur-Heilong Reader’. Hongkong: Ecosystems Ltd. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012. (in Russian)
17
State Party of the Russian Federation (2017), Nomination of Bikin River Valley (Extension of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage Property), [online], World Heritage Committee/UNESCO, Available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/766/documents/, [Accessed 22 March 2020]
18
State Party of the Russian Federation (2018), Supplementary Information to Nomination of Bikin River Valley as Extention of the Central Sikhote-Alin World Heritage Property, [online], World Heritage Committee/UNESCO, Available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/766/documents/, [Accessed 22 March 2020]
19
State Party of the Russian Federation (2020), Report of State Party to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of Central Sikhote-Alin, [online], World Heritage Committee/UNESCO, Available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/766/documents/, [accessed 22 March 2020]
20
UNEP-WCMC (2011). Central Sikhote-Alin, Russian Federation. UNEP-WCMC World Heritage Information Sheets. [Electronic reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012.
21
Vladimirova N, Krilov A, Milakovsky B, Purekhovskii A (2016) Influence of roads and logging on fires in forests in the Russian Far East. For Policy Mod Russ 2:5–9
22
WCS (2014), For tiger populations, a new threat, [online], ScienceDaily, Available at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141106113206…, [accessed 22 March 2020]
23
WWF Forestry Programme (2007). ‘The Russian-Chinese Timber Trade: Export, Supply Chains, Consumption, and Illegal Logging’. Gland: WWF Forestry Programme. [Electronic Reference] . Accessed 16 July 2012.
24
WWF Russia (2018), The Bikin National Park: 3 years of work for wildlife conservation, [online], Moscow, Russia: WWF Russia, Available at https://wwf.ru/en/resources/news/amur/, [Accessed 21 March 2020]
25
World Heritage Committee (2018). Decision: 42 COM 8B.9. Central Sikhote-Alin (Russian Federation). In: Report of decisions of the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Manama, 2018). [online] Paris, France: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, pp.188-190. Available at: <https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/7122>; [Accessed 28 May 2020].
26
Zaumyslova, O.Y. and S.N. Bondarchuk (2017) Assessment of the Long-tailed goral (Naemorhedus caudatus: bovidae) population status in the Sikhote-Alin Reserve using camera-traps Nature Conservation Research. Заповедная наука 2017. 2(Suppl. 1): 151–163

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