Russian plateau, Italian mountain join World Heritage list

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UNESCO officials meeting in Brasilia Monday added a Russian plateau to the list of World Heritage sites and expanded a Swiss listing to include the Italian face of a mountain with important fossils. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee announced the additions in a statement that said the list of culturally and environmentally unique sites on its list had now grown to 911.

Russia's Putorana Plateau, located in Siberia near the Arctic Circle, "harbors a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range," it said.

It noted that reindeer migrate across the zone in "an exceptional, large-scale and increasingly rare natural phenomenon."

Italy won a listing with an extension of the area of Monte San Giorgio, a forest-covered mountain that sits on the border with Switzerland. The Swiss side of the mountain was given heritage status in 2003.

The expansion to the Italian side recognized the mountain's importance in containing "the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245-230 million years ago)."

The new listings are in addition to 27 other sites also included on the World Heritage list by the UNESCO committee, which was meeting in Brasilia over 10 days. The meeting was due to wrap up Tuesday.

© 2010 AFP

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