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Polygon tundra, Lena Delta, Sakha Republic, Siberia, Russia
The Lena delta is one of the largest still pristine river deltas in the world. Its many naturally meandering arms form a magnificent tree-like shape. And ice wedges in the fine sediments of the treeless tundra form regular polygons with small ponds. The whole of the Lena Delta area has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On August 12, 1996, the Russian Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) significantly expanded the Lena Delta state nature reserve. At 14,330 square kilometres, the Lena Delta reserve ("Zapovednik") was already one of the largest and most important nature reserves in the Arctic. With its new size of 61,320 square kilometres, the expanded Lena Delta Reserve is now the largest protected area in Russia and one of the largest on earth. It is, however, only a small part of Sakha’s “Gift to the Earth”. Sakha, a republic approximately the size of Western Europe, decided in 1994 to designate at least 20% of its territory as a nature reserve.