Two new natural wonders - the Wadden Sea, on the coast of Germany and the Netherlands, and the Dolomites Mountains in Italy have been inscribed on the World Heritage List, following International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s recommendations. After one year of evaluations, IUCN presented the findings of its expert missions to the World Heritage Committee, currently meeting in Spain.
The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of inter-tidal sand and mud flats in the world. It is one of the most important areas for migratory birds.
'Coastal wetlands are not always the richest sites in terms of the fauna found there, but that is not the case for the Wadden Sea,' says Pedro Rosabal of IUCN's Protected Areas Programme. 'The number of fish, shellfish and birds the system supports is simply staggering. Biodiversity on a worldwide scale is reliant on this special ecosystem,' he continues.
The Dolomites in Italy have been inscribed on the World Heritage List due to their outstanding natural beauty and the geological significance of their limestone formations.
'This highly distinctive mountain range is exceptionally beautiful,' says Tim Badman, IUCN's Special Advisor on World Heritage. 'Spectacular pinnacles, spires and towers of limestone rise abruptly from gentle foothills. They are widely recognised as one of the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world.'
With the new additions, the number of sites increases to 201.