The Altai mountains in southern Siberia form the major mountain range in the western Siberia biogeographic region and provide the source of its greatest rivers - the Ob and the Irtysh. Three separate areas are inscribed as World Heritage Site: Altaisky Zapovednik and a buffer zone around Lake Teletskoye; Katunsky Zapovednik and a buffer zone around Mount Belukha; and the Ukok Quiet Zone on the Ukok plateau. The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest stepe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine begetation. The site is also an important habitat for endangered animal species such as the snow leopard.
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