Central Sikhote-Alin, Russian Federation

Geographical Location

Central Sikhote-Alin (45°19'60.00"N, 136°10'0.00"E) is a World Heritage Site located to the north and north-east of the Primorski Region, within the districts of Ternejski, Krasnoarmejski, Dalnegorski and Pozharski in the far south-eastern part of the Russian Federation. This part of the Primorski Region is located within the limits of the west and east Central Sikhote-Alin slopes in the Amur-Primorye physico-geographical Province. Four individual protected areas (three officially designated, one without designation) constitute the nominated site, but they are not all interconnected. The Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve (Zapovednik) and Goralij Preserve (Zakaznik) are situated in the eastern part of the Province at the mid-altitudinal ranges of Sikhote-Alin in the districts of Ternejski, Krasnoarmejski and Dalnegorski. Both protected areas have a component of their boundaries extending along the Japanese Sea coast. The TTNU and "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve (Zakaznik) are both situated in the north-eastern part of the Province, in the middle and upper part of the valley of the River Bikin in the Pozharski District between the borders of the Krasnojarovskoye and Okhotnichye forestry.

The territory of the nominated site is bounded by the geographical coordinates: extreme northern point: 47°18'N, 137°06'E; extreme southern point: 44°48'N, 136°30'E; extreme eastern point: 46°40'N, 137°54'E extreme western point: 45°45'N, 135°15'E.

Date and History of Establishment

The nominated site comprises a number of well-established protected areas.

caption Taiga in Sikhote-Alin Mountains. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On the 10th February 1935, the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve was established under the All-Russia Central Executive Committee's and Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR Decree "About the approval of the network of full Nature Preserves with the whole-state importance". Other legal acts which followed, that determine its current status included the Primorski Regional Council of the Workers' Deputies Decision No.376 (border regulations) from 14th April 1976, and a resolution of the 20th Session of the UNESCO General Conference enabled the appropriation to the Sikhote-Alin State Nature Preserve the status of Biosphere Reserve in 1978. Decree No. 344 of the Head of Administration of the Primorski Region from 12th July 1994 (border widening), Order No. 298-p of the Government of the Russian Federation from 29th February 1996 (growth of the territory of the Preserve) and Decree No.621 from 10th June 1999 (widening of the territory of the Preserve) are also relevant.

The Territory of Traditional Nature Use (TTNU) and nut-hunting zone was initially created under the Decree No. 165 of the Primorski Regional Administration Head "About the territory of the traditional nature use of the small peoples inhabited in the Pozharski District" from 11th June 1992, along with the Decision of the Small Council of the Primorski Regional Council of the People's Deputies "About the protection of the settlements and economic activity of the small peoples in the Primorski Region" No.316 from 25th August 1993. Goralij Zoological Preserve was established by Decision No. 376 of the Primorski Regional Council of the Workers' Deputies "About the regulation of the boundaries of the Sikhote-Alin State Nature Preserve" on 14th April 1976 and "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve was established by Decree No.468 of the Primorski Regional Governor "About the creation of the State natural landscape Preserve "Verkhnebikinski" with the regional importance" on 15th September 1998.

Area

The nominated site has a total area of 1,631,923 hectares (ha) comprising the following sites: Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve 472,928 ha (including a terrestrial core zone 398,528 ha, a marine core zone 2,900 ha, a terrestrial buffer zone 65,250 ha and a marine buffer zone 6,250 ha); TTNU 407,764 ha; "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve 746,482 and Goralij Zoological Preserve 4,749 ha. The Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 340,200 ha.

Land Tenure

All the terrestrial areas and water bodies of the specially protected territories included within the nomination of the natural complex of "Central Sikhote-Alin" are the property of the Russian Federation. The State has the authority to determine the use of the Nature Preserve and other Preserves, protecting the lands, waters, flora and fauna. The State also maintains the historical-cultural objects, other (man-made) constructions and any object of real-estate that are situated within the boundaries of the specially protected territories, in the capacity of operative management. Management of the protected areas occurs directly through the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia and also by its local Vladivostok branch. The buffer zones are co-managed by the federal and regional governments, with also some involvement from the municipal governments.

Altitude

Ranges from between 0 and 1,900 meters (m) above sea level, from the Japanese coast to the high points of the watersheds.

Physical Features

Overall, the Sikhote-Alin ecosystem is characterized by a complex system of mountain ridges, river valleys, intermontane depressions and mountain plateaus, running in a general south-west to north-east direction. The rugged peaks that alternate with broad, mountain plateaus were formed during the late Tertiary - early Quaternary periods as a result of outflows of basaltic and andesite lavas, and the edges of these plateaus are usually located at an elevation of between 650-680 m, often cut with deep, sometimes canyon-like river valleys. Although the mountain range's peaks are not particularly high, many are above the treeline, and have remnants of ancient mountain glaciation and alpine formations.

Due to historical tectonic activity, the geographical position of the Far East has had ancient connections with the North American continent as well as with Central and Southeast Asia. Hence, the southern part of the Far East, where Central Sikhote-Alin is situated, is uniquely characterized by the ancient "Turgai" fauna and flora species composition. The River Bikin basin dominates the northern part of the nominated property, encompassing the TTNU and "Verkhnebikinski" territories. This is the only basin on the western slope of the Sikhote-Alin, where two-thirds of its territory has not been significantly subjected to anthropogenic pressures. The basin of the middle and upper reaches of the Bolshaya Ussurka (Iman) River, which is the largest tributary of the Ussuri River, is the most representative fragment of the natural complex of the region, the upper reaches of which are in the locality of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve/Biosphere Reserve. This area supports an extremely rich floral and faunal diversity where the landscape is varied with pure mountain rivers, bare rocks and lush vegetation. There are many different ecosystems present, including spruce-fir forests, the most varied larch forests and most importantly the pine-broad-leaf forests which are the most characteristic formation in the south of the Far East.

Overall, the Central Sikhote-Alin nomination incorporates a natural complex containing mountain and valley taiga and components along the Japanese Sea coast that are connected by their unified origin, as well as by the historical and continuing dynamic natural developments. Morphological structural movements during the Neogene-Quaternary period, along with the effects during the Quaternary partial valley glaciation, has determined the relief formations. This has created a peculiar relief complex that is different from northern and southern parts of the range. This complex includes a considerable altitudinal range of 1,900 m ranging from the Japanese Sea coast to the highest watershed marks. Within this altitudinal belt, there are a great number of vertical and horizontal erosion outcrops, a diverse range of rock types and considerably wide break beaches at the coast. The upper belt of the high mountain landscape of Sikhote-Alin contains the largest volcanic plateau (Bikin-Peisk) of the region and also the largest intermountain depression, that has filled up with friable alluvial sediments.

Climate

The atmospheric and climatic conditions of Sikhote-Alin are predominantly determined by its peripheral location on the vast Eurasian continent. Oceanic air masses shift onto the continent in the warm part of the year, and this pattern reverses during the winter. The climate is strongly influenced by the regularities of the typical monsoon conditions of the Primorski Region, the severity of the monsoon (especially rainfall) being far stronger in Central Sikhote-Alin areas than in territories lying further south. The summer weather patterns are characterized by two stages - the first from May to July with a comparatively small amount of precipitation compared to the second monsoonal stage from the second half of July through to September, when 80-85% of the annual precipitation falls. The average annual precipitation varies widely across the region, with 850-900 millimeters (mm) falling across the majority of the Bikin basin, rising to 1,000 mm (or even 1,500 mm) in the upper mountain belt.

Weather patterns during the winter are much more uniform, when dry, cold air masses originating from eastern Siberia predominate. The absolute air temperature minimum at the source of River Zeva reaches -40C and in the middle part of the Bikin River valley it can fall to as low as -50°C. The average number of frost-free days along the coast is 122-150 days, which decreases further inland, and on the western limits of the nominated property there are less than 100 frost-free days.

Vegetation

caption Rhodiola rosea. (Source: University of California Irvine)

According to the scheme of geobotanical regions of the Far East, the constituent parts of the nominated property are located within the Terney District of the Far East Province of pine-broad-leaf and oak forests of the East Asian coniferous-broad-leaf Region and also in the Sikhote-Alin District of the Amur-Sikhote-Alin Province of the South Okhotsk dark coniferous forest Sub-region. The varied altitudes of the region have created various vegetation belts, the limits and relative position of which are determined by numerous factors including the level of exposure (e.g. from winds determining moisture levels), aspect and gradient. Generally, the upper altitudinal limits of the vegetation belts are lower on the eastern marine slopes than on the western continental slopes. The nominated property of Central Sikhote-Alin is of paramount importance because it contains all the major ecosystems of the entire region, and the majority of the plant formations remain in an undisturbed condition.

The flora of the Central Sikhote-Alin is unique, with the virgin pine-broad-leaf, dark coniferous, bright coniferous forests and high mountain plots (with Betula ermanii, Pinus pumila, Rhododendron sp. and Rhodococcum vitis-idaea). Almost 1,200 species of higher (vascular) plants are found here, many of which are either becoming increasingly rare or even extinct in this territory. This loss of biodiversity appears to be occurring to a greater degree here compared to any of the other regions of Russia. A number of key ecosystems are present including spruce-fir forests, the most varied types of larch forests and the pine-broad-leaf forests, all of which are characteristic of the southern Far East. The High and Middle Mountains contain fragments of mountain tundra, as well as alpine meadows. The mountain slopes and plateaus are dominated by dark coniferous taiga and larch forests. The Korean Pine Pinus koraiensis appears in the lower part of the belt of fir-spruce forests and in the transition strip of the pine-spruce and spruce-pine forest forms. Vast mari, humid and dry meadows are located in the floodplains of the lower river.

Species richness and the biodiversity value in these forests are very high. For example, the pine-broad-leaf forests (the Manchurian complex of forest formations) contain a total of 30-40 wood and brush-type species and more than 70 grass species, which combine to form a complicated 5-6 multi-layered structure. The Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and other protected territories of the Bikin valley contain the different types of pine forests and smaller transitional formations in the Manchurian complex, which are in an undisturbed condition, and contain all the characteristic types of flora and fauna. The Okhotsk taiga complex is also broadly represented in the region, including numerous different types of spruce-fir forests that are populated by the northern Okhotsk fauna complex.

Many relict species from the Tertiary Period are still present, including Pinus koraiensis, Taxus cuspidats*, Picea ajanensis, Quercus mongolica, Fraxinus mandshurica, Onoclea sensibilis and Osmunda asiatica. The River Bikin valley has a particularly high concentration of rare and relict plants. In an assessment of only the upper parts of the valley, more than 20 species have been identified that are included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. 34 vascular species that occur here are at their limits of their range, including Rhododendron redowskianum maxim, Microbiota dicussata*, Ilex rugosa, Bergenia pacifica* and Rhodiola rosea. The territory contains the following rare vegetation assemblages: the complex of valley pine-broad-leaf forest associations - Pineto koraiensis - Nemoreta vallisus; the group of broad-leaf-pine associations with Betuleto costatae - Pineta koraiensis taxosa cuspidatae; the group of pine forest associations with Fraxineto mandshuricae - Pineta koraiensis coniogrammosa intermediae, the group of spruce forests associations with Piceeta ajanensis caricosa schmidtis and the formation of larch forests - Lariceta kajanderis.

Rare vascular plants that are found on the territory, which require protection include: Pyrrosia lingua*, Selaginella tamariscina*, Coniogramme intermedia*, Nuphar minor*, Symplocarpus renifolius*, Lilium distichum*, Cypripedium guttatum*, Pogonia japonica*, Lichnis fulgens*, Paeonia lactiflora*, Panax ginseng*, Rhododendron mucronulatum*, Abelia coreana*, Microbiota decussata*, Calipso bulbosa*, Galium paradoxum* and Fritillaria ussuriensis*. Rare lichens in need of protection include: Centaria komarovii*, Coccocarpia cronia*, Hypohymnia hypotropella*, Leptogium hildenbrandii*, Lobaria retigera*, Menegazzia terebrata*, Phytoconis viridis* and Asahinea scholanderi*.

[* denotes species which are listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.]

This region and the nominated site is situated within one of IUCN and WWF's "Centres of Plant Diversity" (CPD's), known as "Primorye" in Central and Northern Asia. This CPD is located in southern far eastern Russia, bordering with North Korea and China. There are 1,850 vascular plant species present, with a high level of species endemism, accommodating an association of north temperate and subtropical elements.

This nominated site is also, at least partly, located within one of WWF's Global 200 Ecoregions, nominated for high priority conservation status and high biodiversity value. This Ecoregion is described as - "Russian Far East Temperate - Palearctic - Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests".

Fauna

The Central Sikhote-Alin natural complex has no less than 15 biogeographical faunal assemblages. More than 400 species of vertebrates have been recorded in this region, including 241 bird species, 65 mammals, 7 amphibians, 10 reptiles and 51 fish. But, by far, the most charismatic species is the critically endangered Amur tiger Panthera tigris altaica.

The creation of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and other protected territories in the River Bikin valley, along with the imposition of the temporary ban on the hunting of Manchurian red deer Cervus elaphus xanthopygus (the main prey of Amur tigers) and the total ban on killing the tigers, meant that between the 1930's and 1980's the number of Amur tigers increased several fold. But, by the beginning of the 1990's threats to the tigers in the region returned. This highlighted the need to protect the species through an improved system of protected areas, and also provided the realisation of the requirement that conservation strategies must also incorporate the economic requirements of the local populations. In the River Bikin valley there are 30-35 Amur tiger individuals, whose home-range stretches into the lands of the neighbouring rivers - the Khor and Great Ussurka (Iman) as well as on the Japanese Sea coast. A survey in 1995 estimated that there were more than 40 tigers within the limits of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and its neighboring plots (the most in any particular protected territory), and this preserve serves as a reproductive center of the north-east group of Amur tiger (which amounts to nearly 100 individuals).

Of the 65 mammals, 31 are concentrated in the pine-broad-leaf forest belt, including Manchurian red deer, wild boar Sus scrofa, Himalayan black bear Ursus thibethanus (VU), sable Martes zibelina and red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris, all of which are hunted commercially by the local human population. The valleys of the larger rivers and floodplain areas also contain considerably high numbers of mammal species because of the high density of suitable habitats. Other mammals include brown bear Ursus arctos, common otter Lutra lutra (VU), Siberian weasel Mustela sibirica, mink M. vison, roe deer Capreolus capreolus and mountain hare Lepus timidus.

The 241 bird species come from 17 orders. 72% of the species are nesting species, the other 28% being termed are either wintering or summer migrants or vagrants. 130 breeding species are found in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve, the main ornithological associations being: 40-45 species in the pine-broad-leaf forest complex, almost 40 species in the pine-spruce forest complex and 30-35 species in the fir-spruce forest. The diversity of ecosystems provides habitat for 38 rare bird species. In the lower reaches of the river, red-crowned crane Grus japonensis (EN), hooded crane Grus monacha* (VU), oriental stork Ciconia boyciana (EN), black stork Ciconia nigra*, yellow-legged buttonquail Turnix tanki, Far Eastern curlew Numenius madagascariensis and grey-faced buzzard Butastur indicus* are present. The valley forests (Ulmus spp., Fraxinus spp., Tilia spp., Chosenis spp.) of the middle reaches are inhabited by osprey Pandion haliaetus*, mandarin duck Aix galericulata*, brown hawk owl Ninox scutulata, Chinese merganser Mergus squamatus* (VU) and Blakiston's fish-owl Ketupa blakistoni* (EN). On the other hand the upper reaches of the river that are covered by larch, dark coniferous and stone birch forests, provide refuge for capercaillie Tetrao parvirostris and Siberian spruce grouse Falcipennis falcipennis*.

[( ) denotes the category of threat of species listed in the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species].

There are 7 species of amphibians and 10 species of reptiles on the territory, including the rare and endemic species Takydromus wolteri, Elaphe schrenki, E. rufodesata, Agristrodon blomhoffi and A. saxatilis. In terms of fish, because the river system of the region was created during a period of deep antiquity - the Miocene, relatively stable environmental conditions aided the evolution of specialized fish populations. There are many endemic and valuable species, including the Far Eastern brook lamprey Lampetra reissneri. Within the Bikin River basin, 51 species have been identified and classified into 15 families. Of the insect fauna, 27 species are included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation, including Forficula vicaria*, Diestrammena unicolor*, Carabus schrenckii*, Pyrocaelia rufa*, Bombus spp*., Actias artemis*, Catocala fraxini*, Papilio spp*., Euthalia schrenckii* and Apatura iris*.

Cultural Heritage

Opening up of this territory by non-natives began in the 7th century AD, when Ilou hunters arrived from Zabaikalie. The process of interaction with the local tribes created a new Tungus-language society (Mukri). Further influence from ancient Turk and Mongol peoples resulted in the formation of the modern ethnic groups of the southern Tungus language group, namely Manchurians, Udege, Orochi, Nanai and Ulchi.

In the 1820's the Udege had four territorial groups. In the 1830's the Bikin Udege began to join together to form a single collective, when 13 camping-grounds were combined to form two villages, namely Olon and Krasnyi Yar, around which agricultural areas arose, and later "hunter" areas. The same process also took place with the Iman group, that was concentrated in the Sanchikheza settlement (later - Ostrovnoye). At this time the region was also inhabited by Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Russian Old Believers (church exiles), who lived similar lifestyles to the Udege. The Udege hunted for a co-operative in the Soviet era, but transition to a market economy has caused acute economic difficulties.

In terms of archaeological monuments on the nominated property, there are monuments deriving from the late Palaeolithic times (the northern enclave of the known Ustinov culture), located in the area of the middle reaches of the Taiozhnaia River. There is also evidence of Bronze Age settlements, as well as medieval fortifications. There are preserved relics from the numerous indigenous peoples - the Udege, Nanai and Orochi, as well as from the Old Believers, many of which are stored in the museum at Krasnyi Yar.

Local Human Population

The territory of the nominated object has a small total population (even for Siberia) of not more than two thousand people, of which a quarter belong to the indigenous small peoples, such as the Udege, Nanai and Orochi. Overall 60% of the population has involvement with the forests, with the aims of exploration of non-wood resources, intermediate wood cuttings and the stocking up of firewood. 35% are involved in services, management and municipal services.

There is no permanent population in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve, but on its southern boundary, the settlement of Terney is inhabited by 4,800 people and Plastun by 7,500 people. The Pozharski District (Bikin River basin) covering 1,110ha, also has a low population density with four settlements: Krasnyi Yar (958 people), Sobolinyj (321 people), Jasenevyi (128 people) and Okhotnichi (located within the Verhnebikinski Preserve) with 15 people. There are six farms within the buffer zone of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve.

Visitors and Visitor Facilities

At present there are very few foreign visitors as tourists to the territory, not exceeding 10-12 groups on an annual basis. On the other hand there is considerable recreational use by the local human population, as well as by hunters and fishermen. Disturbance to the natural complex is only visible around the outskirts of the settlements in terms of local pollution from sanitation and everyday rubbish. The fisherman can also lower the river fish stocks during mass uncontrolled visits.

The Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve is accessible via Plastun Airport with flights from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, as well as via the Vladivostok-Plastun road along the coast. Within the Nature Preserve there are eight possible excursions, ranging from 3 km to 120 km. Approximately 1,700 local people and tourists use the beaches in the Nature Preserve during the summer. 1,500 of these stay for a weekend and the remainder for a week or more. The entrance fee is 6-10 Roubles. Occasionally tourist boats visit the settlement of Terney, but there is a lack of local accommodation here, so tourists either camp or sleep on boats. Tourists can stay in the Nature Preserve's buildings at Blagodatnoye on the coast, and more accommodation in under construction in the buffer zone. The main bases for tourism are in the settlements of Okhotnichij and Krasnyi Yar, where there is a small Udege museum displaying indigenous people's traditions and local historical artefacts. The Nature Preserve administration is working alongside local farmers who hope to sell their produce to the tourists.

Ecological camps are organized in the summer for children as well as special excursions with qualified Nature Preserve guides. There are also possibilities for exotic tours in the Bikin region, travelling by Udege boats, with organized hunting and fishing activities and accommodation with the Udege families.

Local indigenous associations in cooperation with the Arctic Council and the UK work to promote tourism in the middle and upper parts of the River Bikin, with a focus on Udege traditional culture. A number of scientific institutes in Germany, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as WWF Germany, the Audubon Society (USA), Russian Natural Preserve Travel Company (Massachusetts, USA), Friends of the Earth - Japan, IUCN and others, show a great interest in the development of scientific and ecological tourism on the territory of Udege economic activity. The activities are also aimed at reviving traditional crafts.

Scientific Research and Facilities

Scientific monitoring of the condition of the natural complexes of Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and Goralij Preserve is carried out on 11 field research stations inside the Preserves and 2 in the buffer zone. This is currently the responsibility of the KRAI Committee of Natural Resources. Among the permanently monitored areas, 33 are for research into higher vegetation, 47 for animals, 2 for geology, 8 for soils and 2 to assess anthropogenic influences. These plots are monitored at various time intervals, ranging from monthly to 5-yearly periods. The results provide indications of the condition and dynamics of the ecosystem. At present, there are apparently no special measures required to maintain the current status of the Preserves.

Conservation Value

caption The Amur tiger, the world's largest cat, appears to be making a comeback. (Source: WWF-Canon / Hartmut Jungiu)

The Central Sikhote-Alin territory in the southern Far East is dominated by the unique, ancient "Turgai" flora and fauna species composition. Because of the biogeographical and historical peculiarities of the region, there are many different ecosystem types within the limits of the nominated property. The most widespread ecosystem is the pine-broad-leaf complex in the middle and upper reaches of the Bikin River. This is the only conserved integral forest of the once wide spread "Ussuri taiga".

The Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve/Biosphere Reserve is a unique territory that has been protected for over 60 years. It is unique in terms of the level of protection that it has received, as well as the longevity of this. Due to its relative isolation with difficult accessibility, the highly dense forests as well as the sheer size of the Preserve, it means that the natural ecosystems are virtually pristine complexes of the eastern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin range.

During the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods there were periods of speciation, and because there was only partial glaciation in this region, an abundance of relict and endemic species still remains. Of all the species existing within the nominated property, this territory is of exceptional importance for the conservation of the Amur tiger, for which this area is one of its last strongholds. Also within the River Bikin valley there are more than 20 plant species included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. There are also 38 rare bird species found here due to the high landscape diversity, a number of which appear in the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The nominated property also provides examples of considerable ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of ecosystems as well as of plant and animal associations. There is the unique combination of flora and fauna elements, with at least 15 biogeographical faunal belts. 31 mammal species have evolved a close interdependent relationship with the main floristic product - the Korean Pine nut. Another example of an important trophic relationship is that which has evolved between the Blakiston's fish-owl and its main prey Arctic grayling Thymallus arcticus and lenok Brachymstax lenok, which in tern rely on the stable riverine conditions that are provided by the untouched river valleys.

Conservation Management

The most recent protection measures are defined by the Federal Law of the Russian Federation "About specially protected natural territories" 1995 (articles 9, 33, 34 for Nature Preserves and 24, 35 for Preserves) and by a number of site-specific regulations. The methods to implement the measures set out by the articles of the Law and the regulations are varied.

The protection of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve is carried out by the State body of the region. Of the four protected areas forming the nominated property, this is the only one with a management plan, although it is now out of date. The protected area administrations ensure the preservation of natural and cultural values of specially protected natural areas. Conservation is carried out on a daily basis by the forest guards, and anti-fire protection of the forests is carried out by the anti-fire service.

The management plan for the period up to 2000, outlined a series of key measures, which included: to increase the size of the core and buffer zones; to expand the total surface area of water in the territory; to further organize the biosphere reserve; to establish forest protective measures in the protected zone as well as in adjoining territories belonging to the Federal forestry service and wood industrial enterprises; to improve measures for controlling forest fires; to create a regional center for ecological education; to establish a GIS and databases for the Preserve and its adjoining territories; and to improve the training of its staff. A longer-term program of nature protection and rational use of the natural resources of the Primorski Region has also been developed. This is an Ecological Programme lasting until 2005, that was created by scientists in the 'Far East department' of the Russian Academy of Sciences, along with a number of affiliated institutions. This Programme was approved in 1992 by the body of the legislative power of the Region (Kraisovet). The publication "A biodiversity conservation strategy for the Sikhote-Alin" was published in 2000.

Management Constraints

The most serious management constraint on the nominated territory is the threat of forest fires, which can lead to dramatic changes in the forest ecosystems. Between 1994 and 1998 there were 15 forest fires in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve, which affected areas ranging from 5 ha to 180 ha. In the oak forest belt such fires are often provoked by neighboring agricultural burns, but unless the fires re-appear within a few years, the wood layer is largely unaffected. However, fires that occur in the pine-spruce and spruce-fir forests usually cause more damage and changes. These ecosystems were strongly affected by fire in 1998 during hot, dry conditions, which were ignited by thunderstorm discharges. Often, secondary forests are established, composed mainly of birch and larch.

The main reason for an increase in the levels and dispersion of fire damage in the last few decades in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and Goralij Preserve is a climatic cycle of 10 dry years followed by 10 wet. The most susceptible periods are during early spring and late autumn when there is less precipitation. Fires are usually a result of human activities during these periods, while fires from lightening strikes usually occur in July/August and cause little damage due to the high precipitation during this period. A lack of funding for the fire service does not help the problem

Economic activities are absent in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve, and extremely limited in the adjoining territories. Low levels of poaching wild animals and harvesting valuable plant materials occur, which presents some concern.

Staff

In 1999, the total number of staff of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve and Goralij Preserve was 159. These were employed within: the head department (5 people); the department of administration and accounts (8); the department of preserve zone protection (74); the scientific department (23); the department of ecological education (6) and the remaining as support staff. Staff of the Bikin include the detachment "Tiger", who are responsible for the protection of the middle basin, and a manager of the "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve.

Budget

The total budget of Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve in 1999 was US$ 240,000, with 35% obtained from the Federal budget and 65% from international and national NGOs. In the TTNU and nut gathering zone (middle Bikin) the only income for conservation is from the Global Security Network in support of the activities of the "Tiger" protective-inspection detachment. The hunting rights of the "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve are currently leased to the Verkhne-Perevalnenski forest enterprise.

IUCN Management Category

  • Sikhote-Alin Nature Preserve Ia (Strict Nature Reserve)
  • Territory of Traditional Nature Use "Bikin" (TTNU). No IUCN designation
  • "Verkhnebikinski" Landscape Preserve IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
  • Goralij Zoological Preserve IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)

International designation:

  • Sikhote-Alin State Biosphere Reserve UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve
  • Natural World Heritage Site - Criteria iv

Further Reading

  • Hilton-Taylor, C. (Compiler) (2000). 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xvii + 61pp. ISBN: 2831705657.
  • Pacific Institute of Geography - Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok, Greenpeace Russia, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, Ecological group "Taiga", Primorski region and Bureau of the regional social campaigns, Vladivostok (2000). Central Sikhote-Alin. UNESCO - World Natural Heritage Nomination. 29pp + Appendixes.
  • WWF (2000) The Global 200 Ecoregions - A Poster Map. WWF, Washington.
  • WWF and IUCN (1994). Centres of plant diversity. A guide and strategy for their conservation. 3 volumes. IUCN Publications Unit, Cambridge, U.K. ISBN: 283170197X.
  • Zhuravlev, Y. N. (Ed.) (2000). A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Sikhote-Alin. A USAID Project Consortium led by CH2M EPT Environment and Policy and Technology Project.. 135pp. Vladivostok.

Useful Websites



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Glossary

Citation

M, U. (2008). Central Sikhote-Alin, Russian Federation. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/151028

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