The Maritime Province (Primorye
Territory) of the Russian Far East is distinguished by a singular specific
variety of plants and animals unmatched elsewhere in Russia. This is essentially
due to its geographic position and absence of surface glaciation during
global cooling (glacial periods) in Quaternary. As a result, Primorye underwent
a shift of cold- and and heat-loving plants and animals. In Russia, the
leopard lives only in Primorye, which is also the principal habitat of
the tiger. Again, over 440 bird species have been registered here in addition
to 149 rare and disappearing vascular plant species. The problem
of preserving unique diversity of plants and animals calls for nature
protection measures basically involving specially protected natural ranges
A Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Specially Protected Natural Ranges (SPNR) adopted on March 14, 1995 reads as follows: Specially protected natural ranges are areas of land, water and surrounding air housing natural complexes and subjects characterized by singular nature protection, scientific, cultural, esthetic, recreation and health-improvement significance and withdrawn in accord with resolutions of state authority agencies either fully or partially from economic use, and special protection conditions have been established therefor. Specially protected natural ranges belong to
national property facilities.
The following SPNR categories shall be distinguished:
- national natural reserves, biosphere preserves inclusive;
- natural parks;
- national natural reserves;
- natural monuments;
- arboretums and botanical gardens;
- health-improvement localities and resorts.
Specially protected natural ranges may have federal, regional or local significance.
This trend in nature-protection activity in Primorye has developed over numerous decades, albeit not always consistently, as most clearly exemplified by preserves (sanctuaries). The first one (Cedar Creek Valley) was organized back in 1916, notably at the height of World War One, to become one of RussiaТs first sanctuaries. In 1932, the Ussuri (Suputinka) Preserve, initially functioning under the Alpine-Taiga Station, was founded on the initiative of Academician Vladimir L. Komarov. The Sikhote-Alin Preserve was organized in 1935; at the time, it was the biggest in the former Soviet Union and one of the worldТs largest. Simultaneously, Laso (Sudzuhe) Preserve, till 1940 a branch of Sikhote-Alin Preserve, was established. Both sanctuaries reached their maximum size by the mid-1940Тs (1,800 and 339 thousand hectares, respectively), but in 1951 the area of Sikhote-Alin became six times less, and Laso Preserve was eliminated to be reestablished only in 1957, this time only with an area of 173.9 hectares. In 1960, it was again cut in size, and began to grow only in recent decades. The Far East Marine National Preserve (FEMNP) was founded in 1978, and Hanka National Preserve in 1990.
All data taken from 1997
Yu. BERSENEV, State Committee for Environment
Conservation of Primorye Territory.