Preserves and sanctuaries play a major role in nature protection.
Yet, their insular state does not allow them to embrace the entire diversity
of Primorye’s nature to ensure preservation of the gene pool of all rare
plant species. Dozens of rare plant species either do not occur in preserves
or grow in numbers that do not ensure reliable preservation. Besides, numerous
other natural objects requiring protection are situated beyond preserves
and sanctuaries. The most acceptable form of protected natural territories
for such objects would be natural monuments, an organizationally flexible
form restricted to just several hectares, and characterized by rather strict
(almost absolutely preserve) nature protection conditions. At present 214
diversified natural monuments with different nature protection conditions
have been revealed in Primorye (all of them possessing regional status,
albeit nine have been recommended for federal status). In addition, ninety-four
more objects have been recommended for endorsement as natural monuments.
Those where rare plant species grow have been recommended as most significant natural monuments. To begin with, those are lotus lakes in Hanka District, in Ussuri River basin and on Puttiatin Island, and Lake Brazenievoye with rare hydrobionta, Schroeber’s Brasenia, and mulberry and apricot groves in Oktyabrsk District.
Along with protection of genetic resources, natural monuments also fulfil a standard function, protecting as they do standard and unique ecosystems. Senkina Shapka in Oktybrsk District is a monument with standard significance. Situated on the right bank of River Razdolnaya at Zarechnoye Village, the hill Senkina Shapka reminds you from afar of huge turtle with raised head. The hill top is composed of diabase bosses that filled the Neocene volcano crater. Neocene porous basalt covers have been preserved in the hill upper section, where they cover the more ancient deposits. The eastern hill slope is covered with secondary oak forest, and in the western sector, at the foothill and in the lower part of the slope the forest is composed of larchwood with prevalence of linden. Such rare plants, like the Chinese Schizandra, peonies and lilies grow here. The upper section of the western slope is covered with lowland oak groves. The Baikal Scutellaria, a rare species, occurs in the lightest places. But the most interesting here are cliff communities, growing on top with numerous rare species (unfurling Selaginella, ligule Pyrrhosia, Siberian apricot) and a rocky steppe site with Siberian thread leaf, Baikal feather grass and other rare species.
The natural monument Kamennye Shchoki at Chernyatino Village in Oktyabrsk District is a standard of rocky communities with rare species. Here, the River Razdolnaya saws the Paleozoic intrusion that forms almost vertical cliffs along both river banks and residual rocks composed of rosy granite in the estuary. Ligule Pyrrhosia and curling Selaginella grow here on cliffs.
Sikhote Alin meteorite craters belong to comprehensive natural monuments. On February 12, 1947, meteorite rain resulting from asteroid decomposition into tens of thousands of particles fell on the taiga on 2 sq. cm in Sikhote Alin to cause large fragments to form over 120 holes and craters.
Among other natural monuments, the caves of Dalnegorsk and Spassk Districts are notable for their uniqueness and beauty. The caves of Ekaterininsk massif and Chandalas ridge in southern Primorye belong to natural historical monuments. They served as a winter haven for tribes inhabiting southern Primorye in Paleocene. Graffiti by an ancient painter still exist in Spiashchaya Krasavitsa (Sleeping Beauty) cave to this day. Spassk cave (total corridor length over 1 km), the largest in Primorye, is located at the base of the northern slope of Mt. Malaya Sopka. Its inner decoration is strikingly beautiful with transparent lakes, one of them very large, with stalactites and stalagmites reflecting in the water. Cave Mokrushinskaya (southwestern slope of Mt. Zarod) is one the best known in the Russian Far East, and in the number and variety of its halls, corridors and galleries the most interesting one in Primorye. Again, in the Russian Far East it is unique in wealth and diversity of different-age chemical deposits, including stalactites, stalagmites, stalagnates, cascade incrustations, screens, and sinter crusts. The cave is one of the largest in Primorye (length 760 m, depth 49 m, volume 3,300 cu m). The fourth largest and most beautiful hall is in the upper tier. It has eight small lakes, and in the northwestern corner a labyrinth of passages between stalactite columns of specific color, from blue and greenish to red-brown. The cave has a unique lake, one of the largest (300 sq. m) in Europe.
Numerous water bodies are also being protected, including Sikhote Alin mineral sources, waterfalls and springs. Bolshoi Amginsky Waterfall, the highest in Primorye, is located on River Amgu, Ternei District. It is 35 m high, and the way to it lies along a narrow, deep canyon. The canyon width gradually increases, and you see the thousand-jet waterfall dropping along the wall in a cliff-surrounded basin. In winter, a gigantic icicle hangs instead of the waterfall, and the canyon walls form a continuous ice passage. Again, in winter avalanches often fall into the waterfall basin. Primorye’s most significant Rekordnyi Waterfall is also on River Amgu, whose waters drop into the canyon in a foamy column from a thirty-meter terrace.
The largest natural monument includes the waters of Inlets Expedition, Novgorodskaya and part of Pallada Roadstead Inlet.
LIST OF NATURAL MONUMENTS
V. BOGATOV, Laboratory for Fresh-Water Communities, Institute of Biology and Soil Science, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences.
E. SAENKO, Laboratory
for Fresh-Water Communities, Institute of Biology
and Soil Science, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences.