Hanka National Natural Preserve (land area of Lake Hanka 5,690 ha) is located
in the western part of Maritime Province (Primorye).
Its main objective is to preserve the natural complex protected by the international convention “On Internationally Significant Water and Bog Lands,
Chiefly as Water Fowl Habitats” (Ramsar Convention, 1971), and also to improve the highly complicated ecological situation in the basin of Lake Hanka.
The Preserve territory is divided into five isolated sites situated in five administrative districts (Hanka, Khorol, Chernigovka, Spassk and Kirovka). However, the Preserve does not include a number of water-bog lands that are basically significant for the Russian side to implement its commitments under the Convention. Two-thirds of the populations of the mainly protected species in the region (Japanese and Daurian cranes, Far Eastern stork, etc.) have been ignored.
The Hanka Preserve is governed by the terms of the following international agreements: Soviet (Russian)-Japanese Convention “On Protection of Migrating Birds and Endangered Bird Species, and Habitats Thereof” (1973, prolonged in 1991); Soviet-Korean (KPDR) Convention “On Protection of Migrating Birds, Endangered Bird Species, and Habitats Thereof” (1987); and Soviet (Russian)-Korean (Republic of Korea) Convention “On Protection of Migrating Birds, Endangered Bird Species and Habitats Thereof” (1994).
A major problem for Hanka Preserve is the 16,000 ha bombing range situated within the protected zone. Round-the-year bombings are a highly disturbing factor for nesting birds and a source of grass fires.
Hanka Preserve Includes preferentially boggy landscapes (grassy bogs and meadow plant communities) along the shores of Lake Hanka, and also its inlets and littoral belt. In some places there are small slopes and hills, covered with rare forests represented chiefly by oak groves. The partially intact, one-time vast flooded shores have no similar plants and animals elsewhere. Six hundred and sixteen vascular plant species related to 343 genera from 107 families, including 49 rare and disappearing species (Komarov lotus, frightening euryala, Shroeber’s brazenia, etc.), and also 523 algae species grow in the area. Three hundred and thirty-three bird species have been registered here. Russia has no other site equal in area to boast as many bird species (44) recorded in her own Red Book and that of the International Nature Protection Union (INPU), including eleven nesting species, e.g. the Far Eastern crane, the Japanese and Daurian stork, the Asian snipe-like Limosa melanusa, and many other species that do not nest in other Russian Far Eastern sanctuaries. Forty-eight mammal species inhabit the Preserve, including four species entered in the Red Books of the USSR and Russia; seven reptile species, including the Red Book Far Eastern leather turtle, six amphibians, sixty fish species (including two Red Book species), twelve rare and disappearing insect species, among them the epycopea and nossa species, both absent in other Primorye preserves.
Neighboring China also has a sanctuary in the basin of Lake Hanka, but its nature management regimen substantially differs from the Russian system. Yet, in 1996 it was resolved to create an international sanctuary on the basis of the two preserves. Work is currently under way to coordinate the boundaries and regime
of the future internationally protected natural range.
Hanka Preserve LandscapesYu. BERSENEV, Expert, Primorye Territorial Duma.