National natural sanctuaries

Sikhote Alin National Natural Biosphere Sanctuary

Laso National Natural Sanctuary

Ussuri National Natural Sanctuary

Kedrovaya Padj National Natural Sanctuary

Hanka National Natural Sanctuary

Far East National Marine Natural Preserve

     National natural sanctuaries are essentially nature-protection, research and eco-educational institutions designed to preserve and study the natural course of natural processes and events, individual species and communities of plants and animals.
    Sanctuaries are fully exempt from economic utilization of protected natural complexes and objects (soil, water, mineral wealth, flora and fauna) of nature-protection, scientific and eco-educational significance as specimens of natural ecological environment, typical or rare landscapes, and gene pool preservation site of various plants and animals. Sanctuaries protect biological diversity by maintaining the natural state of existing natural complexes and objects, engage in research, keep chronicles of Nature and conduct ecomonitoring within the framework of Russias national system. Sanctuaries also take active part in ecological education, ecological examination and training of nature-protection specialists.
   Today, Primorye has six sanctuaries, more than in any other part of the Russian Federation. However, they are relatively small in area. Their total area is 679,423 ha, including sea area65,900 ha and Lake Hanka5,900 ha, or 4.1% of Primoryes total area. The latter is 7,1 times less than the corresponding area of Kamchatka, 2.5 times less than that of Magadan Region, and 2.4 times less than that of Khabarovsk Territory. Sikhote Alin (biosphere preserve), Laso and Khanka sanctuaries function under the Russian National Committee for Environment Conservation, and the rest under the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ussuri National Natural Sanctuary and Kedrovaya Padj being directly subordinate to the Institute of Biology and Soil Science, F.E. Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Far East National Marine Preserve to the Institute of Marine Biology, F.E. Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences.

    In recent years, Primoryes sanctuaries have considerably expanded their international contacts. Many of them have begun taking part in Russias international commitments involving various conventions and programs. Meanwhile, the overall situation in Primoryes sanctuaries is deteriorating. The scope of research and nature-protection is declining, this being primarily due to the current dire financial situation. The increasing number of people who have to subsist mainly at the expense of taiga and sea resources leads to greater infringements of existing prohibitions and to decline in animal populations. This, in turn, does not allow guaranteeing preservation of rare and disappearing animal and plant species even in preserves.
    Unfortunately, the existing network of sanctuaries cannot fully support biologic diversity, since the boundaries of preserves are quite often drawn with no consideration for ranges of populations of major protected species, while populations of numerous rare species have not been included in extra-protected natural ranges (EPNR). Hence, the need for expanding existing sanctuaries and creating and expanding around them protective and buffer zones recommended by Primoryes Ecological Program, and also to organize other categories of EPNRs.

Yu. BERSENEV, Expert, Primorye Territorial Duma.