On April 22, the whole world celebrates Earth Day. For 50 years now, many environmental and peacekeeping events and actions around the world have been taking place on this day. Their participants note that this is “not so much a holiday as an occasion to once again think about the problems of a fragile and vulnerable environment, the problems of the relationship between man and the world.” Let us also think about what role protected areas play in the difficult mission - the preservation of our common Home.
"There is no Planet B" Source: https://twitter.com/UNESCO
The world today faces many challenges, including biodiversity reduction, global warming, ocean acidification, and uncontrolled deforestation. The cause of these problems are people, but we can become their solution. To do this, we need teams of scientists, rangers, educators and leaders who are able to create the conditions for the work of all the team members. This is exactly what the team of a successful nature reserve, national park or any other specially protected natural area looks like. The well-coordinated work of this particular environmental protection mechanism gives future generations a chance to see untouched nature.
Today, more than 10% of the planet’s land is withdrawn from economic use - this is tens of thousands of different protected areas. There are legends that the world's first reserve was created on Sri Lanka Island in the III millennium BC, but it is difficult to say exactly how it functioned.
A real “explosion” of the idea of protected areas around the world occurred in the late XIX - early XX centuries. One of the first people who admittedly created the concept of a national park was George Catlin. Catlin’s idea was to create special plots of land that were not involved in normal industrial or agricultural development, “in which humans and animals would coexist, surrounded by the natural beauty.”
European system of protected areas developed in parallel in many countries. In 1972, after the United Nations Conference on the Environment, the creation of biosphere reserves became part of the Earth Patrol program implemented by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
A biosphere reserve is different from a national park. It not only preserves the natural ecosystems and the gene pool of the region, but also the cultural and historical significance of the territory for its inhabitants, does not protect nature from people, but provides the necessary tools for working together to preserve it. An important idea in the concept of biosphere reserves is the balance between the protection of natural and cultural heritage and the desire for the development and well-being of the residents. In 2019, the network of biosphere reserves included 701 territories in 124 countries of the world. All of them are very different and exist in unique natural, economic and social conditions, however, experience similar difficulties. Exchange of experience and a simple dialogue between participants allow us to find solutions and make work more efficient.
Author: Igor Shpilenok. Source: http://www.kenozero.ru/
The Russian system of protected natural areas is one of the largest and most developed in the world. In 1917, the country's first Barguzinsky Nature Reserve was created, which successfully completed its mission of preserving the sable, which was on the verge of extinction. Since then, over 13,000 specially protected natural areas of federal, regional and local significance have been created in Russia, the total area of which is more than 11% of the entire country. Many of them have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are extremely important for the whole world.
Each territory has its own mission. For example, the largest protected natural area in Russia - the Russian Arctic National Park - preserves the cultural, historical and natural heritage of the western sector of the Russian Arctic. Join the virtual journey and get a little closer to this beautiful land.
Another outstanding team of the conservation system is the team of the Kenozersky National Park. Among dense forests and marshes, man and nature coexist harmoniously, the features of the original Russian way of life, culture and traditions are preserved. For 28 years, colleagues have been keeping a true soul and landscapes of the Russian North. Come and visit , because you are always welcome.
We in the Commander Islands Nature Reserve preserve the gene pool of rare and endemic plants and animals of the insular ecosystem of the Commander archipelago. It's the work of the Nature Protection Department, which monitors the environmental regime in the territory, as well as the Science Department, where employees study the ecology of terrestrial mammals, pinnipeds, cetaceans, birds, fish, conduct botanical studies and monitor all key objects of the natural territory, as well as its landscapes.
Researchers in the Commander Islands Nature Reserve. Photo by Artem Komarov
In the northern part of Bering Island, on the territory of the reserve, there is the only settlement of the indigenous people of Aleuts. The reserve’s tasks also include preserving their traditional way of life. We respect the rights of local residents to traditional hunting, fishing and egg collection, and try to ensure a balance between traditional nature management and the preservation of a fragile and unique ecosystem. To maintain this balance, the reserve team is in constant dialogue with local communities of nature users.
In fact, the teams of all the protected areas of Russia are unique, but they are united by enthusiasm and healthy fanatical devotion of people to the preservation of the fragile nature of our planet - our common Home. If you want to influence our future and help reserves and national parks, but have not become a professional biologist, ecologist or geographer yet, then remember that we are always glad to make new friends. Think about how your talents and hobbies can help your favourite or the closest reserves and feel free to write to their staff. Your support is very important to us, even if it’s just good wishes!