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The network of Russia's protected areas has been expanded by three reserves

Shaman under protection

Today in Russia there are more than 19 thousand specially protected natural areas, the total area makes up at least 13% of the entire territory of the country. Towards the end of the departing 2017 in Khabarovsk province, three nature reserves were established, which increased the area of the state protected areas by another 121,000 hectares.

Almost 50 years ago, the Institute of Water and Environmental Problems, based on its own research, voiced the need to introduce the Tiul-Shaman massif into the network of state protected areas. Real steps in implementing this idea were made only five years ago and not without the help of the Russian branch of WWF.

Reserves that increased protected areas by 121 thousand hectares

Reserves that increased protected areas by 121 thousand hectares, photo © wwf.ru

From the late 90's to the early 2000's, the terrible fires that broke out on the Lower Amur burned huge forest tracts to the ground. Tiul-Shaman suffered less than the others, making it one of the few guarantors of the restoration of the region's biological balance. Fearing for the safety of the biodiversity of the mountain range, the World Wildlife Fund together with the scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) organized the first expedition to the Tiul-Shaman mountain in 2012.

The expedition brought many amazing discoveries to zoologists, forest experts and botanists. This unique islet of the Ussury taiga, the refugium of broadleaf forests, surrounded by the characteristic vegetation of the Lower Amur, has become a real miracle. It would be criminal to continue exposing the danger. Fires were still the main threat, but poachers, mercilessly exterminating the ungulates living here, inflicted no less damage. The decrease in their numbers, among other things, was also dangerous for the expanding range of the Ussury tiger in this direction.

In 2012, the first expedition to the Tiul-Shaman Mountain

In 2012, the first expedition to the Tiul-Shaman Mountain, photo © wwf.ru

For five years, the organizer of expeditions to the mountain was Brian Milakovsky - coordinator of forest projects of the local branch of the Wildlife Fund. Together with the scientific supervisor of the project, Alexander Ermoshkin and his team of scientists, a tremendous effort was made to describe and justify the reserve. Thanks to their painstaking work, now Tiul-Shamanbecame the landscape foundation of the new reserve.

This place is unique, because, perhaps, only here the representatives of southern vegetation with northern flora so closely adjoin, and the tundra intertwines with taiga, steppes and marshes with a bizarre mosaic. In addition, that the mountain range is of unprecedented biological and ecological value, it is also delightfully beautiful. From a distance, the mountain looks like a gray-haired shaman, and the clouds around it create the illusion that the old man is smoking a pipe.

Brian Milakovsky is the coordinator of forest projects of the local branch of WWF

Brian Milakovsky is the coordinator of forest projects of the local branch of WWF, photo © wwf.ru

On December 28 of last year, along with the decree on the creation of the Shaman-Yai reserve, two more were signed: the formation of the Nimelinskiy reserve and the Simminsky eco-corridor. The latter is organized to preserve the natural routes of migration of large animals, including Amur tigers, which are guarded with special care today. In addition, this area in the Selgon and Ukur River basin is home to many plants and animals listed in the Red Book of Russia.

North of the corridor is the Nimelinsky Reserve, which has a huge biological significance for the Khabarovsk Territory. Here, on the territory of almost 30 thousand hectares, rare animals also live, but the main thing is that thousands of Pacific salmon come here to spawn.

In the Nimelinsky Reserve, thousands of Pacific salmon come to spawn

In the Nimelinsky Reserve, thousands of Pacific salmon come to spawn, photo © wwf.ru

The protected High Conservation Value Forests network is now capable of protecting the entire biodiversity of the region. Therefore, we can safely say that the Ecology Year has ended for Khabarovsk Territory on a really optimistic note.

Victoria Romanova, Russia, Moscow

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