The Hustai Declaration on Eurasian steppes
to reverse steppe destruction and to respond to the challenges of climate change.
Eurasian steppes form a belt of natural temperate grasslands that stretches from the plains of North-East China into the puszta of Hungary. The steppes gave birth to the evolution of many familiar animal species like horses, sheep and camels. Flowers like the tulip, iris and anemone find their origin on these grasslands. Nowadays the steppe landscape has been highly altered by human activities driven by population growth and the economy of markets. In large parts of the steppes the original grassland has been converted to crop land, and many of the original animal and plant species disappeared. Undisturbed steppes have become very rare in Europe. Larger tracts of original steppe only remain in Asia, in Kazakhstan, the Ural, Tuva and Mongolia. More recently climate change is putting additional and severe pressure on the steppe ecosystems, with serious consequences for steppe biodiversity and for the people that depend on the products and services delivered by the steppe ecosystems.
Protection and restoration of steppes has shown positive results in some isolated places inside the steppe belt, from Slovakia to Inner Mongolia in China. There is an urgent need to connect these individual activities into one coherent package, in order to reverse the trend in steppe degradation and to cope with the impact of climate change.
Appeal to the world community
An international conference in 2010, the year of biodiversity, at Hustai National Park in Mongolia brought together scientists and managers of steppe ecosystems to discuss the present state of the steppes. It was obvious that during the twenty years that evolved after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the conservation of steppe did not receive the attention that these ecosystems deserve. Protected areas in the steppe belt mostly cover specific biotopes like lakes or mountains. The steppe themselves are seriously underrepresented.
Participants of the conference make an appeal to national governments of the steppe belt and to the international community to
Hustai National Park, Mongolia, 11th of September 2010
For more information about status, threats, and possible solutions, please contact Dr. Tatyana Bragina, Thematic Group Leader on Eurasian Steppes of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of IUCN.
International scientific-applied conference «Nature Conservation: achievements, challenges and prospects»
February 15-16, 2019, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
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