Nature Parks of Altai
Chagat Almashev (Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai, Gorno-Altaisk, Russia)
The Altai Republic is in the process of seeking for optimal model of territorial organization for its sustainable development which will combine traditional land use, conservation of its environments, associated biological and ethnic-cultural diversity. Altai has well developed Protected Areas’ (PA) network which covers more than 22% of its territory. State nature zapovedniks &qquot;Altaisky&qquot; and &qquot;Katunsky&qquot; have federal status, and financed by federal budget while 4 zakazniks, nature monuments and 6 nature parks have regional status and are financed by the republic’ budget.
The first nature park &qquot;Belukha&qquot; was established in June 1997 and comprising 131337 ha. It is located in the area of the highest peak of Siberia – Mt. Belukha (Uch-Sumer, 4506 m). The second park – Nature and economic Park (NEP) &qquot;Chui-Oozy&qquot;. It is local adoption of biosphere reserve micro scheme with its principle of territory division into three functional zones (core, buffer and development) declared by the Seville strategy on biosphere reserves (1995). &qquot;Koby&qquot; (valley, in the Altai language) principle of valley division of the Altai people is taken as the main principle of zoning with its functional areas (summer and winter pastures and areas not allowed for any economic activities, hunting and etc.) The third one – Ethnic and nature park &qquot;Uch-Enmek&qquot; incorporates indigenous approach in organizing protected area where core zones are ranges of the sacred mountains, rock pictures, petroglyphs, etc. Scientific studies held later showed that biodiversity hotspots coincide with A zones identified as sacred sites.
By December 2004 five nature parks were officially registered and established in the Altai Republic. Because of proposed amendment to the federal law &qquot;On Protected Areas of the Russian Federation&qquot; which aimed at transfer of the regional parks lands’ onto the federal at status and ownership. Later this amendment was withdrawn at the federal level but the Altai Republic’ Government liquidated all parks. Leaders of parks and local communities united in NGO &qquot;Association of Protected Areas of Altai&qquot; lobbied local interests and insisted in reestablishing status of liquidated parks. Thanks to this NGO constructive work besides reestablishment of all parks one more park – the biggest park &qquot;Quiet zone Ukok&qquot; was created. Now we have six parks in Altai totaling 254 000 ha: nature park: NEP Argut (20,500 ha), NP Belukha (131,337 ha), NP Katun (73,100 ha), NP Ukok (254,000 ha), NP Uch-Enmek (65,000 ha), NEP Chui-Oozy (9,538 ha). One more park &qquot;Ak Cholushpa&qquot; (173,400 ha) along the watershed of the Chelushman River is .
Due to absence of adequate experience and lack of necessary legislative base the nature parks of Altai have a lot of development problems. For instance Ministry of Finance of the Altai Republic should develop list of allowed economic activities for parks and sign &qquot;general agreements&qquot; with the park management (licensing), Altai Government should issue annual quotas for attendance of protected areas, e.g. Mt. Belukha, Ukok Plateau and officially authorize parks management to gather entrance fees and charges for land use and etc. We do hope that these recommendations will be taken into attention of a newly established Committee of natural resources, environment protection and tourism of the Altai Republic. Nature parks of Altai represent unique experience worthy replicating within the Russian regions.
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