Steppe under threat
Steppe conservation in south-west Crimea: hardships of Karan’sky Nature Refuge
L. Bondareva, T. Pankeeva (Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas, Sevastopol)
In September 2006, Sevastopol authorities made a decision to reserve a portion of land in the Gerakleisky Peninsula for conservation purposes. In 2007, all scientific documentation required for the establishment of the Karansky botanical nature refuge was prepared. However, the protected area that was lobbied for by the local community has still not been established yet, while local media occasionally publish information on proposed housing development projects within the area in question.
The area of the proposed nature refuge comprises over 1,000 ha of land and sea previously used for military training. Compared to largely developed and changed lands in the vicinity of Sevastopol, this area features high biological and landscape diversity and includes some steppe communities. Over 50 rare and endangered wildlife species listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, international red data lists and endemic and rare and endangered plant communities listed in the Green Data Book of Ukraine occur within the area. Experts believe the area must become part of ecological networks of regional, national and European levels. A detailed summary of the vegetation and flora within the proposed nature refuge is given.
Despite the high proportion of protected areas in the Sevastopol region (30.2% of the total area), most of them are located in the coastal areas. They do not include steppe communities and are not representative of the diverse regional natural ecosystems. Karansky nature refuge will help to balance the Crimean protected area system and become a missing link for the regional ecological network.
Botanical nature refuge, Karansky, Green Book of Ukraine, subtropical forest, biological and landscape diversity, ecological network, Crimean nature, Gerakleisky Peninsula, Sevastopol, steppe vegetation, grassland
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Work bulletin on conservation of steppe ecosystems and sustainable use of steppes
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