Conservation and Restoration of Steppe in Orenburg Province
Sergey M. Katasonov (Parliament of Orenburg Province)
Despite the major importance that steppe ecosystems have for agriculture and the environment, they do not enjoy legal protection in Russia.
The urgent need to provide legal definitions of a number of terms, such as ecosystem, biodiversity and steppe, is emphasized. It is also very important to develop and introduce a system of environmental assessment of areas, including the criteria and requirements necessary to undertake improvements.
The most advisable way in which to change legislation is to make land use and farming more environmentally-friendly and, in particular, to differentiate types of land use within the steppe biome.
Some examples of successful environmentally-friendly changes in regional legislation are given, namely in Kursk and Voronezh Provinces and the Republic of Kalmykia.
The author believes that one of the ways to contribute to the conservation of steppe areas is through ecotourism development. A recently-approved provincial tourism development program incorporates the Orenburg Tarpan Land pilot project which is planned to be developed and implemented. An interesting experience of Enotaev District in Astrakhan Province, namely the Breathing Steppe ethno-cultural program, is mentioned.
It is stated that the long-term and comprehensive conservation of natural ecosystems on farmland and steppe communities in Orenburg Province and Russia as a whole is not possible without public recognition of their value and relevant changes in policy.
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Work bulletin on conservation of steppe ecosystems and sustainable use of steppes
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