Steppe under protection
Prospects for extending the steppe protected area network in Kursk Province
Alexander V. Poluyanov, Natalia S. Malysheva (Kursk State University, Kursk)
The biogeography of steppe communities in Kursk Province and their current conservation status are summarised. At present, steppe ecosystems in this region are protected only within four out of six portions of the Central Black Earth Nature Reserve. Previously-existing regional steppe protected areas were deproclaimed in 2009. In agricultural regions where steppe tracts are highly fragmented and not linked by ecological corridors, even small areas can have high conservation value. Frequently, they are rich in biodiversity and feature rare plant and animal species that require protection.
Within the “Improvement of the Coverage and Management Efficiency of Protected Areas in the Steppe Biome of Russia” project, researchers from Kursk State University began preparations for establishing new steppe nature monuments in Kursk Province. In summer 2011, areas potentially suitable for new protected areas were surveyed. Data collected previously by researchers of Kursk State University and Central Black Earth Nature Reserve were analysed. Based on all available information, a protected area development plan for Kursk Province was drafted. Short descriptions of each of the proposed sites, together with recommendations regarding their optimal protection status, are given.
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