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National Park for a million

In the valley of the Bikin River, a national park with a size of more than 1 million hectares

National Park for a million

The Governor of Primorye, Vladimir Miklushevsky, announced that a national park with a size of more than a million hectares is being created in the valley of the Bikin River. At the same time, almost two-thirds of the land will be allocated for traditional employment of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the region. In this area there are about 600 representatives of small indigenous peoples of Primorye, whose main occupation is hunting fur-bearing animals and fishing.

In the valley of Bikin, the taiga has been preserved, which large timber companies have long claimed. The creation of a park means that the state gave priority to the interests of local residents. The implementation of the EastRussia project is commented on by Anatoly Lebedev, the famous seaside ecologist, laureate of the UN prize "Heroes of the Forest", who himself exerted a lot of effort to preserve the Ussuri taiga.

- Anatoly Vasilievich, something happened that no one believed: the status of the national park will be preserved from deforestation of the mountainous areas of Sikhote-Alin.

- Everyone who really cares about the fate of the "Amazon seaside" - Bikin, waited for this quarter of a century. Waited, then going out with weapons against the lumberjacks to the mountain passes, then finding hope, then making endless petitions in defense of the virgin taiga.

Bikin was lucky that he was home not only for Udege, but also for the tiger. Putin himself personally patronizes us.

I would like to sincerely thank Director of the Amur branch of WWF Yuri Darman for all the efforts he and his team have undertaken to substantiate this project both in the corridors of power and in the communities of the indigenous inhabitants of these places.

- Representatives of the Udege communities have long demanded the inviolability of their hunting grounds, but they usually paid little attention to their interests when it came to the development of the timber industry in Primorye. What outweighed the scales?

- Joint work of ecologists and the public. When Pavel Sulyandziga and I worked out the first timid prototype of a special sparing forest management regime for Bikin, taking into account the interests of the aborigines, we were asked: "How many forests there are - 1,5 million hectares, for 1,5 thousand people? This is for a thousand acres for everyone for nothing, when we here huddle each on six summer cottages. "

The Udege placed great hopes in these years on their outstanding compatriots, the brothers Sulyandzig, Pavel and Rodion, who made a brilliant Russian and international career. But Paul, entering the UN Permanent Forum on Aboriginal Affairs, quickly realized that the problems of Udege are the same as those of other Aborigines in different countries, and it is not easy to protect them. The struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples put the lives of great representatives of Aboriginal Australia, American and Canadian Indians, leaders of many forest tribes of the Amazon and Southeast Asia.

Moreover, it turned out that the small peoples of Russia within the USSR did not know many of the problems that were poisoning the lives of Aborigines in other countries. Realizing the social vulnerability of these communities, the state simply gave them everything necessary for a quiet life, buying their products, and no one thought that at the same time they were disaccustomed to being full citizens and to survive on their own. At the time of the wholesale Americanization of Russian ideology in the 90-s for the Soviet model of care for the Aborigines and their culture, even a special scientific term was borrowed - "paternalism", which meant something like excessive care. With an indispensable negative connotation. But it is worth remembering that this approach to people, and to their territory, firstly, took into account the interests of the majority, not just the elites, and was provided with real state and people's control, including environmental control.

- In Primorye, there was already an experience of creating a national park "Udege legend", but this project showed to the local population that the forest is protected not only from lumberjacks or poachers, but also from them. What changed?

- The experience of managing such territories has appeared. Personally, I think that the provocative campaign against the Udege Legend national park, created in 2007, was fanned by timber merchants. Bikin Udegei saw how difficult it is the process of formation of the national park in the neighboring Krasnoarmeysky district. Moreover, the leaders of the Udege community refused to support the idea of ​​creating a national park throughout the Bikin territory. The logic of some members of the community is simple: as long as our rent is our director, for us the main law is the experience of our ancestors, which never allowed us to harm the native nature of the nurse. And the official will come as the director of the park, and freedom and traditional culture will end. They will not let the natives hunt or fish, as they did not give in the nearby “Udege legend” on Bolshaya Ussurk, but they will open the gates to elite poachers. Local Udege people complained that they were not allowed to gather mushrooms or collect firewood.

The older generation of Udege thought that if the taiga had fed them well before, it would feed them now, in the era of business and democracy. In 2009, the "Tiger" community was given a lease for the forests of the nut zone of the middle Bikin. None of the Udege hunters was even interested, but who for them broke this lease. It seemed to them that justice fell from the sky, whereas in fact the money for the lease was allocated by the German government in the framework of the climate project of ecologists from WWF. They did not even think about who defended their forests from timber merchants who were torn to Bikin "with cuttings".

- So all the same, local people will have an opportunity to use forest resources?

- Problems can be solved, but not speculated on them. It is the Bikinsky project that opens up entirely new opportunities and models for the management of the territory for both ecologists and aborigines - it's not for nothing that it is considered a pilot project. First of all, because he will elevate the real consideration of the interests of the indigenous population to the creation of a protected natural area, form a balanced system of protection of all its values ​​- socio-cultural, ecological, geopolitical and economic. To this end, the national Aboriginal Council, led by the chairman in the rank of deputy director of the park, who is elected by the whole community, must play a decisive role in running the park.

Along with this, the Park Regulation provides for a clear zoning of the territory, taking into account the actual status of its various sites. 260 thousand hectares in the most watersheds in the north and south are reserved to the strict regime strict zone, 109 thousand hectares - to the zone of special protection, where only excursions along certain routes are allowed. Approximately the same number of designers are assigned to the zone of recreation along the river valleys, where it is allowed to engage in amateur hunting and fishing, organized tourism and harvesting taiga gifts for their needs. The most significant part of the territory - 674 thousand hectares, or 72% - is allocated for the zone of traditional nature management, where local hunters retain all their rights and fishing opportunities, simply re-registering the lease agreements. For the "Tiger" community, today's tenant of the middle Bikin, the project retains the right to harvest 14 thousand cubic meters of timber for its needs. And for all the local residents of the four villages and their families, the right to freely visit the park territory, wherever they actually live, is preserved.

It is very important to add that the size of the once established park zones will not be subject to change, no matter how much anyone would like and, as it may be, customary for some regions of Russia to the detriment of nature protection tasks. On the other hand, it is hoped that for a number of similar Protected Areas of the Far East and Siberia located on Aboriginal lands, this model and the changes in the law initiated by it will help resolve a number of acute conflicts between PA administrations and local nomads and hunters. Undoubtedly, the described format of the park can still undergo a series of deformations when passing through the State Duma, skilfully blocking reasonable initiatives for the development of the country and its regions, if they do not contain loopholes to enrich the oligarchs. All the hope for those who gave a move to the process - to the presidential administration. If only these people have enough will not ruin the long-suffering Bikinsky project in the light of the heavy global worries.
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