International youth conference

Urgency of wilderness conservation in Murmansk region


To the basic discoveries of XX century is attributed a conclusion about necessity of biodiversity for planetary functions realising by alive substance and preservation of natural systems reliability in present changing environment.

Sachel tragedy and Great drought of 30-th years in USA had shown, that for destruction processes prevention there are necessary to reserve large territories of wild nature, as the centres of natural balance rehabilitation.

According to the minimal requirements to biodiversity preservation nearly 1/3 territories of each large geographical region of a planet should be kept in natural or close to it condition, and nearly 1/3 of the territory should be kept as background of human economic activity . In the northern extreme ecosystems for preservation of a rather poor species content, it is necessary to protect considerably greater part of territory: 98 % of tundra zone and 80-90 % of northern and mountain taiga.

If to examine Barents-region as one natural system, the essential role in the biodiversity conservation should be played by primarily northern taiga conservation. At the same time, at 90th years in result of extensive industrial use of forests the share of secondary stand had exceeded 90% in the western part of region. So, according to estimations of WWF in Norway the transformed stands share was 95% . Probably, this index is higher. The investigations of the state ecosystem in Finnmark (least industrial developed region of Norway) according to the Kola Ecogeochemistry Project (1992-1996) had shown, that only in three of 145 examined points had not revealed the seen attributes of ecosystem destruction (see fig. 1)!

In Murmansk region, due to industrial orientation of economy during the socialist period, the territory was divided on heavily changed industrial areas, limited by area, on the one hand, and large virgin and poorly transformed natural massifs, on the other hand. Visiting limit of border and militaristic territories had strengthened polarisation of territory. The main part of pristine forests, kept for today, invaluable for economy concerns to timberline forests , mountain forests and forests along the state borders. By our estimations, the area of forests affected by cutting make nearly 50 % from all forested area. The smaller part from it (about 14 %) is formed the most destructive modern clear cutting, which were took place since 60-th years with use of heavy caterpillar tractors. Changes of the forest affected by industrial air emission have got mass character, but have not reached scales of forest changes caused by cutting and overgrazing. So, the area of forest damaged by industrial emissions of metallurgical complexes "Pechenganickel" and "Severonickel", makes only 2,7 % from all forest area, and the share of destroyed tree stands makes only 0,2 % (see fig. 2).

Thus, taking into account, that in other countries of Northern Europe the large massifs of primarily forests are completely destroyed by industrial cutting, oldgrowth forests of Kola peninsula play role of ecological buffer essential for Barents region ecological stability. However, present situation analysis testifies that the realization of the "sustainable development" concept of economy in Murmansk region recurs western countries way with the same negative consequences for of wilderness conservation. Nowadays in the Murmansk region goes steady destruction of natural ecosystems according to already repeated scheme: sale of resources building of roads - fragmenting of large natural massifs, destruction of oldgrowth forests with mixed age and culture tree stands and disappearance of many species of animals and plants.

    Unfortunately, the business activity of the Scandinavian countries and Finland in Murmansk region also carried out without the account of the key role of this region in maintenance of regional ecological balance.