Conservation in Altai – stone mushrooms with parks, springs with spades


   Just a few interesting snipets from WWF website news and Gorny Altai news on mushrooms, parks and spades.

WWF website snipet: 30.10.2010 ‘Ak-Cholyshpa’ Nature Park, to be or not to be?

 On 26th October 2010 public hearings supported by WWF were held in Balykcha and Koo villages concerning the creation of ‘Ak-Cholushpa’ Nature Park in the Chulyshman valley, (Ulagan Region, Altai). The Park which would not infer the confiscation of local lands is planned to cover approximately 346 000 hectares including the Chulyshman valley extending from Lake Teletskoe to the upper reaches of the Bashkaus River. Aside from the ‘stone mushrooms’ which the Chulyshman valley is most famous for, the territory also boasts rare breeds such as the snow leopard, argali, manul, demoiselle crane, saker falcon, bearded vulture, Altai snowcock, vipera usinii, dione rat snake, Siberian salmon and lenok. Currently. the key threats to the unique natural complex of the Chulyshman valley are illegal poaching, non-regulated use of pasture lands, forest fires and unregulated tourism.

Park aims would include: contributing towards developing managed forms of tourism; preserving traditional, local methods of natural resource use; conserving rare species and their habitat as well as the traditional way of life of the indigenous populations of Altai.

As a result of the hearings the population of Balykcha village supported the creation of the park whereas the inhibitants of Koo village requested time for further consideration.

Gorny Altai news snipet:

At a session of the Altai Republic Government the head of the Republic Alexander Berdnikov commented on the initiative emphasizing that the current legislative system allows for environmental protection activities without it being necessary to create new specially protected nature territories.

Berdnikov believes that the issue of the creation of ‘Ak-Cholyshpa’ requires further investigation and is a matter for organs of power and not ecological funds which fail always to act in accordance with Russia’s interests. “Who within the government oversaw this issue? Who initiated the creation of the park? If you don’t have enough work to do take up your spades and go and clear up around a spring. At least nature would benefit from it.” Berdnikov emphasized that considering the republic’s border location one must be extremely careful in dealing with issues where collaboration with foregin ecological organisations is involved. One of the goals of such funds is to encumber the development of Russian-Chinese relations including the question concering the gas pipeline to China. “They tried to close the border by means of ‘Sailugem’ park, but their attempts failed. Last week I met with ‘Gasprom’ representative Aleksei Miller who assured me that the active phase in the construction of gas pipeline ‘Altai’ will begin in the second half of 2011” – newspaper Postscriptum quotes Berdnikov.

(At the present time various specially protected nature territories exist in the Altai Republic: zapovedniks ‘Altai’ and ‘Katun’, quiete zone ‘Ukok’, national park ‘Sailugem’, nature parks ‘Belukha’, ‘Uch Enmek’, farming parks ‘Argut’ and ‘Chui-Oozi’ and zakazniks)

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