National Park management includes a system of specific measures ensuring the preservation of natural and historico-cultural heritage, while the parks are exploited for regulated tourism and recreation purposes; actions related to National Park structure and staff improvement; and a complex of measures aimed at the raising of local authorities’ and communities’ interest in National Park development.
Population and visitors must be aware about National Park protective regulations and other rules.
National Park natural and cultural values cannot be altered for utilitarian human purposes.
4.1. NATURAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT
Natural values managed by National Parks include forests, grasslands, water objects, geological environment, animals, and aesthetic values including picturesque landscapes, natural silence and fresh air. The Strategy pays equal attention to all National Park natural values as this approach ensures the possibility of preserving the integrity of the natural complex and the essential harmony of all its components.
Natural resource management in National Parks is based on zonation, which is based on such characteristics as environmental value of the area, its utilisation pattern (i.e. functional purpose) and ecosystem’s resistance against human impact.
The strategy of National Park ecosystem preservation is based on the following positions:
natural heritage management is considered a complex process taking into account the dynamical nature of park ecosystems, complex interactions within them, and their limited ability to resist against anthropogenic impact and self-restore after such stresses;
ecosystem management must be long-term and have a broad base of support among all those whose activities influence the ecological integrity of the Park;
National Parks should demonstrate leadership in the dialogue with other territorial management agencies to develop a better understanding of nature use and management practices;
ecosystem management must be scientifically-based;
maintain continuous monitoring of ecosystem condition and take urgent and adequate actions if their structure and function have been altered by human activities;
management action to restore ecosystems will have far-reaching and long-lasting effects, and as such caution must be exercised;
National Parks prevent new sources of pollution within their areas and take actions to eliminate or minimise existing sources in close vicinity to them.
4.1.1. Flora and Fauna Management
Animals are an integral part of National Park natural complex. In addition to biological functions, animals play an important aesthetic role attracting visitors to the nature. Presence of various animals has exceptional educative significance.
Management actions taken by a National Park must be aimed at maximum species diversity conservation and maintenance of an environmentally reasonable animal population typical for the regional natural complexes.
National Parks manage animals in collaboration with state bodies responsible for animal protection, control and use regulation; and with indigenous communities.
Animal management in National Parks includes:
animal protection including specific actions for rare and endangered species conservation;
specific actions to preserve high-productive feeding sites and other valuable habitats that are disappearing due to succession or anthropogenic processes; habitat enhancement measures;
prevention of animal deaths due to natural disasters and anthropogenic impact;
animal reintroduction and resettlement;
regular observations of animal location, population and physical condition, and habitat structure, quality and area (i.e. animal monitoring);
arrangement and regulation of animal utilisation.
Protection of animals
Protection of animals inhabiting National Park ecosystems is the responsibility of the state inspection for National Park protection. The aim of animal protection is to reduce human impact on the dynamics of animal populations inhabiting the park area due to natural processes. Intentional introduction of alien (i.e. non-typical for the region) species to National Park natural complexes is forbidden. Issues related to the removal of such acclimatised species from National Parks require specific scientific justification.
Habitat improvement is a key prerequisite for effective animal protection.
Habitat improvement actions include:
feeding basis improvement (e.g. planting forage crops, feeding fields establishment, reconstruction of tree-shrub plantings, salt licks establishment, liming of forest meadows, artificial watering-places establishment, etc.);
improvement of breeding conditions: construction of artificial housing, nests, spawning grounds, etc.;
improvement of protective conditions: refuges; protective plants, dam construction, forestation of ravines and gulleys, etc.
Regulation measures are scientifically-based actions taken by National Parks to change populations of particular species, conserve/restore natural ecosystem structures, and ensure environmental balance in protected areas.
Procurement of animals (shooting, entrapment) is an extreme regulation measure, it is possible in exceptional circumstances, including:
presence of individual aggressive wild animals threatening human lives;
excessive increase of animal populations in non-balanced natural ecosystems threatening protected natural heritage;
disturbance in development of natural processes and phenomena typical for particular ecosystems, threats to protected natural complexes and objects due to the presence and activity of animal species and subspecies alien to protected ecosystems;
unfriendly environmental conditions endangering rare animal species inhabiting the park area;
dangerous epidemiological and epizootic conditions.
Animal capture/shooting for regulation purposes in order to reduce the population is possible only subject to the absolute impossibility of directing animals away from the park area to a protected zone or neighbouring areas (e.g. through laying fodder inducements, establishment of feeding fields, improvement of protective qualities of neighbouring lands, reduction of animal populations in the National Park through intensive hunting activities in neighbouring areas).
Shooting of animals for regulation purposes must not become professional (i.e. sport or non-professional hunting).
A decision to launch a regulation programme should be based on scientifically-based information.
National Parks take regulation actions in strict accordance to the Federal Act “On Animals”.
Migrating Animals Management
Many animal species regularly migrate to other locations with seasonal or other cycles. National Parks inhabited by migrating species must ensure conservation of populations and habitats within their areas and endeavour to collaborate with other areas to conserve such populations within the whole region. National Parks ensure the conservation of migrating animals through participation in regional land use planning and collaboration with regional authorities in setting out shooting and fishery regulations. This work must be supported by information on migrating animal species life cycles, habitats and population dynamics.
Prevention of animal deaths
Prevention of animal deaths due to natural disasters includes the following actions: rescuing animals during spring floods, road clearing in winter, feeding in case of downfalls and black frosts, etc.
Prevention of animal deaths from agricultural machinery includes various deterrence techniques. Specific attention must be paid to preventive actions along roads crossing the park.
Animal reintroduction and resettlement
Reintroduction (i.e. movement of living organisms to areas where these had been living in the past but then perished due to various circumstances) is possible only subject to positive conclusions of authoritative scientific institutions and permission from the federal body responsible for National Park management. Reintroduction works in National Parks include a complex of specific measures to ensure conservation of reintroduced animals (maintenance, feeding, strict protection of habitats, continuous monitoring, etc.).
Animal reintroduction in National Parks is possible to improve habitat productivity or restore endangered local populations. It is necessary to avoid introduction of animals belonging to species inhabiting the National Park area but representing different populations and geographical races to prevent “genetic pollution”.
Reintroduction is possible only subject to a positive conclusion of a competent research organisation and permission from the federal body responsible for National Park management. In addition, resettlement of game mammals and birds (including recurrent introductions) requires permission from the appropriate regional special plenipotentiary body for game animal protection, control and use regulation.
Reintroduction and resettlement of animals included into the Red Data Book of Russia also require permission from the special plenipotentiary state conservation body of the Russian Federation responsible for the regulation of the movement of such species.
Specific attention must be paid to survey, identification and selection of reintroduction sites. It is necessary to undertake expert assessment of earlier reintroduction actions to examine the success of the reintroduction and advisability of recurrent actions prior to any recurrent measures.
Utilisation of animals
Utilisation of wildlife within National Park area is limited and normally includes the organisation and regulation of hunting and fishing. This is possible only within certain zones; if it is included into the Statement on the National Park.
Industrial hunting and fishing in National Parks are possible in certain circumstances
and can be run by indigenous communities in especially distinguished areas for
traditional extensive nature use.
National Parks can themselves arrange hunting within their areas or rent game lands to other hunters according to the regional Hunting Regulations.
Non-professional and sport fishery in National Parks is managed according to
the regional (or basin) Non-Professional and Sport Fishery Regulations.
Any intervention into the natural processes of forest biocenose development should be considered as a constrained measure necessary to neutralise consequences of negative environmental impact and/or economic activity. All such measures should be planned and carried out simultaneously with actions on habitat and territorial improvement and fire prevention.
National Park forests are considered not as a source of timber and other forest resources, but as a habitat of plants and animals and environment surrounding visitors and creating their opinion on biological diversity. The main management goal is to ensure the stability of natural processes in forest ecosystems.
To achieve this goal, the National Park staff carries out the following activities:
environmentally-based care in forests reflecting functional purpose of each particular land section;
restoration of forest ecosystems damaged by human impact;
fire prevention and pest/disease control;
forest ecosystem monitoring;
The goal of forestry activities in National Parks is to improve the biological sustainability of forest biocenoses. These activities are carried out in mass recreation areas, along tourism/walking routes (both terrain and water routes), and in decaying woodlands. Forestry and recreation regulation actions are taken according to specific programmes on the basis of field studies (usually conducted during the forest surveying process) or forest monitoring data.
Techniques and methods similar to natural processes of forest ecosystem development are preferable during restoration of forests damaged by former human activities. Technologies based on stubbing and intense soil tillage able to change hydrological regimes are forbidden during forest restoration in treeless areas.
National Park responsibilities include fire control. This is a very important activity aimed at natural resource preservation. Any uncontrolled ignition within National Park area is catastrophic and, as such, impermissible.
Fire prophylactic and suppression in National Parks are arranged and carried out considering the main objective – to preserve the integrity of environment. However, such anti-fire actions as anti-fire rifts and barriers of artificial leafy woodlands preventing spreading of fire in hot-spot coniferous forests, are inadmissible in National Parks as they damage the integrity of forest ecosystems.
Land patrolling combined with active explanatory work with local communities and visitors should be the main direction of forest fire prophylaxis.
Fire suppression techniques must be effective. Fires and means of damping must not influence forest ecosystems significantly. All techniques, from fire localisation and inhibition to active offensive suppression, must be considered depending on the functional zone. The only alternative to fire damping may be purposive fire application as a means of directed management (“controlled fires”).
Grassland ecosystems in National Parks can include:
in the tundra zone – marshes, meadows, hillock areas, and nival groups of river mouths, flood plains and watersheds;
in the forest zone – secondary upland ecosystems (after cuttings/fires, on arable lands) and secondary and primary flood plain ecosystems (river, lake, maritime-littoral);
in the steppe zone – various types of steppes;
in the desert zone – flooded meadows, saline, alkaline, and azonal steppes;
in mountains – mountain steppes, sub-alpine and alpine highland meadows and carpets.
The most important factor determining the modern dynamics of grassland ecosystems, and specifically – steppes, is the loss of an important ecosystem component – hoofed and large graminivorous animals and digging rodents. National Parks should organise a system of actions to manage ecosystem dynamics and maintain grassland ecosystems and their semi-natural biodiversity (for instance, to prevent forestation or weed accumulation). Development of ecosystems that still have biotic components which determine their structure and functioning should not be regulated (e.g. flooded mountain meadows along rivers preserving their high water regime, mountain steppes with moderate grazing of wild and domestic hoofed animals, etc.). However, grassland ecosystems that are decaying without human impact, and as a result are losing their biodiversity and rare animal and plant species (e.g. where a steppe is replaced by rubbish-weeds or shrub complexes) require specific management of the plant dynamics.
Management regimes are established on the basis of scientific studies for each particular land section characterised by its unique dynamics and functioning. To justify ecosystem dynamics management, it is necessary to:
identify the purposive aim to maintain the condition of ecosystems similar (structurally and metoposcopically) to the native/recommended condition;
propose a set of management practices imitating natural factors (e.g. graminivorous animals, humification, fires, etc.) and their impacts (number of animals per ha, height of canting, etc.);
identify temporal parameters of management practices (e.g. schedule, seasons, duration, and frequency).
In addition, it is necessary to select management criteria (comparison of such parameters as productivity, animal and plant species diversity, phenological dates, etc.) applied in various functional zones affected by various recreation impacts. If regulated agriculture is maintained within a National Park and extensive forms of nature use are applied to conserve traditional agricultural landscapes, then agricultural practices (e.g. moderate grazing, hay-making, seasonal fires, etc.) may be considered management elements for a particular National Park zone.
Regulated grazing of domestic, tame or wild hoofed animals with clearly identified pressures and durations of pasture seasons, possible fallow areas (1 year or more), lea tillage; decisions to apply such practices are made according to expert recommendations after appropriate assessments;
Regulated hay making (by date – spring, early-summer, etc.; by frequency – annual, once per 2-3 years, once per 5 years, etc.; by stubble height; by method – manual or machine);
Water regime regulation (drainage works, micro-relief restoration, flooding, draining, etc.);
Regulated fires including prior annealing and anti-fire measures (by date – autumn and spring; by intensity – wind and rag/litter deposits);
Regulated spring and summer floods to maintain flooded regime and alluvial processes in flooded meadows (for areas with regulated river flow) taking prior measures to conserve sedentary fauna according to the phenology of protected species and ecosystems;
Native sward reseeding, replanting and laying out to restore ecosystems damaged by economic activities and natural disasters;
Re-acclimatisation of hoofed animals and rodents.
4.1.2. Water Objects
National Parks should preserve surface and underground waters as an integral element of Park’s ecosystems. Water object management must be based on a basin approach. The minimal management unit having its own system of environmental regulations (nature use regimes) is the catchment area.
National Park authorities should ensure environmentally friendly regimes and nature use techniques contributing to water heritage conservation and restoration.
Water protection techniques are identified in the Water Legislation of the Russian Federation. The main objectives include:
identify sources of pollution within National Park areas;
participate in water use regulation;
remove chemical and petrochemical, cattle breeding complexes, farms, manure stores, industrial and agricultural repositories, graveyards and cattle graveyards, and sewage basins from water-protection zones and their shores;
control water erosion of shores.
National Parks should develop environmentally friendly water object management practices in collaboration with special plenipotentiary bodies and other stakeholders on the basis of scientifically based basin (regional) priorities with regards to protected water objects, sources of pollution, pollutants, etc.
National Parks support environmental monitoring activities, environmental education initiatives, and voluntary conservation efforts of enterprises in the framework of water heritage planning and management.
National Parks actively participate in the regulation of interrelations related to water heritage protection and use to conserve the biological diversity of water ecosystems; protect water objects against pollution, choking and decline; and maintain the quality of surface and underground waters according to environmental and sanitary requirements.
It is necessary to avoid, where possible, occupation and change of flood plains and wetlands. If there is no alternative, it is necessary to take actions to reduce potential damage to the flood plains’ and wetlands’ condition. Such lands are managed according to specific programmes developed by the National Parks in collaboration with the governmental authorities.
To ensure protection and rational use of flood plains and wetlands, National Parks, in collaboration with stakeholders, must:
assess water balance of flood plains and wetlands located within economic zones;
identify dangerous flooded areas and take actions to reduce risk to people and property.
4.1.3. Conservation of Geological Heritage
Management activities related to geological heritage conservation include a complex of various measures aimed at protection of the most valuable objects, rational and scientifically-based utilisation, and restoration of decaying heritage.
The most valuable objects include:
unique relief forms and relevant landscape elements (e.g. rock groups, chasms, canyons, caves, grottoes, karst objects, volcanoes, hills, boulders, glacier circuses, moraine-boulder chains, dunes, sand waves, glaciers, hydro-laccoliths, etc.);
geological denudations especially valuable for scientific researches (basic profiles, barings of rare rocks, minerals and their associations, druses, sinters, etc.);
geological and geo-morphological polygons including classic sites with impressive features of seismic phenomena; denudations of discontinuous and plicated disturbances of rock layers;
rare or valuable palaeontological objects;
natural hydro-mineral complexes, thermal and mineral springs, deposits of curative muds.
Impressive geological phenomena that have aesthetical/educational value are considered as very important National Park attractions. They are used for recreation development, ecological tourism and education excursions. Such objects must be protected especially strictly. Their presence and management should be protected and certainly taken into consideration during the process of functional zonation, scheming and planning of economic activity.
Some especially vulnerable geological objects (i.e. caves, dunes, etc.) require continuous observations to identify promptly measures essential to prevent damage.
Organic and mineral remains must be protected, preserved, and made available for educational and scientific purposes. It is necessary to prevent illegal collection of palaeontological samples and minerals.
National Parks should take actions to prevent damage from natural processes. Defensive actions can include construction of tents over mineralogical and palaeontological exhibits demonstrated in situ, placing exhibits into museum collections, etc. It is necessary to completely document location of samples and geological conditions of their attitude during collection.
The goal of cave management is to preserve their atmospheric, biological, ecological, and cultural resources. According to approved cave management plans, it is necessary to protect systems of natural drainage, air circulation and plant/animal communities.
Constructions (artificial entrances, enlarged natural exits, routes, lighting,
informational improvement, ventilation, and elevator shafts are possible only
according to special projects. They must not change the environment of caves
and/or damage cultural resources. Construction and reconstruction of objects
able to effect cave conditions can be permitted only after environmental impact
assessment and approval of scheming documentation.
Caves or their parts may be closed or limited for visit to ensure safety of visitors and protect natural/cultural heritage. Some caves or their parts may be used exclusively for scientific research.
In addition to geological and geo-morphological heritage preservation, National Parks are also responsible for ensure effective engineering protection of the park area to ensure safety of visitors (mudflows, torrents, seismic activity, karst, rockfalls, etc.).
4.1.4. Inventory and Monitoring of Natural
Complexes and Objects
National Parks are responsible for regular inventory and systematic observations of the condition of the natural heritage (monitoring) to obtain objective information essential for operative decision-making and development of long-term programmes for prevention and elimination of negative nature use consequences.
Monitoring programmes in National Parks include observations of:
model, rare, unique, and relic ecosystems having specific importance for rare plant and animal species survival;
biodiversity and qualitative composition of the biota (i.e. flora and fauna), primarily – vertebrates and vascular plants;
rare species populations included into the Russian Red Data Book, regional Red Data Book, or regional List of Strictly Protected Species;
game animal species, valuable medicinal herbs, or other species of specific economic/social significance;
species especially vulnerable due to mass gathering (e.g. sea birds and mammals);
It is advisable to conduct all observations according to National Park zones and summarise all data for the whole National Park periodically.
Observations having federal and international significance must be carried out according to specific programmes common for all National Parks and Zapovedniks.
The MNR of the Russian Federation is planning comprehensive inventories of animal and plant heritage according to proposals submitted by National Parks. These works are carried out by specialised governmental organisations each 10-15 years.
4.2. HISTORICO-CULTURAL HERITAGE PRESERVATION
Historico-cultural heritage conservation and wise utilisation in National Parks is based on the following principles:
recognition of the unity of natural and cultural heritage; the whole diversity of heritage combining natural and cultural values should be considered;
recognise the cultural landscape a single protection and management subject; tactics for particular fragments and structures including individual cultural memorials must correspond with the overall goals of a complex’s preservation;
recognition of local indigenous people as an integral part of the historico-cultural environment;
support of economic and other socio-cultural activities that are pre-conditions for heritage conservation;
collaboration with governmental bodies for historico-cultural heritage management.
“Living culture” is comprised of nature use traditions, arts, handicrafts, technologies, lifestyle traditions, public and confessional rituals, folklore. Traditional living culture is maintained and preserved by the population that inhabits a National Park area.
The inclusion of traditional living culture into the system of cultural heritage
objects/resources requires a principal change in the National Park staff’s attitude
towards people living within its area. New interrelations should be based on
co-operation and collaboration, especially with those ethnic-cultural groups
who maintain cultural traditions and are the bearers of historical memory.
A National Park can protect cultural heritage located within its area by rights of operative management or other rights allowing the preservation, monitoring and restoration of immovable historico-cultural values. It is necessary to establish appropriate relations with the governmental structures for monument protection to ensure their activities are in agreement with the National Park authorities. It is advisable to obtain the rights mentioned above for federal-level monuments if they have key significance for National Park development.
National Park efforts to conserve and use historico-cultural heritage rationally should be effective if it undertakes and participates in the following activities:
identification of, and research into, historico-cultural heritage and development of scientifically-based recommendations on heritage conservation and use;
protection and control of historico-cultural heritage utilisation in collaboration with governmental bodies for historical and cultural memorials protection;
planning and undertaking of works on historical and cultural monuments given to National Parks for operative management, conservation, and restoration in collaboration with governmental bodies for historical and cultural monuments protection;
undertaking works on cultural landscape restoration and traditional living culture development (e.g. crafts, festivals, fairs, etc.).
The development of such activities requires significant changes in the National Park staff structure and the inclusion of appropriate specialists.
The special state inspection (protection service) is responsible for protection of natural complexes and objects within National Park area; state inspectors are National Park employees.
The special state inspection is responsible for protection of the whole National Park area, including lands of other stakeholders.
National Parks conduct solely the protection activities within their lands and collaborate with control-inspection agencies of the territorial branches of the MNR of the Russian Federation, fishing and hunting inspections and law enforcement agencies.
National Park inspectors protect historico-cultural heritage in collaboration (or in co-ordination) with the governmental bodies for historico-cultural monuments protection.
The Special State Protection Inspection of National Park has significant powers. It is empowered to arrest trespassers; draw up protocols of administrative violations; suspend economic and other activities contradicting the National Park regime; confiscate hunting/fishing equipment, production of illegal nature use, vehicles and appropriate documents; inspect bags, vehicles, and individuals; impose administrative penalties for environmental violations; and use authorised weapons and special equipment.
The inspection must include a special direct-action group(s) and territorial sub-divisions responsible for everyday patrolling. Concrete forms and techniques of control-inspection work in each particular National Park must be identified on the basis of its individual specificity (landscape and resource features, population density, local traditions, etc.).
Protection activities must be planned on the basis of information gathered on intrusions, access roads, communications, climatic conditions, resources requiring protection, possible impacts, etc. The planning of protection activities on the basis of available information should involve National Park specialists and identify not only patrolling routes, but also the size and duration of patrols. Planning decisions are made during the process of management plan development and adjusted on an annual basis within the framework of the operative planning.
A database on patrols, incidents, problems encountered, etc should be maintained as part of the National Park’s GIS to improve the efficiency of National Park protection inspections. This facilitates regular analysis of protection regime effectiveness and allow for rapid response to changes in the protection needs of the National Park.
Responsibilities of National Park state inspectors include not only inspection functions.
The specificity of their work includes regular communication with visitors and local communities. The success and qualification of such interaction determines the overall success of National Park management. This extension of inspectors’ responsibilities requires changes in the National Park staffing structure. Some specialisation within the inspection personnel is most likely necessary. It is necessary, therefore, to improve the system of inspection staff training and retraining.
The organisation of effective protection of natural and historico-cultural heritage will be a high-priority and fundamental objective of the National Parks over the next few years.
To raise the effectiveness of natural and historico-cultural heritage protection, it is necessary to:
resolve the issue of a fundamental review of the remuneration system for National Park state protection inspectors;
improve financial and moral incentives of inspection personnel using budget and non-budget funding sources;
improve the training/retraining system for National Park inspectors at federal and regional/interregional level.
4.4. INCLUDED LANDS
The factual ownership of lands included into National Park without subtraction from economic use, including settlement lands, determines their management features.
The continued possibility for non-National Park landowners to utilise one’s own lands for one’s socio-economic development is recognised by the National Park.
National Parks implement their top-priority conservation objectives and maintain the integrity of their areas, while not constraining the opportunities for socio-economic development of other stakeholders.
National Park authorities must be able to influence utilisation regimes and patterns in Included Lands. The mechanisms for achieving this includes:
Statements on Included Lands Management and Use should be developed and
agreed with stakeholders, including land owners and users, prior to designation
of the National Park (in the case of new National Parks this statement should
be developed during the scheming stage);
State and municipal authorities, enterprises and local communities coordinate
their efforts to ensure the preservation of ecosystem and landscape integrity
of the whole National Park area and improve its conservation efficiency;
The National Park shares the responsibility for utilisation of all lands and resources within its boundaries.
The National Park’s goals and objectives should guide the management and development of all lands within its boundaries.
Statements on Included Lands Use should be supported by agreements governing interrelations between the National Park and stakeholders. Regional/local authorities should be third party signatories to the agreements. The agreements should determine ecological quotas, nature use regimes, responsibility for violation, and development permission procedures to avoid potential conflicts.
To prevent potential negative impact on protected natural complexes, the following activities are forbidden in Included Lands: extension of existing and construction of new economic facilities; restoration of enterprises and objects that threaten the environment (i.e. pollution generating enterprises); other activities that alter conditions for biological and landscape diversity conservation.
All major development on Included Lands must be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (Ecological Expertise).
4.5. REGULATED TOURISM AND RECREATION
One of the main National Park objectives is to provide conditions for regulated tourism and recreation. In National Parks, this activity is based on the following principles:
landscape and biological diversity conservation;
respect to local cultural traditions, support of traditional handicrafts and economics;
support of regional small and medium business;
organic agriculture development;
comprehensive consideration of communities’ interests.
National Park-based tourism and recreation requires the creation of a high-efficient tourism infrastructure and improvement works related to visitor attraction. To achieve this, the National Parks must fulfil the following objectives:
integrate the system of National Park-based tourism organisation and development into the regional socio-economic context;
create an efficient recreation pressure planning and regulation system;
arrange visitor accommodation and service, maximally utilising the potential of local communities and private sector;
ensure training and retraining of staff involved in tourism activities.
National Park-based tourism development must become an important direction of regional economic growth, promote local livelihoods and employment, and improve living standards. It is necessary to support and develop local initiatives on tourism infrastructure development.
Local authorities are interested in National Park development because they recognise that National Parks are able to provide opportunities for mass recreation and contribute to public environmental education and health. The development of tourism infrastructure will provide new jobs, increase regional and local budget revenues and improve public living standards.
National Parks possess significant “own” tourism resources. Tourism resources cannot be utilised or developed without the knowledge or agreement of National Parks. However, National Parks are not always in a position to create effective tourism infrastructure on their own due to limited funding and lack of essential skills. The success of tourism development (and satisfaction of local expectations), therefore, depends significantly on how actively and harmoniously National Park-based tourism is integrated into regional economies.
Identification of common commercial, conservation and social interests with state and local authorities and private businessmen should be the basis for such integration. Possible directions of this integration can include:
information provision for local authorities and communities on National Park’s tourism-related plans, projects and programmes;
involvement of regional tour operators into tourism activities;
promote training of local people to work in tourism in the National Park;
introduction of sustainable nature use.
National Parks must pay specific attention to tourism/recreation planning as uncontrolled tourism development damages the natural and cultural environment and contributes to the worsening of living conditions. This planning should include:
inventory of potential tourism objects in the National Park (e.g. fauna and flora, archaeological, historical, cultural, geological, etc, features);
examination of natural resource use opportunities for tourism and recreation purposes (hunting, fishing, curative, genealogical resources, berries, mushrooms, etc.);
assessment of the degree of ecosystem vulnerability and potential environmental constraints for tourism development;
identification of target tourist groups and possible types of tourism;
assessment of the National Park’s and regional infrastructure;
development of tourism development plans (the relevant chapters of management plans) paying specific attention to tourism infrastructure development, community relations, advertising-information, cadre provision, and tourism product marketing and promotion;
development of a fees system for entrance to National Parks and their services.
Visitor reception and accommodation is a specific area and National Parks must endeavour to involve specialised organisations into this activity – tour operators have practical experience in tourism product creation, promotion and sale.
Each form of recreation has a level of admissible pressure identified on the basis of the National Park’s natural and historico-cultural features. If the environment degrades due to recreation, it is necessary to reduce the pressure (perhaps through transferring some pressure to other areas). Additionally, it is necessary to take all necessary actions to prevent deterioration in the natural resource base and improve its tolerance to recreational pressure.
The National Park authorities identify the order of visiting, seasons, admissible numbers of visitors for various seasons, types of recreation admissible for various functional zones and regulations. The Scheme of National Park Organisation and Development and Management Plans is the basis for these.
It is very important to make visitors aware about the times and dates of visiting, vacancies in hotels, lodge and campsite locations, the services provided, excursion and tourism routes, etc. Such information should be provided free of charge.
National Park authorities must ensure visitor safety. They should, in collaboration with tour operators, develop specific programmes on accident prevention, medical assistance and rescue of stranded and lost visitors. National Park staff involved in visitor service must be trained in first aid and other search and rescue skills. It is necessary to provide an insurance service for visitors.
National Park-based tourism must develop and function as a single system with clear division of functions between federal, regional and National Park levels. The establishment of a specific structure responsible for tourism development in the National Park system is recommended to implement this objective at federal level.
The functions of a federal structure should include the following:
develop a system of environmentally-sustainable tourism criteria and tourism route/service certification in order to ensure correspondence with international principles of sustainable tourism;
provide a single information continuum and involve National Parks into the world environmental tourism development system;
ensure marketing, advertisement and promotion of Russian National Parks’ tourism products in Russia and abroad;
establish a Centre for National Park Tourism Staff Professional Training, arrange workshops and courses on a regular basis;
develop and introduce a single enlightened pricing policy for tourism programmes and services;
produce recommendations on single design, standards for displays, information boards environmental paths, and outdoor expositions;
produce recommendations on museum and visitor centre equipment, design and planning in National Parks;
develop style standards for advertising and promotion publications;
develop monitoring and control mechanisms for tourism activities to prevent damage to natural and historico-cultural heritage.
In turn, Regional Zapovednik and National Park Associations could co-ordinate tourism development in regions. Their responsibilities may include:
co-ordination of routes and tours involving several National Parks and Zapovedniks within a region;
development of nature-based tourism in the region, advertising and marketing of protected area tourism opportunities at regional level;
develop a single pricing policy for tourism programmes and services;
develop standard forms of documents formalising interrelations with tour operators and other regional business structures;
arrange training workshops and other similar events to train and improve skills of relevant personnel.
4.6. SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
The purpose of scientific research in National Parks is informational provision for and scientific justification of management decision making. This includes:
Scientific Research with the aim to:
inventory flora and fauna, natural and natural-historical complexes, unique, rare and outstanding living and non-living objects, historico-cultural heritage, and theme mapping of the National Park area;
identify environmental condition standards and admissible impact levels, primarily – recreation, on natural and historico-cultural heritage;
identify existing and potential threats to the conservation of National Park natural and historico-cultural heritage and reasons behind negative trends in the heritage dynamics; predict possible consequences;
develop and improve protection, natural and cultural heritage regulation and restoration, monitoring, and eco-education techniques;
study unique, rare, and poorly-researched natural and historico-cultural heritage (e.g. rare plant and animal species, archaeological monuments, etc.).
Monitoring of natural and historico-cultural heritage to ensure informational
provision for National Park operational management and planning, particularly,
to assess and forecast the environmental situation in the National Park and
in the region, and to identify the natural ecosystem dynamics. Top-priority
monitoring subjects include:
biodiversity and biota (i.e. flora and fauna) composition, primarily – vertebrates and vascular plants;
rare plant and animal species included into the Russian Red Data Book, regional Red Data Books, or regional lists of strictly protected species, game animal populations, and other species of economic and/or social significance;
unique, rare, and especially vulnerable living and non-living objects (bird and mammal colonies, karst phenomena, volcanoes, glaciers, thermal and mineral springs, etc.);
terrestrial and water ecosystems typical the physico-geographical region and determining the National Park natural specificity and/or aesthetical value;
heritage most valuable from conservation, historical, and/or cultural perspective.
National Parks run research activities according to long-term Scientific Research Programmes developed in collaboration with external experts (i.e. specialists from research and education institutes) and approved by the governmental body responsible for National Park management.
The Scientific Research Programme includes the following components: inventory programme, research programme, and monitoring programme.
The Scientific Research Programme is the basis for annual research plans and monitoring work schedules that are consistent with other NP activities (i.e. protection, tourism, eco-education, etc.) and take into account needs of these activities in certain research data. Applications from heads of National Park departments may serve as rationales for inclusion of certain topics into the annual research plan.
Scientific studies and heritage monitoring in National Parks are carried out by:
staff of National Park scientific departments and laboratories;
external scientific and educational institutions on a contract basis according to joint with the National Park programmes;
research institutions, higher education establishments, other research organisations, and individuals on the basis of Agreements on Collaboration signed with the National Park; the essential requirement is to submit research outputs to the National Park.
In addition, it is necessary to involve protection inspectors, specialists, and technical staff from other National Park departments as well as interested local residents and visitors into research and monitoring programmes.
The top-priority objective of National Park research subdivisions (departments, laboratories) is to maintain monitoring. With regards to research studies, including inventory, the NP acts mainly as a co-ordination body that involves exterior specialists for certain periods.
To run research activities properly and introduce scientifically-based approaches to the management, each National Park should implement the following objectives:
Inventory of natural and historico-cultural heritage, including:
produce cadastres of biota, communities, ecosystems, landscapes, unique, rare, and outstanding living and non-living objects, archaeological, architectural, historico-cultural, and other especially valuable objects;
theme mapping (landscape, geo-botanical, etc.) and mapping of areas (sites)with various protection and resource use regimes.
Identify of top-priority monitoring and research areas and subjects based on general priorities (e.g. species included into the Red Data Book, unique natural and historical objects and phenomena affecting the heritage condition significantly, etc.), the natural and historico-cultural specificity of the National Park, and its concrete protection and management needs.
Develop a complex environmental and historico-cultural monitoring system, including observation programmes for specific objects and phenomena and relevant condition assessment and forecast techniques.
Develop an effective computer-based system for information maintenance and management.
The core of such a system should be a complex including the park GIS and associated topical databases supplied through inventory and monitoring. In addition, it is necessary to create a complex of supplementary databases and digital archives (i.e. bibliography, digital photo and video materials).
The system must incorporate techniques for data express-analysis and functions allowing to generate standard reports automatically – this is necessary to obtain operational information essential for management decision making.
Develop and introduce a management decision making system based on the obligatory application of research data obtained through monitoring and research studies in all National Park activities and incorporating a request framework allowing the park authority and departments request essential research data.
Refine National Park research departments (staff and structure) according to real needs in full-time specialists and possibilities of involving temporary researchers for particular works on the basis of individual contracts with various duration or attract external specialists according to Agreements on Collaboration signed with respective research institutes, in the framework of joint projects, etc.
Produce upgrade programmes (both continuous and course-based) for all NP staff members; pay specific attention to inspector training in monitoring and data collection.
Create infrastructure and logistic basis essential for monitoring and research, including transport and facilities, stationery monitoring objects (probe sites, permanent routes, observation posts, etc.), office supplies, and laboratory equipment – according to regular NP needs and possibilities to use relevant logistic bases of other institutions in the framework of joint or contract-based works.
Develop scientific collaboration and liaison with Russian and foreign organisations with specific reference to monitoring and scientific research in NPs. Establish continuous partnership with research institutes and higher education establishments in certain research areas (e.g. long-term studies and particular monitoring types requiring specific techniques).
Develop and introduce volunteer programmes targeting schoolchildren, students and visitors and programmes involving local communities into data collection and monitoring/research infrastructure maintenance and development.
4.7. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
Environmental education is a basic National Park objective. National Parks have enough intellectual, natural and historico-cultural potential to:
gain public support for National Park natural and cultural heritage conservation ideas; improve public understanding of the role of National Parks in Russian national heritage preservation;
form environmental ideology and develop the ecological culture of Russian citizens.
Ecological education in National Parks must be a part of an informal ecological education framework. It plays an important role in the development of a public environmental culture. Eco-education work should be effective if National Parks use their specific natural/historico-cultural potential, use local traditions of “soft” and non-exhaustive nature use, promote preservation/restoration of these traditions, and involve local people, first of all – schoolchildren, into natural and cultural heritage conservation.
Eco-education departments of National Parks should use the long-term conservation and scientific experience of their parks and the whole protected area system. These departments are intended to become organisers and methodical centres for work with local communities. They should also become press-centres accumulating and disseminating National Park-related information.
Environmental education, similarly with other National Park activities, is
planned through the management plan process. Management plans should address
the following main issues:
Establishment of a professional training system for National Park eco-education staff; train specialists of other departments in PR forms and techniques focusing attention on communication skills and socio-psychological aspects of this work;
Development of concrete eco-education programmes targeting various public groups;
Strengthening of National Park intellectual potential through involvement of professional teachers, specialists and biologists;
Establishment of ecological routes, construction of museums and visitor centres, creation of displays on the basis of modern technologies, methods and techniques making it possible for visitors not only to obtain information but also feel emotionally the significance of natural and cultural heritage conservation and understand the role of National Parks in this process;
Creation of a unified National Park information-advertising style;
Promote advertising-informational activities attracting the attention of Russian and foreign citizens to the National Parks;
Establishment of museums of nature demonstrating values of protected natural heritage and historical museums demonstrating local history, living style and folk traditions;
Creation of stationery and mobile advertising-informational expositions (e.g. photos, children’s art, pictures, handicrafts, other historico-cultural values protected by the National Park, etc.).
4.8. MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE AND STAFF
The effectiveness of National Park management strongly depends on its structure (i.e. a structure must be adopted to reflect the implementation of objectives set in the management plan, and the National Park staff must have relevant qualification and skills).
The National Park structure must be flexible (see below) and able to react to changing circumstances in time. This is especially true today, when National Parks suffer from insufficient funding. Despite their environmental and territorial distinctiveness, all National Parks implement similar objectives and their staff structures have much in common.
Staff size and management structure are identified individually for each National Park on the basis of the following factors: accessibility, configuration and size of the area, attendance level, tourism development, location and number of especially valuable objects, and historical and socio-economic features of the park and its region. The Management Plan must provide justifications for National Park structure and staff dynamics and development.
National Park staff must have essential qualifications in profile positions and be skilled in public relations and communication. Specialists skilled in several areas must be encouraged.
It is necessary to provide conditions for new staff members to be trained by more experienced specialists and retrained if their qualification is deficient. The most effective way is to train personnel by individual training programmes developed according to their individual skills and positions. Individual training programmes should combine general and specific training.
The training course should be modular in nature, with each module dealing with specific areas. The modular approach means that a single programme can address the principal staff training needs through the selection of modules according to scope of activities (e.g. state protection inspectors must take modules related to drawing-up protocols, arrest techniques, weaponry, etc., resource management specialists must take modules on species identification, basic ecology, etc.).
The most important precondition of National Park staffing practice improvement is to build a corporate culture. The term “corporate culture” in modern management means a set of basic values, ideas, unofficial agreements and norms shared by all members of the organisation. The recognition of such traditions allows members of the organisation to think, sense and understand other people correctly. This ensures optimal and prompt decision making in each particular situation. However, a strong corporate culture itself can not ensure success if it is not able to adapt to changing circumstances. This should be possible if leaders of organisations act as the initiators of change, even if these bear some risk and result in a sudden increase in staff and processes contributing to beneficial changes.
The most important prerequisites of corporate culture are honesty and transparency. The creation of a corporate culture is a complex process, in which the most simple and evident elements must be addressed first, for instance, annual professional holidays.
4.9. FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF NATIONAL PARK ACTIVITIES
According to the current legislation, National Parks, as state institutions, are funded from the federal budget.
Only appropriate state funding makes it possible for National Parks to perform their functions successfully and completely. A high-priority management objective of the National Park system over the coming years must be to revise the basic parameters of the National Park state funding system to increase levels significantly. The annual funding needs for the key directions of National Parks activities must be identified on the basis of management plans developed and approved as established by law.
The current poor economic situation in Russia in reality makes it impossible to meet all National Park costs from the federal budget. It is necessary, therefore, to expand National Park funding opportunities from other sources, including purposive funding from state and municipal budget and non-budget funds. Specific attention should be paid to tax privileges for National Parks set by the Tax Code of the Russian Federation. It is also necessary to develop the practice of, and use, existing experience in gratuitous financial support of National Parks by domestic business structures, including the establishment and development of appropriate charitable funds at regional and federal level. It is advisable to develop National Park participation in non-profit conservation projects funded by large foreign donors.
According to the current legislation, National Parks can also generate revenues from their own activities. National Parks, as non-profit organisations, can practise business only if this contributes and corresponds to their goals. Additional sources of revenues include:
rentals for sites and other immovables leased to legal entities and individuals for tourism services;
monies received from sales, paid works and services, education, advertising, scientific, publishing, and other activities permitted by the current legislation;
administrative penalties and other charges imposed by National Park authorities for environmental violations.
An important National Park objective, therefore, is to analyse, generalise and disseminate existing positive experience (including foreign experience) in generating own revenues, including paid works and services.