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reforms, the share of these industries was on the rise, although the share declined considerably in other sectors. Consequently, recent trends are toward increased resource-extraction industries with growing pressure on the environment.

The main environmental problems in the region relate to preservation of biodiversity, use of marine resources, pollution of rivers and lakes, preservation of forests, and urban development.

PRESERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY

The huge region spreads over several climatic zones from the polar area in the north to the subtropical areas of Primorye Territory, including continental, coastal, and island areas. It has unique biological diversity—vegetation, animal, and marine. The southern areas of the region were not exposed to ice formation during the glacial period, which resulted in preservation of ancient biospecies. The southern area of Primorye and Khabarovsk Territories exemplifies a unique coexistence of both northern (e.g., larch, stone birch) and southern (e.g. liana, lotus) plants. Such a unique mix is also typical for the animal world. There are more than 5,000 vascular plant species and more than 1,500 types of mushrooms. In the south of Primorye territory there are more than 1,200 types of plants, 120 mammal species, 50,000 insects, and 550 birds. There are 104 types of fish in the Amur River alone. Diversity was preserved to a great extent due to the low level of development of the region as compared with other regions of Central Russia. There are many ancient plants in the area. For example, in the Sikhot Alin mountains, among the 800 plants 200 fall into the class of ancient relics. Three groups stand out among the relics of vegetative and possibly animal origin: relics well adapted to current conditions and renewable by nature, mobile relics, and relics that are being reduced by natural and anthropogenic forces.

A distinguishing feature of the region is the availability of unique endemic plants and animals. Many of the over 250 endemic plants are on the verge of disappearance and are now in the Rare Species Book. The principal challenges to biodiversity are:

  • Natural and anthropogenic disasters.

  • Reduction of growth areas due to impacts such as deforestation and industrial development.

  • Predatory and poaching extermination of tigers, musk deer, ginseng, lemon trees, and the Amur sturgeon.

  • Lack of proper resource management.



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