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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 II BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 This page in the original is blank.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE UNITED STATES Robert C. Szaro and William T. Sexton U.S. Forest Service INTRODUCTION One of today's most pressing environmental issues is the conservation of biodiversity (Szaro and Johnston 1994). The challenge is for nations, government agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect and enhance biodiversity while continuing to meet people's needs for natural resources. This challenge exists from local to global scales. If not met, future generations will live in a biologically impoverished world and perhaps one that is less capable of producing desired resources as well. Conserving biodiversity involves restoring, protecting, conserving, or enhancing the variety of life in an area so that the abundances and distributions of species and communities provide for continued existence and normal ecological functioning, including adaptation and extinction (Szaro 1994a). This does not mean all things must occur in all areas, but that all things must be cared for at some appropriate geographic scale. THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE The United States has a long history of and commitment to environmental protection, with some of the World's most comprehensive and advanced programs for controlling pollution, protecting public lands, and enforcing environmental laws. The growth of this commitment reflects the settlement of the United States. Prior to European immigration, several million native Americans lived in what is now the United States, harvesting fish and wildlife, planting, irrigating, clearing land with fire, and collecting vegetation for a wide variety of uses (West 1992). They had communities, roads in some cases, domesticated animals and a wide range of cultures, beliefs, and languages. Relative to the present, the total number of people was low. They had very limited technology with which to modify their environment, primarily fire. As today, these people depended on and used natural resources. The early colonists who settled in the United States from the 1600's to 1800 had quite a different view of their landscape. In relation to Europe, the land was
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 enormous and covered throughout with dense forests. Forests and other wildlands were viewed as an enemy. The landscape was covered with a foreboding wilderness filled with dangers. Those who ventured into this wilderness, fought back nature, and created civilization, were considered folk heroes and pioneers. It is quite clear from the literature, art, and records available that public perception was dominated by the view that forests were endless and constituted a barrier to survival, settlement, and growth. It was considered a laudable undertaking to clear and burn forests. Resources were viewed as limitless, and human impact on the landscape was deemed progress. In the 1800's the focus in the United States was on expansion, settlement, and economic profits derived from resource exploitation and land disposal (West 1992). By the middle of the century railroads had spanned the country. Travel by river boats, wagons, horse, and foot travel had accessed the furtherest reaches of the American landscape. Huge amounts of land had been cleared for towns, farming, and ranching. Widespread land abuse by speculators and large companies was common. Damage to lakes and streams, loss of vast acres of forest, and disappearing wildlife were common. By the 1850's nearly 180 million acres of government territory were transferred to railroads in exchange for laying track in unsettled areas. The land disposal interests of the federal government was epitomized by the passage in 1862 of the Homestead Act. The general public attitude was still that resources were limitless and should be exploited for economic growth. Wilderness the enemy was replaced by wilderness the economic opportunity. The census of 1890 declared the closing of the American frontier. In the view of the United States government, the country was finally settled. The period of the late 1800's and early 1900's has frequently been called the "Golden Age of Conservation" in the United States (West 1992). Public attention and government action focused on the widespread abuses that had occurred in the previous era. As a result of public debate over these issues, a new set of social, cultural, and economic values evolved across American society. This resulted in a variety of conservation oriented efforts, including in 1872 the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, the first in the world; the establishment of the Forest Reserves in 1891, putting in place most of the federal forest land that exists today; and the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. A few examples of resource legislation that were associated with changing social and political views include: The Game and Wild Birds Preservation and Disposition Act of 1900; The American Antiquities Act of 1906 protecting cultural resources; The Alaska Game Preservation Act of 1908; and the Migratory Bird Act of 1918. Clearly American society had established a new and quite different set of values related to public lands and resource management, and it adopted a new paradigm of what constituted a reasonable, prudent approach to land management. This conservation paradigm was embodied by the concept of wise use. The parallel with our present situation is quite striking. The age of conservation was ushered in with great controversy surrounding public lands and resources, whether there should be a public domain, where should it be, how much
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 should there be of it, and what should it be used for. The major issues of that time still sound very familiar; Alaska, migratory birds, planting trees, the effect of catastrophic wildfires, the role and mission of the Park Service and Forest Service, concern for our cultural heritage, and the long-term sustainability of natural resources. From the 1940's through the mid 1980's, the American view and interest in public domain natural resources shifted to efficient production in the context of national needs and economic growth. Beginning with World War II, public lands were "expected" to provide critical elements for the war effort. Wood, minerals, and red meat were a significant part of the national effort and played a major role in economic development following the war. Land management agency programs and budgets were built around market valued outputs and products. In the minds of many, "multiple use" became synonymous with commodity production of wood fiber, metals, and grazing, with a secondary concern for other values. There were however, some very strong signals during the latter part of this period that signaled yet another change in our society's view of the environment. These included: The Wilderness Act of 1964; The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; The Endangered Species Act of 1972; The Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974; The National Forest Management Act of 1976; the first Earth Day in 1971; and Rachel Carson's 1972 book Silent Spring. And on top of the social and legislative activity there was an enormous amount of litigation in the 1970's and 80's related to environmental interests. Like the turn of the last century, our time experienced a great deal of social and political debate about the future of our nations natural resources. By the mid 1980's perspectives on resource management and the conservation of biodiversity in the United States shifted dramatically to one of increasing concern. This mirrored changing global concern for conserving biodiversity with its profound implications for how we manage natural resources (Crow 1989). At the roots of this concern were a recognition of accelerating losses of species, increasing rates of deforestation and soil erosion, and shifting global climate due to the cumulative impacts of human activities. The United States and the World focused on environmental issues. In the United States, Edward O. Wilson led the charge by bringing national attention to biodiversity. His leadership led to a National Forum on Biodiversity that was held in Washington, D.C. in September 1986 (Wilson and Peter 1988). Biodiversity became the central issue for global conservation. Efforts to develop the framework Convention on Biological Diversity were launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in May 1989 when the Governing Council of the UNEP unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by the United States to begin negotiations on an international convention to conserve biological diversity. This was one of several parallel efforts leading up to the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) that was held in June of 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that included the negotiations for conventions on climate change and biological diversity, principles on global deforestation, and various declarations, initiatives,
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 and agendas for UNCED itself (including AGENDA 21). The meeting had a tremendously ambitious goal: to make environmental concerns a central issue in international relations (Raeburn, 1992). THE CURRENT CONSERVATION FRAMEWORK With this historical background, it is easy to see that the United States has a long history of environmental protection, with some of the World's most comprehensive and advanced programs for controlling pollution, protecting public lands and enforcing environmental laws. The first 100 years of conservation tradition has resulted in an evolving framework to help manage and conserve biological resources in the United States for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations that consists of: Reducing habitat loss by using land and water more productively and efficiently, implementing programs to reduce wetland conversion, and purchasing sensitive and threatened areas. Establishing specially protected areas or habitats on about 10% of the U.S. land mass, about 225 million acres including wilderness, research natural areas, and special botanical areas. Special consideration of plant and animal communities in the remaining 20% of the U.S. land mass owned by the U.S. government, about 450 million acres. Restoring degraded habitat and controlling non-native species on public and private lands, and creating man-made habitats. Laws and policies to conserve individual, or groups of, fish, wildlife, and plant species. Statutes, regulations, and policies, which by reducing pollution of soil, water and air, help reduce stress on biodiversity. Ex-situ measures to conserve species and preserve germplasm in zoos, botanical gardens, and other off-site locations. State and local government programs, sometimes in partnerships with the U.S. government. Involvement of private parties and landowners, on their own, and in cooperation with public authorities. International programs to conserve biodiversity including improving the productivity of agriculture and forestry in developing nations, regulating ocean fisheries within a 200 mile limit, and supporting CITES and bans on whaling. Cooperative programs with Canada, Mexico and Central American nations to conserve habitats for migratory species that spend part of their lifecycles in the United States.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 Broad basic and applied research programs focused on the management and conservation of biological resources. DEVELOPING AN ECOLOGICAL APPROACH Clearly every effort should be made to conserve biodiversity (Szaro and Shapiro 1990; Szaro 1994a, b). The conservation of biodiversity encompasses genetic diversity of species populations, richness of species in biological communities, processes whereby species interact with one another and with physical attributes within ecological systems, and the abundance of species, communities, and ecosystems at large geographic scales (Harrington et al, 1990). Current programs to protect, maintain, and enhance populations of particular species contribute to the welfare of components of biodiversity, but they can only deal with a relatively small portion of the ever expanding list of threatened and endangered species (Miller 1994; Reid et al. 1992). It is easy to understand why threatened and endangered species have received the focus of attention. Many are large, easily observable, and often-times aesthetically pleasing. This has resulted in most efforts at restoration and rehabilitation being directed towards endangered as well as harvested species (Bridgewater et al. 1994). Yet, threatened and endangered species represent only one aspect of a larger issue: conservation of the full variety of life, from genetic variation in species populations to the richness of ecosystems in the biosphere (Salwasser 1990). The best way to minimize species loss is to maintain the integrity of ecosystem function. The important questions therefore concern the kinds of biodiversity that are significant to ecosystem functioning. To best focus our efforts we need to establish how much (or how little) redundancy there is in the biological composition of ecosystems. Functional groups with little or no redundancy warrant priority conservation effort (Walker 1992). It is axiomatic that conservation of biodiversity cannot succeed through "crisis management" of an ever expanding number of endangered species. The best time to restore or sustain a species or ecosystem is when it is still common. And for certain species and biological communities, the pressing concern is perpetuation or enhancement of the genetic variation that provides for long-term productivity, resistance to stress, and adaptability to change. A biologically diverse forest holds a greater variety of potential resource options for a longer period of time than a less diverse forest. It is more likely to be able to respond to environmental stresses and adapt to a rapidly changing climate. And it may be far less costly in the long run to sustain a rich variety of species and biological communities operating under largely natural ecological processes than to resort to the heroic efforts now being employed to recover California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), peregrine falcons (Falco pereginus), and grizzly bears (Ursus horribilis). Resource managers know from experience that access to resources is greater and less costly when forests and rangelands are sufficiently healthy and diverse.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 However, endangered species are fundamental indicators of environmental disturbance. Since extinction is a process, not a simple event, the recognition that a species is endangered is little more than a snapshot of a moving vehicle. Attempts at therapy most often address symptoms rather than causes. We have failed to communicate successfully why rehabilitation and restoration beyond the narrow focus of the endangered and harvested are essential. The environmental variables which affect the health and welfare of all the flora and fauna also affect people: water and air quality, recycling of organic and inorganic substances, microclimate, etc. Loss of biodiversity means loss of ecological services and options for the future. The cost of replacing ecological services, already great, will increase to staggering proportions. The real and potential wealth represented by conserved biodiversity cannot be replaced (Bridgewater et al. 1994). The tough choices posed in the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) case in the Pacific Northwest of the United States typify many future issues as the conservation of forest biodiversity becomes a higher social priority (Thomas et al. 1990). Regardless of the eventual outcome of this issue, there is an important lesson to be learned: Conserving biodiversity will not be cheap or non-controversial. Federal land management agencies in the United States have increasingly come under fire over management decisions that appear to decrease biodiversity. The dispute over the spotted owl and old-growth forests is the most visible example of how tough it is to blend the conservation of biodiversity with other uses and values of public resources. It illustrates the reality of "no free lunch" in resource allocations. Even though parks, reserves, set-asides, and easements are critical components in the mix for the conservation of biodiversity they will become more difficult to come by and ultimately will require an expansion beyond the "reserve mentality" (Brussard et al. 1992). Multiple-use of public lands is deeply ingrained. Somehow we have to come up with management prescriptions for our public lands that will allow both consumptive and non-consumptive uses but will do so in such a way that no net loss of native species will occur. For example, a strategy to maximize species diversity at the local level does not necessarily add to regional diversity. In fact, oftentimes in our hast to "enhance" habitats for wildlife we have emphasized "edge" preferring species at the expense of "area" sensitive ones and consequently may have even decreased regional diversity. It is important to realize that principles that apply at smaller scales of time and space do not necessarily apply to longer time periods and larger spatial scales (Crow 1989). Long-term maintenance of species and their genetic variation will require cooperative efforts across entire landscapes (Miller 1994). This is consistent with the growing scientific sentiment that biodiversity should be dealt with at the scale of habitats or ecosystems rather than species (Hunter et al. 1988). If context is ignored in conservation decisions and the surrounding landscape changes radically in pattern and structure, patch content too will be altered by edge effects and other external influences (Noss 1994). For example, landscape connectivity is a direct consequence of the abundance of suitable habitat, its spatial patterning in the landscape, and the organism's scale of resource
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 utilization (Pearson et al. 1994). Moreover, the scale and scope of conservation has been too restricted and steps must be taken to incorporate the benefits of biodiversity and the use of biological resources into local, regional, national, and international economies (Miller 1994, WRI/IUCN/UNEP 1992). The maintenance of biodiversity requires attention to a wider array of components in determining management options as well as the management of larger landscape units. SUSTAINING THE ENVIRONMENT INTO THE NEXT CENTURY The demands and expectations placed on biological resources are high and widely varied, calling for new approaches that go beyond merely reacting to resource crises and concerns (Szaro 1993a; Szaro and Salwasser 1991). New approaches must incorporate fundamental shifts in the scale and scope of conservation practice (Miller 1994). These include the shift of focus from the more traditional single species and stand level management approach to management of communities and ecosystems (Reynolds et al. 1992). The United States is moving forward with an ecosystem management approach, one that is scientifically sound, ecologically based and totally integrated. Common sense dictates that this approach, one that considers the sum of the parts rather than each resource in isolation, is the proper and practical way to head. It uses as its foundation principles derived from conservation biology theory for conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecological systems (Soulé and Wilcox 1980; Soulé 1986, 1987; Salwasser et al. 1994). These principles include: Recover and conserve formally listed threatened or endangered species. Provide for viable populations of native plant and animals species. Maintain a viable network of native biological communities and ecosystems. Maintain structural diversity. Sustain genetic diversity. Produce and conserve resources needed by people. Protect ecosystem integrity soils, waters, biota and ecological processes. Restore and renew degraded ecosystems. Ecosystem management responds to a significant shift in social values, scientific understanding and land management interests from that of the past. Ecosystem management is an identifying name tag for a new and evolving approach to land management. For practical purposes it is generally synonymous with sustainable development, sustainable management, sustainable forestry and a number of other terms being used to identify an ecological approach to land and resource management. Ecosystem management is a goal-driven approach to restoring and sustaining healthy ecosystems and their functions and values. It is
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future ecosystem conditions that integrates ecological, economic, and social factors affecting a management unit defined by ecological, not political boundaries. Its goal is to restore and maintain the health, sustainability, and biodiversity of ecosystems while supporting communities and their economic base. There are four basic operating tenets that provide an "umbrella" for an ecosystem management approach. Under this umbrella are a number of components which are all driven or related in some degree to participation, collaboration, using the best science, and following an ecological approach. These tenets are: Partnerships: Sharing responsibility for land management is fundamental. Ecosystems cross boundaries, making the need for cooperation, coordination, and partnerships a must for managing the entire ecosystem. Participation: Get people involved in all aspects of public resource decision-making so that managers will know their needs and views. It is essential to use a highly participatory process, from beginning to end, before deciding on a course of action by involving all those interested in formulating alternatives, evaluating those alternatives, and describing the process used to select one. The focus should be on desired end results, future ecological and social conditions, and the land use classes and management actions that will best attain them. Scientific Knowledge: Use the best scientific information and most appropriate technologies available to understand the range of choices of actions and the consequences of each. Integrate information and technology, such as ecological classifications, inventories, data management systems, and predictive models, and use them routinely in landscapescale analyses and conservation strategies. This includes strengthening teamwork between researchers and resource managers to improve the scientific basis of ecosystem management (See Soulé and Kohm 1989; Solbrig 1991; Szaro 1994b). Ecological Approach: In the simplest terms, this means looking at many factors across a broad landscape, using several scales, addressing linkages between landscape elements and ecological processes, and a number of other activities. The science of ecology will be applied to multiple-use management, recognizing that people are part of the ecosystems we manage. Landscapes should be used as the basic unit for planning and managing ecosystems to meet specific objectives, both desired future ecological conditions and desired economic and social goals, while reconciling conflicts between competing uses and values.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 Evolving from these four principles are a set of methods and tools that compose the basic elements of any ecosystem management approach. The following represent key elements of such an approach: Address activities and information across several geographic scales. For aquatic information, use a range of nested watersheds; for terrestrial information use, the levels described in Ecoregions of the United States. Select scales/boundaries appropriate for highly mobile species. Adopt means to deal with the complexity that comes with using multiple scales and multiple boundaries across scales for organizing and using information necessary for sound analyses. Conduct information collection, analyses, and planning across administrative and jurisdiction borders to coincide with useful ecological boundaries. Address biotic information across levels of biological organization (cell, organism, population, community, ecosystem, landscape, biome, biosphere). Develop and use methods to recognize and address patterns and change over time and space for key elements at multiple scales. Define major disturbance factors and their range of historic variation. Develop common approaches to ecological classification. Develop, seek out, utilize, and transfer the very best available scientific knowledge. Conduct analyses over large geographic areas that encompass smaller project areas. Cooperatively develop desired conditions. Address effects at the project level and at least at one scale above and below. Develop approaches to share information across many borders, including integrated resource inventories and information provided for national uses. Develop decision support technologies and methods to support the complexities of ecosystem management. Build recognition of uncertainty into those processes, including the fact that most questions will probably never be answered and major mistakes can take a long time to heal. Integrate information and technology, such as ecological classifications, inventories, data management systems, and predictive models, and use them routinely in landscapescale analyses and conservation strategies. Develop information about a variety of species habitat needs. Develop information about ecological processes, including the carbon cycle, nutrient cycle, hydrologic cycle, succession, biological diversity, population dynamics.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 for and means of biodiversity protection, and which ensure sustainable development. The duration of a grant-supported project may not exceed 12 months. THE FUTURE The current Biodiversity Protection Project is being conducted within the so-called "pilot phase" of the GEF. It should therefore terminate in June 1996. The GEF enters its second phase in autumn 1996, if the Core Fund is replenished. The second phase of the GEF will be even more closely connected with the subsequent process of the UN Conference on the Environment and Development. In the area of biodiversity protection, it will be oriented towards supporting countries in meeting their obligations under the Convention on biodiversity and above all in preparing their national biodiversity protection strategies. We believe that Slovakia will be successful in its application for a grant in this phase as well. Nevertheless, winning the grant is not in itself the goal. Rather, the primary goal is (and always will be) to contribute to the protection and preservation one of the Slovakia's greatest treasures—its nature.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 PRESERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN TRANSBOUNDARY PROTECTED AREAS OF BELARUS AND POLAND Victor Parfenov Institute of Experimental Botany Belarusian Academy of Sciences Michael Pikulik Institute of Zoology Belarusian Academy of Sciences INTRODUCTION Belovezhskaya Pushcha, with its centuries of complicated history, will be of the greatest concern here. Whatever that history may be from the standpoint of politics, Belovezhskaya Pushcha can be regarded as an element which has united the intention of people not only to use natural resources, but also to conserve them. RETROSPECTIVE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF BELOVEZHSKAYA PUSHCHA Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a unique complex with protected forests and diverse plants and animals, and it is a source of national pride for both the Belarusian and Polish people. It has acquired world fame for the conservation of wild flora and fauna (primarily in large forest massifs), as well as for numerous studies conducted by many researchers from different countries to determine the ways in which natural ecosystems function. Knowledge of the relationships involved is of very great importance if the trends in human-induced transformations of landscapes are to be estimated. Belovezhskaya Pushcha has contributed much to the restoration of the European bison, a unique animal species in the area. It is one of the most representative protected areas with regard to the biological diversity of plants and animals in the forest zone of Europe. For this reason, a very careful and ecologically-justified approach to solving the problems of conservation in this unique natural complex is required.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 Increasing importance is being attached to the use of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a natural reference standard against which to assess rising human pressure on the natural environment as a result of industrial development, drainage activities, intensive farming, enhanced recreational pressure, transport, and other economic loads. Belovezhskaya Pushcha was declared a national nature reserve as far back as 1939. However, the reserve was transformed into a State Hunting Reserve in 1957. As time has passed (and especially in recent decades), it has become clear that the status and activity of the hunting reserve is inconsistent with the main role of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a model and reserve of nature and that substantial degradation of this natural complex has occurred as a result. Contrary to scientific recommendations and the requirement of a hunting reserve project, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha area supports a high density of hooved game (wild boar, red and roe deer), which is maintained by supplementary feeding and which consequently depletes natural food sources, eliminates undergrowth, and changes the tree stand structure in a harmful way. As a result, natural regeneration has stopped, forests, rivers, plants, and animals are losing their model value, and the integrity and functioning of the natural ecosystems have been disturbed. SCIENTIFIC PROBLEMS Data from studies conducted by the Research Department of Belovezhskaya Pushcha since 1948 have emphasized that wild ungulates were the essential determinants of forest regeneration in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In the period 1948 to 1950, the relatively low density of hooved animals (10 wild boar, 9 roe deer and 7 red deer per 1000 hectares) ensured that the composition of the natural undergrowth did not differ much from that of the maternal tree stand, while the incidences of damaged trees were just over 1% for pine and birch and 9% for hornbeam and oak trees, with almost no damage to spruce trees being noted. In contrast, the results obtained in the period 1972 to 1992, when ungulate density was substantially greater (24 red deer, 11 roe deer and 16 wild boars per 1000 hectares), indicated that even spruce trees were used by the animals for feed. Between 1% and 5% of the spruce trees 0.5 to 2.5 meters high were damaged, as were of 20-30% of the birch trees, 50-80% of the pine trees, and 60-90% of the oak and hornbeam trees. Similarly, while up to 5000 understory oak trees per hectare were recorded under the oak wood canopies in the 1950s, this count in 32 test plots fell to as little as 100 to 400 per hectare in 11 plots in the 1970s. About 60% of the trees were damaged by ungulates. Meanwhile, two experimental plots within a metal fence had oak regrowth with 15,000 to 20,000 trees per hectare. The threat to bison populations posed by a high incidence of disease is another causes of great anxiety. A total of 27 bison died in the period 1982 to 1987, and 45 were culled. This figure includes 15 animals with eye disease and 21 with lesions of the external genitals. No careful investigations of the causes of the diseases have been made. There are cases of farm stock grazing and herding.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 To the detriment of plant and animal biodiversity, the core was transferred in 1982 from the center of Pushcha to its periphery, located next to drained land. This relocation has decreased the scientific and practical value of the data on the state of natural complexes obtained under the Chronicle of Nature Program. The uniqueness of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the dangerous ecological situation faced by it led to discussions of the possibility of a more reasonable proportioning of the conservation and economic functions. Lengthy discussions included a proposal from leading Belarusian scientists that the State Hunting Reserve (SHR) be reorganized into a reserve enjoying the highest form of protection available in the former Soviet Union. In the end, however, the SHR was transformed into a State National Park (SNP), a designation which leaves all the problems of biodiversity conservation unresolved. PROBLEMS OF OPTIMIZING THE PROTECTIVE REGIME IN BELOVEZHSKAYA PUSHCHA Two sets of problems have to be addressed. On the one hand, it is necessary to heed the interests of residents, their traditional way of life, the potential for jobs, and the impossibility of relocating them beyond the protected area. On the other hand, there is an urgent need to preserve the natural state of the ecosystem. Such potentially conflicting interests force us to divide the area into several zones with different conservation regimes, in a manner that follows the principles set out for Biosphere Reserves. Given the real situation and the necessity to give complete protection to the largest possible area, three zones have been identified within Belovezhskaya Pushcha State National Park: a core zone under absolute protection, a protected zone, and a buffer zone. The area designated as the core (30% of the whole area) was identified on the basis of its having the highest diversity of natural complexes, the best-conserved primary forest, meadow, and water ecosystems, a diversity of forest types, aerial integrity, and sufficiently large size. Areas with the farmsteads of residents and with land used traditionally in agriculture should be excluded from the core zone and placed within either the protected or buffer zones, depending on the intensity of their economic use. Any human intervention in the natural development and functioning of the biogeocenoses, except for arranging mineralized bands, firefighting activities, and research, is forbidden in the core zone. The protected zone (about 60% of the total area) is the main part of the Reserve. Its regime is intermediate between that of the core and buffer zones. All activities carried out there are under the control of the Scientific Department and should be aimed solely at conserving disturbed natural complexes and increasing their stability, as well as restoring natural biogeocenoses. Activities in the protected zone are restricted to necessary, scientifically-justified human intervention in the ecosystems. All activities should promote the restoration of primary forest types
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 and the maintenance of animal populations at levels corresponding to the natural forage base. The buffer zone has areas with the traditional extensive cultivation of crops in the vicinity of settlements and areas with the farmsteads of local residents, as well as forestry, drained land, arable land, and grassland. One important problem is controlling the numbers of hooved game animals. It may be solved by culling or catching ungulates. The personnel of the reserve have accumulated extensive experience in hunting, and there are enough specialists, tools, and equipment to allow for the shooting and catching of large numbers of animals. Efficient methods exist for the live catching of wild boar, red and roe deer, and bison. In the winter of 1987, for example, 500 wild boar and red deer were caught for slaughter outside the Reserve. Heavy culling of wild boar and red deer is necessary, while less intensive efforts are required for roe deer and elk. To solve the general problem, in view of the biological characteristics of each type of ungulate (reproduction, horns, etc.), it is suggested that animals be culled by different methods and on different dates (for more detail refer to ''Scientific Grounds of Controlling the Number of Wild Animals in Belovezhskaya Pushcha," approved by the Scientific Board of the Institute of Zoology, Academy of Sciences of Belarus). Also recommended are activities for the conservation of bison, which derive from the Symposium on the Conservation of Bison in Belarus (1992). These recommendations can be presented briefly as follows: To develop a state "Program of Conservation, Dissipation, and Management of Bison Resources in Belarus," which, apart from practical recommendations, should set out scientific grounds for the strategy and tactics of resolving bison-related problems in the next 10 to 15 years; To expand the set of studies concerned with diseases of bison and the genetics of their population; To create an experimental basis for research into the diseases of bison and develop efficient methods for their prevention and treatment; To reduce the number of hooved game animals to the reasonable level recommended by the Institute of Zoology of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus; and To develop the practice of establishing free herds of bisons in Belarus. In following the approved recommendations, it was necessary for the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Belarus to establish a free herd of bison in Volozhin District, and this was done in the spring of 1994. The Ministry should continue to establish new herds as suitable land is found. It should also develop principles for selective culling in free herds, including limited hunting. To keep numbers at the most reasonable levels, the Ministry should also entrust the Commission for Bison
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 with the keeping of a Pedigree Book for the Beloveshzkii bison subspecies, in coordination with the International Pedigree Book of Bison in Warsaw. THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR ACTIVITIES AIMED AT CONSERVING BIODIVERSITY IN BELOVEZHSKAYA PUSHCHA All activities aimed at conserving the biodiversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha should have an adequate scientific basis. At present, a wide range of studies is in progress under a World Bank Project entitled "Conservation of Biodiversity of Forests in Belovezhskaya Pushcha." Simultaneously, a program of ecological research into the ecology of the biome of Belovezhskaya Pushcha is being developed under a joint project of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the Polish Academy of Sciences. Late April 1994 saw a meeting of the working group in Kamenyuki to coordinate this program and submit it for approval by the presidiums of the academies of sciences of Belarus and Poland. The main objectives, which are very important for the development of effective recommendations for conserving the biodiversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, are developing a dynamic model of the functioning of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha biome, including estimations of: a) biotic and abiotic components of the environment and their roles in the forest landscape; b) natural and human-induced changes in the vegetation cover, fauna, and ecosystems; c) the functioning of ecosystem components (populations of model species and plant and animal groups); d) the ecological basis of economic activities in the protected areas; and e) the present state and future dynamics of biological and landscape diversity, as well as strategies for their conservation. To increase the effectiveness of studies carried out to estimate the state and dynamics of the biodiversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, it would seem useful to arrange periodic publications of collected papers, especially joint works. CONCLUSIONS In achieving the general aim of conserving the biodiversity of Belovezhskaya Pushcha as a transboundary protected area, the following strategic problems can be distinguished: Interstate problems (the conservation and management of protected objects by the international community) should be resolved at the level of the governments of Belarus and Poland; National problems (the perfection of the management structure and the optimization of the status of protected areas) should be handled by each party given the general aim of conserving biodiversity in forest landscapes;
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 Research-management and scientific problems (the development of joint research projects, the unification of research methodologies, and joint research which takes into consideration the characteristics of the Polish and Belarusian parts of Belovezhskaya Pushcha) should be resolved by cooperation between the national Academies and the Scientific Departments of the protected areas, with financial support from the states, academies, and international research foundations.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION IN COUNTRIES WITH ECONOMIES IN TRANSITION Zuzanna Guziova Slovak Ministry of the Environment Everyone on earth understands the outstanding cultural value of Egypt's Pyramids, but only a small number of people understand that the same applies to natural ecosystems. Furthermore, man can survive if the Pyramids are destroyed, but the degradation of natural ecosystems would result in the extinction of mankind. Not understanding this could have tragic consequences if not changed by the world's people. The environmental conservation movement has existed for years on both the national and international levels. The most recent high-level environmental summit, the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, fully reflected the complexity of the problems which development entails. Different interests of various groups were expressed during the meeting, ranging from a proclamatory approach on the needs of environmental conservation while maintaining harmful technologies and hesitant environmental policy to sincere expressions of interest in harmonizing development and conservation. The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro also brought into everyday use the new term "biodiversity," a topic which at the same time became the subject of one of the most important environmental conventions ever written, the Convention on Biological Diversity. There is no doubt as to the need for this Convention, but many questions have arisen regarding how to put its recommendations into practice. Biodiversity is by no means evenly distributed over the planet. Certain areas are naturally far richer than others, and natural richness has also been influenced by many years of exploiting natural resources in each particular area. Nevertheless, more or less pristine areas are still found on each continent, and they are important sources not only for actual and potential use, but also for biodiversity itself. These last remnants of natural ecosystems serve as the Earth's "safety net." The protection of outstanding natural areas and endangered plant and animal species is necessary, but protection alone is not enough. The Convention has made
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 a step forward in dealing with the protection of all life forms, even those which have resulted from biotechnology. Such protection is organized differently from country to country, and very much depends on social and economic situations. There is a formerly socialist group of countries in Central and Eastern Europe which are now known as countries with economies in transition. Decades of state ownership of land provided for the establishment of a relatively dense network of protected areas rich in endemic and relict species. The on-going transition of the economies within the region has given rise to specific problems to solve, particularly the privatization and re-privatization processes, which may involve dangers for biodiversity. One of the legal successors of the former Czechoslovakia, the Slovak Republic, is a small Central European country with a forest cover of nearly 40% (of a total area of 49,035 square kilometers or 18,928 square miles). With more than 5 million inhabitants, it has a population density of 107 inhabitants per square kilometer. Having 40 years of socialist history and associated economic problems, the country still has relatively well-preserved natural ecosystems, which is partially reflected in the fact that (as of January 1, 1993) areas protected by the national Nature Conservation Act (including their buffer zones) cover 27.03% of the country's territory. This is attributable to the long-lasting state nature conservation policy as well to relief/site conditions in the country. However, the changing ownership of land as a result of both privatization and re-privatization, combined with a lack of financial resources for environmental issues, now poses a great danger to the preserved natural ecosystems. The aforementioned dense network of protected areas of various categories and types is one of the positive facts of history. On the other hand, this network has been established more on the basis of the knowledge and interests of individuals and interest groups than on complex analyses of valuable natural features and the need to protect them. This is a negative feature because the network is extensive and includes areas which do not require strong conservation control (and even areas with intensive economic activities). On the other hand, territories requiring intensive and strong protection lack not only human but also financial resources needed for effective protection. Nature conservation was understood as the activity of a small group of people studying nature, taking care of outstanding natural phenomena, or completing endangered species lists. But this definition is too limited. Nature/biodiversity conservation can even play an important role in improving a country's economy if a reasonable balance between man and the environment is maintained. Early in the 1990s, when ownership relations changed as a result of political changes throughout the region, this incorrect understanding of the role of nature/biodiversity protection within the national economy produced serious problems. A lack of economic analysis of the potential positive effects of nature conservation activities on the long-term prosperity of local areas or the country as a whole is combined with the effects of the interests of new or newly-restored
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 landowners, who are mostly oriented towards economic figures and often lack even the most basic knowledge of ecosystem processes. Thus, improving the population's understanding of biodiversity and the role of biodiversity protection in broader circumstances must be a substantial element of biodiversity conservation (and a precondition, if it is to be effective). It must be made clear that protecting biodiversity means more than just maintaining the existing number of species within the respective ecosystems. Such an approach would result in conservation of the present state. Actions must be taken to protect biodiversity on all its three levels—genetic, species, and ecosystem—in order to preserve the sustainable production capability of ecosystems, which is the support mechanism for all life forms, including humans. On the policy level, biodiversity protection strategies should include the following: Canging economic criteria to reflect the effectiveness of the use of natural resources considering their regeneration capability; Analyzing the effectiveness of alternative land uses from the long-term perspective (this is extremely important, especially in this region and in a period when new owners are making decisions on the future use of their land); Determining the social and cultural value of species and ecosystems and including this information in economic analyses; Changing legal and economic tools to stimulate ecologically-sound ways of using natural resources; Promoting intensive biocentrically-oriented environmental education based on the idea that economic growth is part of a country's development and not its main goal; Changing the common view that conservation activities are of interest to a small group of strange people and promoting the understanding that conservation is a modern and interdisciplinary applied science comprising not only biological knowledge, but also economic analyses and ethical principles; Determining the carrying capacity of ecosystems, considering not only local site conditions, but also effects of global changes on carrying capacity; Considering aspects of consumption as an inseparable part of population growth and integrating this into development strategies/prognoses; Utilizing biodiversity prospecting, not only for consumption for commercial/industrial uses, but also in relation to its potential non-consumption use (the "soft" tourism industry); and Analyzing the financial flows resulting from natural resource use and allocating these equally between development and conservation purposes at the local, regional, and national levels.
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Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop Bieszczady and Tatra National Parks, Poland May 15-25, 1994 The protection and sustainable use of biodiversity are new economic and ecological principles, principles which must become an inseparable part of policy at both the national and international levels. It must be the ethic of the third millennium.
Representative terms from entire chapter: