International Environment Forum at Changbaishan Nature Reserve

International Environment Forum at Changbaishan Nature Reserve

18 September 2013

A large-scale international environment forum on the possibility of establishing a global alliance of biosphere reserves was held at the Changbaishan Nature Reserve. Attendees included representatives from nearly 100 global reserves and 14 countries.


The agenda included discussion of the details involved in establishing a global alliance, primarily consisting of trans-border cooperation among the world's specially protected natural areas.


Leopard Land was represented at the forum by Andrei Borodin, the reserve's director, Yelena Salmanova, deputy director for science and environmental education, and research associate Dina Matyukhina.


On the forum's first day, the Russian delegation was shown around, including the most famous natural sites.


On the forum's second day, the official three-hour opening ceremony was held. The Governor of Jilin Province gave the opening speech.


The opening ceremony was followed by the first part of the discussion, Preserving Global Biodiversity. It included ten reports by different global environmental organisations on the performance of specially protected natural areas of five continents and the countries of Oceania. Leopard Land research associate Dina Matyukhina gave a presentation on the use of modern methods to develop models for Amur tiger conservation.


"Speaking before a large international audience of representatives of nature protection organisations is exciting. I was not sure whether the audience would understand everything I was saying, so I tried to be brief in stating the crux of the problem, and the methods and results of the research. I was very pleased to receive positive feedback on my report from international specialists, to answer questions regarding the subject of my research and to get advice on how to improve the reports' quality. I again realised how important it is to convey scientific data in simple words that are clear to everyone, which, believe me, is not that simple!" Dina Matyukhina said.


The forum has special meaning for representatives of the Leopard Land reserve, as the final issue for discussion was the agreement on the reserve's trans-border cooperation with three Chinese reserves. This cooperation plays an important role in the conservation and restoration of the Far Eastern leopard's wild population. Although nearly all the leopards currently live in Russia, the habitat will expand, and will possibly include Chinese territories on the border with Russia. This conclusion was reached after the 2013 winter accounting, which revealed 49 leopards instead of 30 in 2007. The good news is that the above-mentioned territory of China is a protected area with two reserves.


The Leopard Land reserve, where more than a half of all the leopards currently live, plays a key role in leopard conservation. The institution seeks to understand how the animals spread beyond their territory. The agreement with the Chinese specially protected natural areas provides for close cooperation and expert exchanges, and most importantly regular information exchange on the state of the leopard population on both sides of the border. Data will be collected on the basis of uniform methodology, which has never been done before.