Yury Darman, director of WWF Russia Amur branch, received the award for valor in establishing nature reserves and national parks
Dr. Yury Darman, Director, WWF-Russia Amur Branch – in recognition of his dedication and inspiring leadership of the Amur Ecoregional Programme, which has led to the establishment of new protected areas on 4 million hectares, networking the system for conservation of Amur tiger, Far Eastern leopard, Red-crowned crane and Oriental stork.
Dr.Yury Darman was born in 1956 in Amurskaya province of Russia. He graduated Irkutsk Agriculture Academy as wildlife biologist in 1978, and in 1986 defended Ph.D. dissertation in Khinganskiy nature reserve. He devoted 34 years of his life to creation of system of protected areas and conservation of rare animals in Amur Ecoregion. Yury Darman is the author and co-author of 197 scientific papers, including 9 monographs and brochures. 104 of them are devoting to creation of protected areas.
Started as technician in oldest Russian zapovednick (strict nature reserve) – Barguzinskii, he has been worked for 9 years in Khinganskii nature reserve and doubled its’ square. Then for 11 years he has been implemented his idea in Amur Research Center of Academy of Science, forming the system of protected areas in the Amurskaya province. For last 13 years , Yury has been continuing creation of network of protected areas (Econet) in the whole Amur Ecoregion as a director of Amur branch of WWF Russia. To a large degree due to his efforts, the total square of protected areas in Amur Ecoregion was increased by 4.6 million hectares (61 new protected areas), from which 2 zapovednicks, 3 national parks, 2 federal refuges and 9 provincial refuges were established with his personal participation. It is the main result of Amur Ecoregion Action Plan, which was elaborated under leadership of Dr.Darman in 2002, who has been coordinating all activities on protected areas and attracting more than 10 million dollars for it implementation. Yury Darman has been supported Association Russian Far East nature reserves, helping in annual meeting of their directors, training for rangers and educators, conducting conferences and symposiums. The cooperation between bordering nature reserve along Amur River is important part of his work with colleagues from China and Mongolia.
As an achievements of Yury Darman work on protected area can be mentioned:
1. Forming a local Econet on Arkhara lowlands in Amurskaya province, covering 21% of district and 80% of all wetlands. 2 new clusters were added to Khinganskii nature reserve to double its square, and Ganukan wildlife refuge was established as corridor connected them. Created network of protected areas was nominated as the Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar site) for conservation of Red-crowned crane and Oriental stork.
2. Creating the first in Russia public protected area – Muravievka park of sustainable nature use. In cooperation with Dr.Smirenskii, International Crane Foundation and Wild Bird Society of Japan, the 5000 ha of breeding grounds of cranes and storks were leased for 25 years by Socio-Ecological Union, non-governmental organization. The wetlands and agriculture lands have been managing now for conservation and sustainable use, the constructed Visit Center attracts thousands of eco-tourists and serves for annual International student summer camps.
3. Forming the system of protected areas in Amurskaya province, covering now 11,5% of its territory. In 1988, Dr.Darman took a leadership in elaboration of Program for Protected Area Network development in Amurskaya province of Russia. As a member of provincial parliament he lobbied its approval in 1991 by government of province. Then he brought all his forces to program’s implementation. In 1995-1999, with WWF grants he had prepared all backgrounds and ensure establishment of Norskii state nature reserve (more than 200 thousands ha). The nature reserve became the alternative for planned Dagmar Hydropower Plants and helped to save unique migratory population of Siberian Roe deer (more than 40 thousands animals). It was the first PA on 200 km chain on migratory ways of this population and later was added by 1 federal refuge, 3 provincial wildlife refuge and enlargement of 4 refuges (totally 980 thousands ha). To ensure implementation of Program, Yury Darman had initiated Governor of Amurskaya province to launch in 2001 the WWF Gift to the Earth as a promise to create additional 1.4-million ha of new protected areas. In 2012, the Amur branch of WWF Russia could celebrate the 140% of implementation of Gift to the Earth – in 10 years more than 2.1 million ha were taken under protection (established 1 zapovednick, 1 federal refuge and 18 provincial refuges, and enlarged 11 refuges).
4. Forming the network of protected wetlands along the North East Asia flyway. In cooperation with Wild Bird Society of Japan, Tokyo and Hokkaido Universities, Dr.Darman has been conducted the large scale investigation of migratory way of cranes and stork, using color banding and satellite radiotracking. The report got Ecological Research Award from Ecological Society of Japan as best scientific paper in 2005. Based on results, the most important stopovers and breeding grounds were designated as the protected wetlands. It were along valley of Amur River and its tributaries. The North East Asia Crane and Stork Site Network became an important tool for international cooperation between protected areas along all flyway.
5. Creating first national parks in Russian Far East. Since 1999, Dr.Darman enforced establishment of national parks in tiger habitats as a new form of federal protected areas. And in 2007-2008 the work was resulted in establishment of 3 national parks (Zov Tigra, Udege Legend and Anuiskii) with total square of 600 thousands ha. All national parks got starting support from WWF projects, including purchase of headquarters and cross-country vehicles for patrolling.
6. Creating a united protected area to save Far Eastern leopard. In 2011, Yury Darman launched the Far Eastern Leopard Conservation Program with main emphasize on establishment of large united protected area of federal level. Due to many interagency problems, he should use the stepwise approach, at first amalgamate existed 2 refuges of different agencies to united federal refuge “Leopardovy” under jurisdiction of Ministry of Natural Resources. On second stage, the national park “Land of Leopard”, and now the united protected area covers 280 thousands ha (65% of leopard habitats) and became the basis for establishment of Sino-Russian transboundary nature reserve. And the number of endangered Far Eastern leopard has been increased from 27-30 to 40-45 animals.
7. Protecting the land through the forest conservation concessions is the very new approach in Russia. In 2007-2009, WWF helped to partners to lease 6 large blocks of Korean-pine broadleaf forests on total square 680 thousands ha. The specially elaborated Management plans ensure sustainable use of natural resources, first of all non-timber forest products, game species and tourism. The exclusion of commercial logging on conservation lease allows prepare first in Russia project for carbon sequestration under the frame of Kioto protocol.