Russia Creates Bikin National Park!
The newly created Park is the traditional land of Udege people and home for the Amur tiger.
“The forests of the Bikin River, often referred to as “the Russian Amazon' constitute the biggest area of intact mixed forests in the Northern Hemisphere. These forests are home for 10% of the Amur tiger population. The creation of the Bikin National Park practically marks the completion of establishing the protected areas network necessary for the adequate protection of Amur tigers. The newly designated park also takes in the account the interests of the Indigenous people living in the region, - said Yury Darman, PhD., director of the Amur Branch, WWF-Russia, the distinguished ecologist of the Russian Federation. - It is a very vast forested territory, located in the Western slope of the Sihote-Alin Mountain Range, the only big basin with intact forests where no logging was ever done. Therefore, these forests look exactly like the Ussury taiga prior to the mid of 19th century.”
To highlight the importance of this area, it should be noted that there are only two natural analogs in the Northern Hemisphere, similar in their ecological and geographical values: Olympic National Park on the Pacific coast of the United States and Gros Morne National Park on the Atlantic coast of Canada.
Leading international experts confirmed an outstanding global value of the Bikin River Basin. In 2010, this forest massif was included into the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List. The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin ordered to create a protected area of federal level in the basin of the upper and middle reaches of the Bikin River.
In addition to the exceptional nature conservation value, the future of the indigenous inhabitants of the Bikin River Basin - Udege and Nanai people - depends on the preservation of these forests.
“The creation of this national park is, among other things, a great benefit to indigenous peoples, because in this case the nature protection will be guaranteed in the Bikin River Basin. Mother Nature, where Udege and Nanai people - our hunters – are living a traditional way of life. Therefore, it is hard to overestimate the importance of the creation of this Park”, - says Pavel Sulyandziga, the vice-president of Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East (RAIPON).