New nature reserve created in Russia at the initiative of WWF
It is also home to a significant number of endangered red-listed species. Old-growth spruce and spruce-fir forests in the reserve are recognized as particularly valuable for the Barents region. Work on the creation of the protected area has been carried out for several years.
«In 2009, we discovered that one of the intact forest landscapes in the south-east of the Arkhangelsk region disappears due to destructive clearcuttings. – says WWF Project Coordinator Denis Dobrynin. - We immediately conducted negotiations with forest industry companies operating these forest areas, and were rebuffed: they did not want to compromise and planned to conduct clear-cutting there. We didn`t despair, in 2010 we carried out a field survey, which later formed the basis of the project of the reserve».
Then there were new negotiations with timber industrialists, expeditions, interaction with the forests management authorities. Joint work of WWF and the Regional Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection resulted in the project of the reserve, which received positive conclusion of a State ecological appraisal. Now it became known that the Government of the Arkhangelsk region approved a decree on the establishment of the landscape reserve of regional significance «Uftyugo-Ileshsky».
«This is a good example of constructive cooperation between NGOs and regional authorities - says the Head of the Barents office of WWF Russia Oleg Sutkaitis. - I want to believe that this success will inspire other subjects of the Barents Region, the Murmansk Region and the Nenets Autonomous District in particular, to active cooperation with WWF for the creation of new protected areas».
«Uftyugo-Ileshsky» reserve is situated in Verkhnetoemsky and in Krasnogorsky districts of the Arkhangelsk region, on the border with the Republic of Komi. Its area of 78,000 hectares (780 sq. km.) is a part of a large intact forest landscape Verhnevashkinsky. These forests are of particular value: they have never been disturbed by significant human impact, which let preserve ecosystems rare for the Arkhangelsk Region.
The area of the reserve protects the headwaters of Uftyuga and Ilesha rivers. Populations of rare and endangered species of plants, animals, fungi were identified here during scientific expeditions: wild forest reindeer, eagle owl (Bubo bubo), European flying squirrel (Pteromys volans), orchid - yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), and lichen - Usnea longissima.
«We`d like to thank all who believed in the establishment of the reserve, and helped us to prepare a project of it, - says Denis Dobrynin. – And thank you those who did not believe in its creation: you have given us the strength to work harder and prove that it is possible to find a compromise between the use and conservation of forests!»