When the Amur/Heilong Initiative (AHI) was launched by WWF in 2002 WWF, the Russian Far East office ( now WWF-Russia, Amur Branch) was tasked with developing a basin-wide knowledge base covering all requirements for the planning of integrated river basin management (IRBM). Together with Tom Dahmer, we took the risk of compiling the Amur-Heilong River Basin Reader to provide the first basin-wide description of the status of natural resource use and conservation problems in the Amur-Heilong basin. Immediately after its completion, we realized that most people will never have time to read so much material. So I was tasked by WWF US (Darron Collins) and WWF RFE (Yuri Darman), as well as UNEP Amur-Heilong GEF Project (Tatiana Minaeva) to prepare a short synopsis that conveys the full picture of Amur-Heilong environmental issues but with less detail.
Many sources were used to compile this collection and so it is difficult to attribute the authorship to a specific, small group of individuals. As the complier, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all managers, donors, experts, officials, NGO-activists, photographers and GIS-wizards who supported this work and who provided essential pieces for its compilation and who provided advice and review. Compiling a full name list is nearly impossible task, so please look at the Reference Section in the original Amur Heilong River Reader.
Overall editing of the original book and substantial information and case-studies were provided by Tom Dahmer (Ecosystems Ltd., Hong Kong/Harbin , China). The text was rendered readable and consistent by Tom's tremendous editorial efforts. He dedicated three years of his personal free time and energy and also much of his company’s time to improving each consecutive version of the Amur-Heilong River Reader. In the final stages of our long work Darron Collins (Amur–Heilong Program manager, WWF USA) made a concerted effort to help improve style, language and structure. At various stages very comprehesive reviews of draft text were done by Professor Frederic Lasserre of Department of Geography, University Laval, Quebeck and Professor Xiaoming Bai of Jilin Province Environmental Science Institute, China.
Additional contributors include Alexander S. Sheingauz (Institute of Regional Economy RAS, Khabarovsk, Russia), Sergei S. Ganzey, V. Karakin, Alexey Lankin (Pacific Institute of Geography, Vladivostok, Russia), Liubov Kondratieva (Insitute of Water and Environment Problems, Khabarovsk), and Tatiana Strizhova (IPREK, Chita). A translation of Sheingauz’s book on the RFE Forestry sector was provided by Misha Jones (Pacific Environment, USA).
Anatoly Mandych (Institute of Geography, Moscow) and Aleksey Kokorin (WWF Russia) contributed to a general analysis of climate change impacts on ecosystems and land-use.
Critically important material on nature reserve management and species and ecosystem process research was contributed by the Russian zapovedniks (strict scientific nature reserves), especially by the Research team of the Khingansky Nature Reserve (led by Sergey Ignatenko, Mikhail Parilov and Vyacheslav Kostrykin); Dauria International Protected Area (DIPA) (Vadim Kiriliuk, Olga Kiriliuk, Oleg Goroshko (all Russia), Odmaa Badamjav (Mongolia), Liu Songtao (China); Lake Khanka International Nature Reserve (Irina Maslova (Russia), and Wang Fengkun (China).
Some essential information was collected in cooperation with Green Longjiang Youth Environment association of Heilongjiang Province, and Liu Xuechan (then a graduate student at North-East Forestry University, Harbin).
Updated databases on protected areas and other useful pieces on protected areas statistics were provided by Vladimir Andronov (RFE Division of Federal Agency for Control in the Sphere of Natural Resources) and Yury Bersenev (WWF Amur), Natalya Kochneva (Chita Province Administration), Vassily Gorobeiko (Evreisky Autonomous Province Division of Federal Agency for Control in the Sphere of Natural Resources), and Han Manglei (Hulunbeier Flora and Fauna Protection Station of Forest Agency).
Most WWF RFE maps, including the standard AHRB map, were prepared by Evgeny Egidarev and Andrey Purekhovsky (WWF Amur). Some crucial maps were provided by Frederic Lasserre (Quebec, Canada). GIS demo version was prepared by E.Egidarev (WWF Amur)
Photos were donated by WWF RFE and many dedicated individuals. Design of HTML version was undertaken by Anastasia Markina (Moscow) and myself under remote supervision of Denis Danilov (WWF Amur Branch).
I want to thank sincerely all those who helped in preparation of these materials and hope that our collective effort will help many readers to discover the reaches of Amur-Heilong River Basin.
North -East Forestry University, Harbin, China.
WWF Amur-Heilong Programme Advisor
Compiler struggling with a giant thumbleweed in Mongolian Steppe (Photo by Vadim Kiriliuk)