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Nature conservation: econet and protected areas
Protected area types glossary
Related maps, pictures, links

I. Russia protected area types

1.Zapovednik (Strict Scientific Nature Reserve) often referred to as national nature reserve
State-level organization that holds title to its land and meets IUCN category Ia or Ib criteria for management objectives prescribed by law. Mostly consists of strict protection zone and zapovednik management bureau, that has patrolling, research and environmental education staff.

2. Zapovednik buffer zone
In Russia PA law prescribes formation of a buffer zone around zapovednik with restrictions imposed on land-use (regime similar to zakaznik described below but normally much better enforced due to presence of on-site staff)

3.National park
National park system started in the 1970s as a part of the Forest Service and combined conservation and recreational objectives with limited forestry. Each national park has on-site staff and complicated zoning regulations. NP management bureau normally holds title only to core zone and some other areas, but also controls lands owned by other landholders.

4.National wildlife refuge (federal zakaznik)
Zakazniks (refuges/nature reserves to protect zoological, botanical, or landscape features, or in some cases a combination of these features). Evolved from temporary refuges established to replenish wildlife populations. The most flexible and diverse type of PA; established either by federal, or more frequently, by provincial government. Established to protect natural features and prevent ecosystem fragmentation, restore rare species populations and preserve attractive scenery. Land titles are usually not withdrawn from landowners, tenants or users (forestry enterprises or farms) in zakazniks, but conservation restrictions are imposed on land-use. Federal zakazniks normally staffed with 2-3 patrolling officers (game keepers), but not necessarily true for provincial zakazniks presently managed by some branch of province govenment.

5. Provincial wildlife refuge - the same as 4 but gazetted and manaed by provincial authotiries. Normally does not have resident rangers.

6. Nature monument (national, provincial, local)
PA established to protect geological,zoological, botanical, or landscape features of examplary nature on limited acreage, are established either by the federal government or by national,provincial or even district authorities

7. Nature park
PAs established by provincial administrations, that besides biodiversity value, have some scenic value for tourism.

8. Botanical park/garden/ arboretrum
Also considered protected areas according to Russian Protected Areas Law

9. Nature resort (healing landscape)
Nature resorts (typically beaches or mineral springs) have separate management system dictated by the needs of institutions and clients using them for medical and recreational purposes.Also considered protected areas according to Russian Protected Areas Law.

There also numerous PA types not listed under "PA Law" of Russian Federation, but established by provincial legislation or various resource-management agencies. Below few examples from RFE.

10. Pine-nut production groves ( cedar-seed production zone)
area protected from logging under Russian forestry regulations to ensure sustained yield of cedar nuts from Korean Pine or Siberian Cedar-Pine.

11. Sanitary protection zone
A no-access or limited-use zone around reservoir supplying drinking water in Russia.

12. Water protection zone
A zone with restricted land-use established along a river, lake or other water body according to water management laws and regulations.

13. Ecological corridor
PA connecting important ecological areas to secure migration, exchange of genetic resources or other important movement of biological species/ In Russian Far East only Khabarovsk province explicitly defines such PA type in provincial legislation.

14.Wetland of provincial importance
New PA category established in Amurskaya oblast in Russia

15.Traditional land-use territories (Territory of aboriginal land-use)
Areas where land-use restrictions are imposed to provide for traditional lifestyles of aboriginal hunters, fishers, gatherers. Governed by special national legislation that has never been properly enacted. Cover 30% of Khabarovsk province, but have no or very little conservation effect. most authors do not recognize them as PAs.


II. China protected area types

1. Nature reserve
The most common PA management category in China, established for a variety of purposes at national, provincial, prefectural, and county (district) levels. Has three management zones: (i) core area with no use but research and conservation; (ii) buffer zone where collection, measurements, management and research is permitted; and (iii) experimental zone where scientific investigation, public education, tourism and raising of rare and endangered wild species are permitted. Protection objectives include: (i) natural ecosystems (forest ecosystem, grassland ecosystem, desert ecosystem, inland wetland and watershed ecosystem, ocean and coast ecosystem); (ii) wild animal protection; (iii) wild plant protection; and (iv) natural monuments (geological formations and paleontological)

2. National (local) forest park
a PA type established for recreational purposes in China under Forestry Administration at national or provincial level

3. Ecological Function Conservation Areas (EFCAs).
These are large areas that, by design, include settlements and a wide range of human activities, and often overlie existing NRs. The aim is to provide coherent guidance to land use across critical ecological zones with important biodiversity and ecological processes

4.Scenic landscape and historic site.
A recreational or educational site designated for protection of landscape or historic resources but typically lacking management personnel or infrastructure, and not governed by national legislation or regulation


III. Mongolia protected area types

1.Strictly Protected Area (SPA)
Wilderness areas with high scientific value. PAs divided into: pristine zone (nothing but research allowed), protected zone (conservation-related activities also allowed,), Limited use zone(tourism, religious ceremonies, plant collection allowed). Hunting, logging and construction prohibited

2. Buffer zone of SPA
Strictly protected areas of Mongolia often have outer buffer zone designated to protect larger landscapes and linkage between protected areas. Restrictions on land-use are minimal and normally not enforced. Most conservation experts do not count them as PAs, but officials often do.

3. National park
Areas with natural, cultural, educational values. NPs divided into core areas (conservation and research allowed), ecotourism zone (tourism and related activities allowed), limited use zone (also allow grazing, and construction with NP’s permission)

4.Natural reserve( nature reserve)
Could fall into ecosystem, biological, paleontological and geological categories. NRs allow for economic activities that do not harm values under protection.

5. Natural monument
NM protect unique landscapes, cultural sites, sight-seeing attractions. Allow for many activities non-conflicting with protection objectives


Protected areas of Eurasia

Protected areas and human footprint

Protected areas of Amur-Heilong (all)

Major protected areas of Amur-Heilong

Vegetation map

Terrrestrial ecoregions

Global 200 Ecoregions

Freshwater ecoregions

Upper Ussury –Lake Khanka.

Khanka Lake international nature reserve

Small Hinggan transboundary area (Manchurian forests ecoregion)

Dauria Steppe Global 200 ecoregion

Detailed hydrography of Amur River basin

Wetlands of Amur

Human footprint and ecoregions of Amur

Threats to biodiversity in Southern Russian Far East



Protected areas in Russia

Protected areas in China

Protected areas in Mongolia

Three gorges of the dragon river

Introductory tour of Amur basin

Way to the Ocean.Okhotsk - Manchurian Taiga

Da Hinggan - Dzhagdy forest ecoregion in Russia

Stanovoi Range: taiga and tundra

Ussury forests

Small Hinggan


Daurian steppe

Song-Nen plain

Amur meadows and wetlands – Amur midflow

Khanka Lake and Upper Ussury Wetlands

Lower Amur Wetlands


GIS: Ecological network


DIPA expedition at the border of Ugtam Natural Reserve in Dornod (Photo by O.Kiriliuk)

Also look:

Protected areas in Amur-Heilong River basin:

Protected areas coverage in Amur River Basin

Russian protected areas

Mongolian protected areas

China nature reserves

Protected areas planning

Cooperation between nature reserves


Econet-ecological networks:

WWF Vision for Amur-Heilong Conservation

Conservation along the border

Wetland conservation

Grassland conservation and migratory wildlife

Selected Amur-Heilong protected areass and proposed fields of cooperation (Table)

Major wetland regions of the Amur-Heilong River basin ( Table )

Ecological Network for Amur: The Amur-Heilong Green Belt Concept


Model areas for transboundary conservation:

Dauria international Protected Area-DIPA

Middle Amur –Sanjiang wetlands

Khanka –Ussury wetlands and forests

Small Hinggan Mountains-Three Gorges of Dragon River

Land of the Leopard


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