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Human Impacts and Threats to Biodiversity
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The Amur-Heilong River basin has become an arena for economic cooperation and competition between the countries of Northeast Asia . This has increased human-induced pressures on ecosystems and species. Repeated reports at the beginning of the 21st century describing degraded or lost biodiversity, habitats, water quality and other natural resources raise concerns over how much more human pressure these eco-regions can bear without losing potential for natural recovery.

In light of the tremendous natural and socio-economic diversity in the Amur-Heilong River basin , any given type of impact might have a different effect in Russia where the population density is 1-14 people/km 2 than in China where there are 50-100 people/km2.

World-wide assessments of human impact, produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s provide general but useful information on the current status of Amur Heilong River basin . One fragment of the Asia-wide GLOBIO human impact assesment map vividly shows distribution patterns of major human activities across the basin.

Another map derived from the “The Human footprint” assessment shows all remaining areas in Amur Basin's eco-regions where human impact is still relatively low, thus allowing to classify those areas as “wilderness” (E. W. Sanderson et al., 2002) From these maps we see that there are already no sizeable “wilderness areas” remaining in four of the fifteen eco-regions of the basin.( LINK to ecoregional map )

Monitoring of environmental and ecological parameters in Amur-Heilong has been historically sporadic and currently there is little reliable information covering the entire basin. Reliable and uniformly presented data on biodiversity trends are especially lacking.

We present a map on the intensity of threats to biodiversity in Southern Russian Far East (RFE), which, together with maps of species richness, were used to produce the map of conservation priorities for the southern RFE, which is the basis for the Ecoregion Conservation Action Plan for Russian Far East Ecoregional Complex of 2003 (ECAP RFE 2003). We also present a table describing major human impacts identified in ECAP RFE and separate assessment for forest ecosystems.


Most widely recognized threats in Amur-Heilong biodiversity are:


However, the biggest underlying threat is a pioneer (or “colonialist” as you like it ) mode of development pursued by all countries, an approach that lacks a common concern for the preservation of ecosystem health and for sustainable nature resource use.


Map collection: Environmental impacts of economic development



GLOBIO human impact assesment

Human footprint and ecoregions of Amur

Human footprint and protected areas coverage

Threats to biodiversity in Southern Russian Far East

Industrial Development in Songhua River Basin (ADB 2005)


GIS: Human footprint


Web-site: Programs “Development of Russian Far East and Transbaikalia” “Development of East Siberia and the Far East” and their environmental implications: link to projects and atlas


Human impact reaches even the most remote corners of the Amur basin, but degree differs dramatically. Russian off-road vehicle. (Photo by V.Solkin)

Also look:

Economic development:

Sustainable future of Amur-Heilong

Russia – status of economy

Northeast China - status of economy

Mongolia – status of economy

Russia-China cooperation

Mongolian Foreign Trade and Cooperation

Mongolian trade diagrams-2003

Comparison table on Eastern Mongolia and Xinganmeng China

Comparison table on southern RFE and Heilongjiang Province, China

Policy for Revitalizing Old industrial Bases in NE China


Cumulative impacts -how much is affected?

Threats to major ecosystems in the Russian Far East Ecoregion-table


"Strategic considerations on environmental issues of Revitalizing Old industrial Bases in NE China"

"Strategy Recommendations"

Our questions on "Strategy Recommendations"

Gloomy forecast of the future environmental impacts

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