You are on page 1of 6

Human economic activities and natural cataclysms account for the negative changes in the ecological situation in the

republic. Atmosphere pollution, anthropogenic influence on different water objects and underground waters, erosion processes and pollution of soils and plants by heavy metals and pesticides, destruction of forests by fires and vermin poaching, disposal of industrial wastes and consumption contribute to the general deterioration of the Baikal environment. Every year more than 130,000 tons of contaminating substance is discharged into the air and more than 700 mln cubic metres of sewage is dumped into water basins. 39,2% of agricultural area is exposed to erosion that causes reduces the biological diversity of plants. The organisation and control of the realisation of the Complex Federal Programme of Baikal protection and rational use of natural resources in the Republic are entrusted to the State Committee of ecology and natural resources use in the Republic of Buryatia The State ecological control is carried out by the State Committee of Ecology together with services of Forest Protection, Goskomzem ( State Committee of Land), Baikal-rybvod ( Baikal Fish and water), tax inspection and prosecutors. Public ecological organisations and citizens take an active part in it as well. Nature protection activities are directed to elaborating measures for reduction of anthropogeneous pollution and improvement of ecological situation.

The Complex Federal Programme, adopted to realise the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated March 25, 1992, N 295 On extreme measures for the state support of the economy of Buryat SSR provides measures for Lake Baikal protection and rational use of natural resources in its basin. The programme envisions the elaboration and realisation of interrelated nature protection projects, social and economic measures, providing governing and organisational conditions, for sustainable development of the Baikal region, preservation and reproduction of unique ecological systems of Lake Baikal. Since 1996 Baikal has been included into the list of " World Heritage, which has become an important step in solving nature protection problems in the region. Solving the problems of environment protection and economic problems must be a closely interrelated process on the basis of ecological and economic development. This approach presents an evident change from the preceding history of development in the Baikal region. Under modern conditions the most realistic way to solve nature protection problems is to develop the economy using ecologically safe and scientific technologies alongside traditional and cheap kinds of natural resources use. The present less-spending economy can not develop effectively under market conditions and does not correspond to modern ecological demands, though there are many debates on this topic at international forums. A thorough analysis of the present conditions of the regional economy and its perspectives enables one to identify major spheres of industry to become the basic for sustainable development of the region, i.e. agriculture, wood processing, power engineering and transport. The choice of these areas of industry is based on two factors: firstly, they should satisfy the primary needs of the society, and secondly, they do not demand considerable expenditures for their development.

However, this does not reduce the relevance of the problems of technical reconstruction aimed at reducing harmful ecological consequences.

Important aspects of the status of ecosystem components and human activities as revealed by the most recent data are:

Temperatures were generally higher than average throughout 2008, but lower than the two previous years. Average sea-ice extent has declined during the last three decades and was below average in 2008 but higher than in 2007 o The stocks of capelin, Northeast Arctic cod and haddock are all increasing. Stocks of shrimp and saithe have decreased the recent years. According to ICES, all five stocks are harvested in a sustainable manner and have full reproductive capacity. The stock of polar cod is at a high level. The stocks of Greenland halibut, golden redfish, deep-sea redfish and coastal cod are at low levels. There are indications that the Greenland halibut stock is increasing and there are signs of improved recruitment in deep-sea redfish. The amount of juvenile herring and blue whiting, which are not fished in the Barents

Sea, has decreased during recent years and is at present at a low level. Several species of fish in the Barents Sea are listed on the Norwegian Red Lists of threatened species Zooplankton biomass has dropped since 2006 and was below the longterm mean in 2008. It was higher in the eastern parts of the Barents Sea, possibly as a result from low predation pressure from capelin and polar cod, which were mainly distributed in other areas in 2008 Biomass of benthic organisms has varied substantially through time and between areas in recent years. Some of this variation is due to changes in populations of snow crab and red king crab. Long-term changes in the benthic community through the 20th century have been linked to temperature variability and intensity of bottom trawling, but the role these factors play in the observed variation in recent years cannot be identified with certainty o Population data are scarce for most species of marine mammals in the Barents Sea, making it difficult to identify population trends and their possible underlying causes. For harp seals and hooded seals, existing data have shown that population size and/or pup production are probably being negatively affected by declining sea ice. Ringed seal reproduction has been negatively impacted by recent poor ice years in Svalbard (2006, 2007 and 2008), and the poor production is bound to cause declines in the adult population when these age cohorts should have come into the breeding population. Stocks of harbour seals and grey seals in Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea are subject to fishery-related mortality and hunting mortality that in combination are unsustainable. Harbour porpoises are also subject to by-catch in fisheries, and in order to sustain current levels of by-catch, immigration from outside the Barents Sea is required. Several species of marine mammals in the Barents Sea are listed on the Russian or Norwegian Red Lists of threatened species o The situation for seabirds in 2008 was characterised by continued declining population trends and breeding failure of several species in the western parts of the Barents Sea, in particular northern fulmar, black-legged kittiwake, razorbill, Atlantic puffin and common guillemot are experiencing declines. This is similar to trends seen over much of the Northeast Atlantic in 2008, but in contrast to the situation in the eastern and northern parts of the Barents Sea, where seabird populations appears to be generally stable or increasing. The

situation in the eastern Barents Sea including the Pechora Sea is however difficult to assess due to lack of monitoring data. The factors responsible for the declining trends in the western parts of the region probably involve food shortage, predation from an increasing population of white-tailed eagles and lagged effects from previous by-catch in fisheries. There are several Red Listed species of seabirds in the Barents Sea o As described above, the major commercial fish stocks in the Barents Sea are harvested sustainably, whereas some of the smaller stocks are overfished. The quota for minke whales is considered precautionary, conservative and protective and quotas and catch rates for harp seals are considered sustainable. The harvest rate of red king crab is high and it remains to be seen how this will affect the population The general level of discarding from fisheries in the Barents Sea is not known. The general rate of by-catches of fish has declined during recent decades, but this issue is still a problem The Barents Sea is relatively clean from pollution. The exception is PCB and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are still occurring in significant concentrations in top predators like polar bears and some seabirds. Due to regulations and bans of several POPs (e.g PCB and HCB) there has been a decreasing trend in input to the Barents Sea the last decade. However, in the last few years, increasing trends are again seen for some of these substances. Levels of radioactive substances have been decreasing in recent years, but there is still a risk of significant radioactive pollution from several local sources, such as radioactive waste containers dumped in the Barents and Kara Seas by the former Soviet Union (FSU) and sunken submarines in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea No major accidental spills of oil from ship transport or oil and gas activities have occurred in the Barents Sea in 2008 or the recent past.

Threats to Ecosystems For thousands of years, people have interacted with ecosystems. Many cultures developed around nearby ecosystems. Many Native American tribes of North AmericasGreat Plains developed a complex lifestyle based on the native plants and animals of plains ecosystems, for instance.Bison, a large grazing animal native to the Great Plains, became the most important biotic factor in many Plains Indians cultures, such as the Lakota or Kiowa. Bison are sometimes mistakenly called buffalo. These tribes used buffalo hides for shelter and clothing, buffalo meat for food, and buffalo horn for tools. The tallgrass prairie of the Great Plains supported bison herds, which tribes followed throughout the year.