Protected Areas and Econet of Ukraine as instruments of conservation and innovation
Ukraine still has marvelous, virgin areas, forests as well as wetlands. Our country indeed has fantastic treasures, the importance or the ecological value of which are difficult to overestimate. During the last years a great attention was given to new kinds of tourism and particularly to green and rural tourism which combines elements of health-improvement activity, ecological education, rising of awareness in the field of regional ethnography and environmental protection. Returning to the nature, to the land, to one’s roots any person returns to his essence and becomes himself. Ukraine with its historical past as a crossroads of civilizations, with varied, colorful landscapes and lively, welcoming people is ideal for this kind of tourism. Especially good conditions for development of such kind of tourism are at the territories of national and landscape parks because of the possibility to combine the recreation of a full value with becoming acquainted with natural, historical and cultural potential of a region.
National network of the reserves institutions was established in Ukraine and is developing now, the area of reserve territories amounts now about 2.4 mln ha or more than 4% of its territory. This is our “gold fund” which facilitates restoration of the ecological balance, refinement of air and water, increasing of number of animals and plants. National nature parks and biosphere reserves of Ukraine are the main nature protection, cultural, educational, scientific research institutions, which make bright preciousness of natural acquirement, natural, historical and cultural inheritance of Ukrainian people. Basic direction in creation of nature reserve objects is their multifunctional, particularly of national parks, that allowed to combine nature conservation and prerequisites of sustainable use: bioresources, tourism, recreation/resort, aesthetic, eco-education.
The law "On the State Program of Development of National Ecological Network for the Years 2000-2015" has been developed in the context of requirements related to the further refinement, improvement and development of the environmental legislation of Ukraine, as well as in line with recommendations of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy in respect of the issue of the development of Pan-European EcoNet as a single spatial system of areas of European countries with the natural or partly altered condition of a landscapes.
The principal objective of the above Programme is to increase the area of lands under natural landscapes to the level sufficient for the preservation of their diversity close to their initial natural conditions and the development of their territorially integrated system built to ensure a possibility of using natural ways of the migration and propagation of plants’ and animals’ species. At that, the National Environmental Network should meet the requirements to the operation thereof within the Pan-European EcoNet and perform the leading functions in respect of the biodiversity conservation. Besides, the Programme should contribute to the balanced and sustainable use of bioresources in the economy.
The role of EcoNet for environmentally deeply degraded territories, ecological capacity of which to a great degree has been used up and extreme conditions are being formed, is of a great importance. For such territories it is the only possible way out of the crisis situation for the nearest period of time.
The conceptual scheme of Ukrainian EcoNet is represented in the Figure 7.1.
It was foreseen that National EcoNet should meet the requirements to the operation thereof within the Pan-European EcoNet and perform the leading functions in respect of the preservation of biodiversity. In addition, the Program should contribute to the balanced and sustainable use of bioresources. The natural regions, natural corridors and buffer zones in their continuous integrity shall form a network, which unites natural landscape areas into a territorially integrated system. The Program also provides for the integration of the national environmental network with environmental networks of neighboring countries, being members of the Pan-European Environmental Network by means of setting up common trans-boundary elements of the network within natural regions and natural corridors, agreeing upon the land use projects in border areas.
Organization of natural core areas, buffer zones and corridors is attended with integration of nature conservation activity into activity carried out in different sectors, agricultural and forestry (maintenance of traditional management mode), tourist (maintenance of village tourism with taking into account the interests of local population), transport (co-operation, e.g., in determination of transport corridors), fishery (based on principles of ecologically-balanced development), territorial planning (establishing of zones of so-called “green lungs”, taking into account urbanization and also necessity of geographic disposition of EcoNet), and at last into legal sphere (development of adequate normatively-legal guaranteeing).
For Ukraine as well as for the other countries in transition, creation of EcoNet gives an opportunity to stop negative changes of the living component of the environment and facilitate the implementation of the principles of sustainable development and balanced use of natural resources and supporting first of all agrobiodiversity.
One of the main tasks of the Programme is to agree upon the issues related to the transboundary integration of EcoNet elements of the neighboring countries with elements of the National EcoNet in order to develop the Pan-European Network. The Programme provides for the establishing of transboundary nature protection areas of international importance, integration of the National EcoNet with EcoNets of neighbouring countries being members of the Pan-European EcoNet by means of setting up common transboundary elements of EcoNet within natural regions and natural corridors, agreeing upon the land use projects in border areas. The common transboundary elements of the national EcoNet will be set up in cooperation with Republic of Poland, Republic of Belarus, Russian Federation, Romania, Republic of Moldova, and Slovak Republic.
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