DIPA needs expansion

This transboundary protected area has proven a very effective tool in conservation of fragile ecosystems, and stands now as one of most efficient international protected areas in North Eurasia. The trilateral cooperative arrangement created incentives for joint research and monitoring , which covered not only the three protected areas, but most parts of the extensive Daurian steppe. Further development of DIPA is critically important for:

  • Conservation of Daurian steppe and wetlands, globally significant bird and mammal migration paths, and securing well-being of several globally endangered species (cranes, geese, etc);
  • Further advance of cooperation among China, Russia and Mongolia in nature conservation, related research and sustainable use of natural resources; and
  • Raising world-wide awareness of the globally important Dauria Steppe Ecoregion and its biodiversity, which could be achieved through establishment of trilateral UNESCO-MAB biosphere reserve, or the first trilateral World Natural Heritage site, or a trilateral Ramsar wetland.

Research and conservation programs successfully undertaken in the area during 14 years since DIPA establishment, however, have shown that the current protected areas coverage and management system needs improvement to achieve sustainable results in grassland and wetland conservation.

The area under DIPA management still lacks the extent and integrity necessary to protect local populations of key indicator species. Thus, many adjacent areas critical for survival of globally threatened birds (Red-crowned Crane, White-naped Crane, Swan Goose, Great Bustard, etc.) are presently not included in DIPA and lack protection measures , which results in decline of bird populations. In 2007, for example, due to human induced factors coupled with drought, 90% of White-naped Cranes of the Dauria steppe did not start breeding, while the number of breeding Swan Geese has decreased five times from 2004 to 2007. These negative trends are especially evident in such global biodiversity hotspots as the Argun/Erguna River Midflow on the China-Russia border (Goroshko 2008). The main calving areas of Mongolian Gazelle are also situated outside of DIPA and some of them are threatened by accelerating development (Kiriliuk 2007).

In addition, the lack of a common border between Dalai Lake Biosphere Reserve in China and other parts of DIPA in Russia and Mongolia (and a common transition zone uniting all functional parts of DIPA) constrains cooperative conservation activities and joint participation in the UNESCO Man And Biosphere System and some other high-profile international programs (DIPA 2006).

To solve the above mentioned problems, we wish to propose the expansion of DIPA in several areas:

  • Erguna/Argun wetlands section has critical value for protection of wetlands and waterbirds of Dauria;
  • Gazelle Steppe section is most important for the restoration of Mongolian Gazelle populations and steppe fauna; and
  • Buir Nur Lake section is an internationally listed Ramsar wetland, critically important for protection of waterbirds of Dauria.

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