Dauria project is one of 8 members of UNECE Water Convention pilot project on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins.See review of all projects:core_group_overview_pilot-projects_progress_final.pdf
Adaptation to climate change in transboundary headwaters of the Amur River Basin
Background: of the project.
Dauria wetlands support globally significant populations of at least 20 bird species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, including the Red-crowned Crane, and resting and feeding areas for several million migratory waterbirds. Indigenous 30-year climate cycle effectively drives dynamics of Dauria ecosystems, but multiple manifestations of global climate change are also very evident there. Recent rapid socio-economic changes and loss of nomadic heritage in Dauria Steppe makes ecosystems and local communities less resilient to naturally fluctuating resources and to droughts and floods made more extreme through climate change. Drastically different cultures, population density and mode of economic development and water use in Russia, China and Mongolia, make it very difficult to build transboundary mechanism to protect common water resources. Meanwhile risks for wetland ecosystems and dependent population are further exacerbated by recent proposals for several inter-basin water transfer projects in the Argun River basin in China and Mongolia.
Dauria International Protected Area (DIPA) was created by Mongolia, China and Russia in 1994 to protect and study ecosystems of the region. All three countries also have bilateral agreements on transboundary waters, which lack clear mutual obligations. Increasingly altered by human activities Argun River basin with Dalai Lake and still relatively pristine Uldz River basin with Torey lakes form a great comparative pair for a study on transboundary water management options and climate adaptation in Amur River Headwaters.
The project coalition led by Daursky Biosphere (representing DIPA) and WWF Russia is aiming to harmonize transboundary river protection and management in Dauria -by
1. -Strategic assessment of river management options in the light of climate adaptation
2. -Establishing wetland monitoring system in both Argun and Uldz basins
3. -Enhancement of protected areas network as one of key adaptation measures —
4. -Awareness raising program program on climate adaptation in transboundary Dauria.
The project seeks to develop and promote science-based adaptation measures to complex cycling climate of Dauria region, which is severely affected by global warming. The project addresses domestic and international policy-making, as well as selected conservation and monitoring practices in the field. We also seek to create a platform for scientists from interested countries to advance understanding of dynamics in Dauria ecosystems under climatic and anthropogenic influences.
In 2010 the project formed partnerships with Administration of Zabaikalsky Province, International Crane Foundation, East Asian-Australasian flyway Partnership, Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, Institute of Natural Resources and Cryology of Russian Academy of Sciences, and a number of Mongolian and Chinese NGOs and researchers. Some project activities were granted support in 2011 from UNDP\GEF «Russian Steppe Conservation» Project administered by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources.
Achievements in 2010:
1) Analysis of climate change influence on hydrology in Argun , Onon and Ulz River basins has been started based on hydro meteorological data, remote sensing data and field observations. Data on Torey lakes water regime, area and shape dynamics were derived from satellite imagery, Torey lakes water balance calculated for 1960-2009. WWF Mongolia contributed study on climate change projections in Dauria for 2020, 2050 and 2080 determined by models HADLEY and ECHAM and possible consequences for 3 transboundary rivers (Khakh, Kherlen and Onon).
2) Data collected on habitat and biota conditions on key water courses and water bodies during the dry phase of climate cycle.
3) Analyzed datasets on multi-year observations of wetland plant communities succession, abundance and breeding success of waterbirds, etc.
4) Development most of information base necessary to determine parameters of environmental flows on transboundary watercourses. Collected most relevant case-studies and methodologies from dryland rivers of the world (e.g. Australia, US, etc);
5) Developed monitoring system and established 3 field monitoring transects with more than 100 standard observation plots, which allow to discern changes in stream flow, water surface, plant communities succession under climatic fluctuations. Agreed with DIPA partners on transboundary monitoring effort.
6) Started establishment of International Bird Observatory: agreed on common monitoring protocols, developed network of observation points for bird migration and nesting periods.
7) Delivered Project-related reports at 3 international conferences and published 5 short papers.
8) Sustained collection and dissemination of project -related information via English and Russian -language web-sites: www.arguncrisis.ru, www.dauriarivers.org (web-site in Chinese under construction).
Lessons learned that could be of use for the other projects
— Natural climate fluctuations indigenous to the area may mask presence of linear climate change
— Change in water temperature may affect river ecosystems earlier than change in flow volume ( loss of habitat of native species and invasions of exotics)
— Poorly planned human activities initiated in anticipation of climate change (including some adaptation measures) may drastically hurt ecosystem much earlier and more severe than consequences of actual global climate change
— Riverine wetland conservation is an essential component in any basin-wide adaptation Progamme and should first of all focus on protecting natural refugia during most unfavorable climate conditions and sustaining environmental flows.
Dr.V.Kiriliuk, Daruasky Biosphere reserve (DIPA) email@example.com
Natalia Kochneva, Ministry of natural resources and ecology of Zabaikalsky kray. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. E.Simonov, Consulant to WWF Amur Programme,