Where stands the Taimyr National Park Initiative? – Interview with Natalia Malygina

This year was the 30th anniversary of the first biological expedition to Taimyr performed by representatives of the Academy of Science in Moscow and WWF-Germany. Natalia Malygina worked that time as a scientist for the Taimyrsky Zapovednik in Khatanga. She followed the protected area development, which resulted from the Russian-German cooperation in the 1990s. Today she works as a lecturer and researcher at the Ural Federal University. She promotes the Taimyr national park-initiative to fill the last gap in a complete South-North transect of protected areas on the North-Siberian peninsula. In the following interview, LT&C is asking Natalia about the present status of her initiative:

Natalia Malygina

Natalia, what was the original reason you started the Taimyr national park initiative?

Taimyr is the Siberian peninsular of superlatives. Several of its attractions could be of interest for eco-tourists and natural science visitors:  It is not only the northernmost part of mainland Eurasia but also the most extensive continuous tundra area of the entire continent. Taimyr represents the highest diversity of tundra habitats and ecosystems and is one of the largest unfragmented wilderness areas of Russia and the Arctic as a whole. It is the crucial breeding area for several shore- and water-bird populations on the Northeast end of the East-Atlantic Flyway.  And it hosts the largest wild reindeer population and the biggest (reintroduced) muskox population of Eurasia. There is no better area in the world, where the natural phenomena of lemming cycles and the dependence of other wildlife on it can be studied. Besides the biological treasures, the peninsular on its southern border is inhabited by a unique diversity of indigenous peoples groups, often operating as reindeer herders. Altogether, Taimyr could serve as an ideal site, where the climate adaptation concept of providing protected corridors, where habitats and ecosystems can move, could be applied. 

 What is the today situation of the protected area network on Taimyr?

Besides the already mentioned superlatives, Taimyr today has one best coverage of protected areas in Russia. More than 20% of the large peninsular is very well preserved by strict nature reserves, such as the Taimyrski Zapovednik in its centre part, or the Great Arctic Reserve in the North, and other types of protected areas.  What is still missing, although discussed already 30 years ago, is a link between those two zapovediks, so that an entire South-North corridor could cover the complete sequences of the tundra habitats of the peninsular. To ensure this corridor could be significant in times of climate change and new industrial development interests, growing all over in the Arctic. To design this missing link as a national park could increase investment of eco- or nature-based tourism and provide a base for increased understanding and support of sustainable development on Taimyr. 

Is the Ural Federal University supporting your initiative and involved in any way? What about WWF-Russia?

For the Ural Federal University, I present the scientist with the primary and most comprehensive work regarding nature conservation issues of Taimyr and with the focus of getting the national park initiative implemented. From WWF-Russia, I have not received much interest in the national park initiative yet.

What kind of response have you got so far from relevant regional or federal governmental institutions?

I have not yet received an official response from governmental institutions. I still need to find the right contacts and channels to discuss my initiative.

What are your further plans to promote the initiative and how likely do you think it once will be implemented? How can LT&C support a positive development to complete the protected area network on Taimyr? 

This year and with facilitation of LT&C, I had the chance to present my work and ideas for the Taimyr National Park Initiative at the Northern Sustainable Development conference of the Northern Forum in Yakutsk. I, therefore, hope that the Northern Forum may also in the future provide some connections to relevant regional governmental bodies and support my ideas in principle. Maybe LT&C could further help to link up with related non-governmental organisations and institutions, such as the Slava Fetisov Foundation, WWF or LT&C-partner “Zapovednik Centre“. The chance that the Taimyr National Park once will be implemented indeed grows with more governmental, non-governmental or research institutions are getting interested in it. And maybe tourism interests could also play an important role.

Misool Private Marine Reserve, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Misool Private Marine Reserve, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

The Misool Private Marine Reserve protects a spectacular amount of biodiversity. Home to many endemic marine species like the charismatic bamboo shark, and colourful Nursalim Flasher Wrasse, the Misool Reserve supports the highest concentrations of reef fish biomass in the area. Located within the Indonesian archipelago of the Raja Ampat Islands, the reserve has an area of 1220 km2. Composed of two separate no-take zones which are connected by a gear-restricted corridor, the Misool Private Marine Reserve is committed to amalgamating tourism and marine conservation.

The Misool Reserve is jointly managed by the Misool Foundation and Misool Resort. In 2008 the Misool Resort opened to guests and began working with the Raja Ampat government to establish explicit regulations regarding ecotourism development, and operations in the region.

The Misool Resort provides financial contributions in tandem with industry partners and private donors to the Misool Private Marine Reserve. The Misool Private Marine Reserve has helped create over 200 local jobs in partnership with the Misool Resort and Misool Foundation. Tourism management is the main focus of Misool Private Marine Reserve, and the management team effectively enforces tourist based regulations as demand increases. In April 2017 the Misool Reserve won the Tourism for Tomorrow Award in the Environment category, in recognition of their successful practice of sustainable tourism. Due to its importance to biodiversity and strong effective regulations, the Misool Private Marine Reserve received a Platinum Blue Park Award in 2018.

Between 2007 and 2013 fish biomass increased on average of 250% within the reserve, and up to 600% at individual sites. These increases are due to the effective enforcement activities of park rangers. Enforcing the protective regulations of the reserve is crucially supported by the tourism based income acquired from Misool Resort. The budget of the Misool Private Marine Reserve is composed of grants, fundraising efforts, government stipends, corporate donations, and donations from Misool Resort. However, in 2018 the donations from Misool Resort comprised 25% of the total income for Misool Reserve. The significant financial resources received push Misool Reserve toward financial solvency, and fund their continued conservation success. The management teams from Misool Resort and Misool Reserve work together to effectively regulate tourism and produce real results for marine conservation.

The management plan of Misool Private Marine Reserve is reviewed every three years, and consistently updated. Management of this MPA is currently focused on regulation of tourism, as they continue to use tourism to drive their conservation efforts. Established in 2011, the Misool Manta Project collects population and behavioural data on manta populations. This project has produced a robust collection of data on the migratory and resident manta populations. Mantas can also be “adopted” by guests, further contributing to the funding of this Misool Reserve. In 2019 Misool Resort also doubled its contribution commitment from US $50 per guest to US $100 per guest.

A high importance is placed on educating local communities, especially promoting and fostering a culture of ocean stewardship in children from local villages. The Misool Foundation prioritizes the education of future generations as ocean guardians. They have further programs in place to create attractive alternative livelihoods for fishermen who are repeatedly caught fishing inside the reserve.

The Misool Foundation uses a conservation model that works with, employs, and supports the local communities. MPAs will not succeed without the help and guidance of local communities. The efforts of management to educate local fishermen is a key pillar of their success. The Misool Manta Project is another aspect that can be repeated in other areas linked by tourism and conservation. Using tourists to collect scientific data while also helping to fund MPAs is an incredibly successful model. Projects like this can provide a significant amount of data to the government, NGOs, and researchers to leverage further conservation efforts.

Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto, Italy

Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto, Italy

Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto protects 22.3 km2 of marine and wetland space along the Adriatic Coast of South-East Italy. Founded in 1991 by the Italian Ministry of Environment on collaboration with the local Municipality of Carovigno and World Wildlife Fund Italy, Torre Guaceto was established in order to “safeguard marine biodiversity and biological resources and to promote and enhance the local economic activities provided which are compatible with the naturalistic aspects and landscapes of the area.” (GLORES Evaluation Report 2019)

In 2014 Torre Guaceto was found to be one of the richest examples of marine life in the Mediterranean. This marine life can be found in the seagrass beds, covering approximately half of the marine protected area, which protect hundreds of juveniles of crustaceans, fish, sponges and molluscs. There are also rare gorgonian coral formations found throughout the subtidal zone of Torre Guaceto as well. Along with being a designated marine protected area, Torre Guaceto is also recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance as “Ramsar Site 215” and in 2019, Torre Guaceto MPA further earned a silver level Blue Park Award for conservation excellence.

To learn more about tourism activities within Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto check out the Puglia tourism website here or Torre Guaceto’s website here. The Torre Guaceto website offers examples of common tourist itineraries for the park as well as all of the activities available to the public.

Torre Guaceto’s management uses community engagement and tourism as a tool to help support the MPA both financially and through public awareness. The Torre Guaceto Visitor Centre was created and operates with the intended purpose of engaging with tourists, schools, and the local communities. The Centre hosts regular trekking excursions, wildlife watching activities, and snorkelling and sailing lessons. Additionally, as part of a collaborative project with WWF-Italy, the MPA has a turtle rehab and education Centre intended to increase the public and tourist’s knowledge of sea turtle habitat throughout the Mediterranean.

The Area Marina Protetta di Torre Guaceto is a regular feature of local tours like the “Discover the Valle d’ltria (Trulli land)” tour hosted by the Vito Maurogiovanni Tour Guide. These tours include the MPA as well as other points of historical interest throughout Puglia. Along with traditional tours, Torre Guaceto has a public beach which is heralded as one of the very best in the region which is regularly flocked to on summer weekends by both tourists and locals alike. 

As all points of public engagement with the MPA are funnelled through the Visitor Centre each visitor to the MPA has access to information about the incredible biological diversity and importance of the space as well as the rules for use which help protect it. Torre Guaceto is purposefully designed as an accessible space for both tourists and local residents alike making it a sustainable and equitable example of tourism and conservation.

Yes! There are currently four main conservation goals for Torre Guaceto’s management. One of which is the “Promotion of socio-economic development compatible with the aims of the reserve alongside existing traditional activities.” For Torre Guaceto this includes the continuation of existing conservation projects like the collaborative sea turtle monitoring program as well as the development of new collaborative programs to engage the public and tourists in monitoring for invasive species.

Maintaining equitability between local access and tourism is a key factor in the success of Torre Guaceto. This should be a priority for other protected areas around the world who have local communities who regularly access the intended protected space, therefore, increasing willingness to abide by protective regulations within both local residents as well as short term visitors. Programs which engage both user groups should be a priority for protected areas seeking to emulate Torre Guaceto’s model of tourism and conservation.

Canada wants the world to decide on 30% protected areas as the goal for 2030

Canada seems to become the main trend-setter for a more ambitious protected area goal to be reached by the world in 2030 than the present “Aichi target 11” of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Next year at their COP15 in China, the CBD will have to inform the world how far we have reached the 2020-target of getting 10% of the oceans and 17% of the land protected. And new targets, which also should relate to the Sustainable development Goals (SDG), need to be agreed among the world’s environment ministers for 2030. With his mandate letter of December 13 the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made clear that he wishes that 30% of both land and oceans should be protected area.

Justin Trudeau gave his Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard the following mandate: “Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to introduce a new ambitious plan to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent by 2030. This plan should be grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives. Advocate at international gatherings that countries around the world set a goal of 30 per cent conservation by 2030 as well.”

Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C) understands itself as a support organisation for the CBD “Aichi target 11”. Showcasing examples (LT&C-Examples), where tourism is supporting protected areas, should have a learning effect and lead to more protection. LT&C looks with great interest to the upcoming post-2020 decisions on protected area goals and certainly will adapt its mission to them. We hope that the new goals will be at least as ambitious as Canada now proposes and will continue to motivate tourism to support them.

New Best Practice Guidelines on Applying the IUCN Protected Area Categories to Marine Protected Areas

IUCN and WCPA are pleased to announce the publication today of a new and updated edition of Best Practice Guidelines on Applying the IUCN Protected Area Categories to Marine Protected Areas. As the world moves towards understanding how well the marine % target within Aichi Target 11 is being achieved by 2020, and a new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is being developed, greater clarity and precision is required. The Guidelines will contribute towards meeting this need. 

You find the English version of the guidelines here: