Muraviovka Park had been established in 1996 by the International Socio-ecological Union (ISEU, Moscow) on 5,206 hectares of wetlands and arable lands leased in 1994 from Tambovka District Administration (Amur Region) in southeastern Russia.
Six species of cranes, the Oriental White Stork and over 20 other rare and endangered species of birds inhabit the park.
Since there are very few such unique places in the world, the park and adjacent territories in the Amur River valley were included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The park has become the first non-governmentally managed nature territory in Russia and its experience and activities are described in textbooks in a number of countries.
The park is a pioneer in sustainable land use implementation, with a goal to benefit wildlife conservation while increasing living standards and education levels of local community.
The park conducts several correlated directions of activities:
1. Research, Protection, Restoration, and Management of Endangered Wildlife Species and Communities
Due to the ongoing fire suppression program, trimming of side free branches, planting of lure crop for cranes and other birds, environmental education and public awareness programs, nesting density of endangered birds in the park’s "working lands" is significantly higher than in other specially protected nature territories in the Amur Region.
Up to eight pairs of the endangered Red-crowned Cranes, five to eleven pairs of White-naped Cranes, and eight to ten pairs of Oriental White Storks breed in the park annually.
During seasonal migrations, hundreds of Hooded and White-naped Cranes use the park lands as stopover, along with thousands of Bean and White-fronted Geese.
Local communities, especially schoolteachers and students, are actively involved in this work. Park began projects on restoration of the Swan Goose, Red-crowned Crane, and steppe communities.
2. Sustainable Land Use
The park made initial steps toward ecological, economical and social sustainability.
The Demonstration Farm excluded herbicides and pesticides instead of burning unused straw they mulch and put it back into the soil as natural fertilizer.
The park introduced advanced technologies to produce lumber for its construction projects, such as solar kiln; wildlife tourism and handicraft production are being developed.
All this is reducing environmental pollution, diminishing wild fires and weeds, increasing soil fertility and crop production, lowering costs of growing high quality organic produce, providing new job opportunities, and involving local community in the park’s activities.
The lure crop keeps the cranes and geese in the safety of the park, preventing both the crop damage of the neighboring fields by birds and shooting of birds by angry farmers.
The cranes became less afraid of people, and the growing number of organized bird lovers visiting the park does not disturb the birds. At the same time, presence of visitors, especially children, discourages poachers from illegal actions.
In addition, the park is planting a tree nursery, wind breaks, an arboretum, and initiated a program to restore historical forests in the area.
These programs help to create new habitats for wildlife, and improve conditions for habitats and education for the people.
Since 1994, more than 2,000 school and university students and teachers, nature reserve staff from the Amur and Primorski Regions, United States, China, South Korea, and India have participated in international summer camps and workshops at the park.
The park provides training and professional improvement in the areas of ecology, agriculture, English language, and crafts.
The park organizes contests and festivals, provides assistance to local schools, libraries, and orphanages.
The park also initiated environmental summer camps in the Primorski and Khabarovski Regions.
4. International Cooperation
The park is an important stopover and nesting ground for a large group of birds that winter in East Asia.
The very existence of the park has become possible only due to the active collaboration of different international and Russian organizations and institutions: ISEU, Mscow, International Crane Foundation, John D. and Catherine D. Mac Arthur Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Nature Conservancy, American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Woodland Park Zoo, National Audubon Society, (USA), POP Group Co, Ltd and Wild Bird Society of Japan, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, South Korea.
The park has contributed to developing cooperation among countries in the Pacific region in the areas of migratory bird protection, environmental education and cultural exchange.
Annually dozens of Russian and American wildlife experts, teachers and students conduct research, provide assistance, share experience, or receive training.
Under the cultural and specialist exchange programs, the park organizes visits of teachers, experts, and students to the United States, Japan, China and Korea.
The park is also sharing its experiences with environmental education and sustainable land use with teachers, students and experts from China and South Korea, organizing summer environmental camps in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia Provinces of China, international meetings and workshops on nature protection, sustainable agriculture, wildlife tourism, fire suppression and social problems of youth.
The park received international awards from Platte River Institute (1995), Society for Conservation Biology (1997), Bruno H. Schubert Foundation (2006) for outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of nature conservation, environmental education, and community outreach.
Songs about Muraviovka Park
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