Findings for discussion with stakeholders on the
Tumen River Basin Zone
The Tumen River Area is a strategic body of international waters and biodiversity that is surrounded by three countries. Boarded by the People«s Republic of China to the north and west, Russian Federation to the east, Democratic People«s Republic of Korea to the south, the Tumen River Area has always been central to issues of economic and political stability in North-Eastern Asia and adjacent regions. Today it is central to defining environmental sustainability and food security for these nations.
The whole area possesses great environmental assets, such as the broad-leaved and coniferous forests with formative landscape and forest -formative species, wetlands of Tumen River delta, 60 species of rare and vascular plants, registered in the Red Data Book of Russia, 36 species of birds, included in the Red Data Books of IUCN and Russia, a complex of marine-coastal organisms represents wetlands and coastal fauna: mollusks, seaweed, and algae, 18 species of fish that are registered in the Red Data Book of Primorsky Krai in the Peter the Great Gulf etc. And as a key before open zone of the state, the areas of the Tumen River enjoy unique natural scenery and man-made scenery.
However, the richness and productivity of the Tumen River Area and associated environs are seriously threatened by high population growth, pollution, over harvest and habitat modification, resulting in high rates of habitat loss and impairment of the regenerative capacities of living resources. The socio-economic impacts of environmental deterioration are significant for the developed economies of this region. The agricultural sector remains not only a source of significant revenues but directly as an important domestic source of food. The total population of the Tumen River Area in the three countries is about 2.4 million.
All of the transboundary railways, with the exception of the newly built Hunchun-Kraskino and the Hunchun-Tumen railways, were built from the beginning of the last century to the 1920s, almost one century ago so their impacts on the environment are sufficient.
The ports involved in the transport corridors are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vostochny, Zarubino, Possiet in the Russian Far East, and Rajin, Chongjin, Sombong, etc. in DPRK. The seaports of Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vostochny, Zarubino are major ports in handling of transit cargoes.
The important airports in the Tumen River Area are Vladivostok in Russia, Changchun, and Yanji in China, Chongjin in DPRK.
The assumption about the whole pipeline (oil and gas) is that by 2020 the oil or natural gas from East Siberia of Russia and Sakhalin in the Russian Far East will be transmitted to the south from the east and the west pipelines. The east line can reach Japan from Sakhalin Island via Okaido, and it can reach the south of Japan through Komsomolsk-na-Amure, Khabarovsk and the west of Vladivostok across the Russian-DPRK border (across the Tumen River), and further through Pyongyang, Seoul and Pusan. The west line starts from Ulan-Ude of Russia, goes south through Ulan Bator of Mongolia, and further down to Beijing and north China region. The planned east pipeline, namely the one from Sakhalin to the Korean Peninsula, will go through the Tumen River area.
Transboundary issues and threats
Transboundary issues and threats can be listed according to priority as: impact from industry, impact from urbanization, impact from agriculture, inappropriate management of water and land use, unsustainable forest exploitation, forest fires, transport networks, unsustainable management of protected areas and species, and impact from tourism, which result in loss and modification of ecosystem, pollution of water bodies, air pollution, changes to water regimes and degradation of landscape and soil.
-Release of toxic substances contributes to the reduction in water quality, degradation of forests, perishing or degradation of ecosystems and animal population;
-Untreated release of heavy metals, toxic substances and accidental pollution from tailings ponds contribute to contamination and change of a chemical compound of superficial water;
-Release of toxic gas and fumes contribute to chemical, mechanical and thermal contamination of an atmosphere;
-Construction of dams and water substation contributes to change of a hydro-geological mode;
-Open pits and mine tailings contribute to degradation of soil-vegetation cover and alienation and loss of the forestlands.
┤Release of toxic substances contributes to decrease of level of water quality affects ecosystems and reduces animal populations;
┤Missing or insufficient wastewater treatment and inappropriate toxic waste disposal contribute to contamination and change of a chemical compound of surface water;
┤Release of toxic gas and fumes contributes to chemical, mechanical and thermal contamination of an atmosphere;
┤Construction of dams and water substation contribute to change of a hydro-geological mode;
┤Industrial wastes and municipal sewage contribute to the decrease of level of water quality and perishing or degradation of ecosystems and animals population;
┤Missing or insufficient wastewater treatment and inappropriate toxic waste disposal contribute to contamination and change of a chemical compound of water bodies;
┤Household heating, industrial emissions and traffic contribute to chemical, mechanical and thermal contamination of atmosphere;
┤Expansion of cities and new cities contribute to decrease of nature and cultivated land.
┤Extension of agricultural land contributes to the fragmentation of ranges of natural ecosystems in agricultural assimilation of valleys;
┤Using of chemicals contributes to pollution of water, basic transformation of soil-vegetation cover in farming, which is the main factor causing soil and water erosion;
┤Forest degradation contributes to change of run-off regime;
┤Change of land use contributes to basic transformation of soil-vegetation cover in farming;
Inappropriate management of water and land use
┤Inappropriate management of water and land use contributes to loss of biodiversity and useful resources in inland and coastal and marine ecosystems, undermining of fish resources as well as alteration of the bottom ecosystems tropic structure and degradation of wetlands;
┤Inappropriate management of water and land use contributes to the decrease of water level through subtraction, and changes of runoff and dams;
┤Inappropriate management of water and land use contributes to transformation of soil-vegetation cover.
Unsustainable forest exploitation
┤Limbering contributes to forest degradation, and changes of damage of ecosystem and resources;
┤Erosion of soil-vegetation cover contributes to increase of solid run-off;
┤Soil erosion contributes to dust pollution;
┤Forest degradation accelerates runoff, erosion, change in water regime;
┤Deforestation contributes to change of land use and landscape and transition of forest ecosystems to farming lands.
┤Forest fires contribute to forest degradation, change of destroy of ecosystem and resources, though temporary;
┤Erosion of soil-vegetation cover contributes to increase of solid run-off;
┤Deforestation accelerates runoff, erosion and changes of water regime;
┤Fires contribute to degradation of forest ecosystems;
┤Transport networks contribute to fragmentation of natural ecosystems and increasing possibilities for poaching and recreation;
┤Transport networks contribute to accidental pollution;
┤Exhausts gases of traffic contributes to air pollution;
┤Construction of road-dames contributes to change of a hydrological mode.
Unsustainable management of protected areas and species
┤Poaching, illegal fishing and plant collecting contribute to loss of biodiversity, decrease of migrating and local birds in number;
┤Agricultural and other activities progressing in protected areas contribute to degradation of landscape and soil.
Tourism and recreation
┤Illegal hunting and fishing, collection of plants, and littering contribute to loss and modification of ecosystem;
┤Littering contributes to pollution of water bodies;
┤Transport, camping, invasion of natural parks contribute to degradation of landscape and soil.
For impact from industry and mining, main constraints are government policies not sufficient in line with environmental requirements, non-compliance with governmental regulations, outdated technology, administrative bottlenecks for investors and financial constraints.
For impact from urbanization, main constraints are inadequate physical and economic development planning, non-compliance with regulations, financial constraints and fast growing urban population.
For impact from agriculture, main constraints are growing demand for land, and ownership regulation and inappropriate technologies and farming system.
For inappropriate management of water and land use, main constraints are lack of legal framework and standards and lack of joint monitoring systems.
For unsustainable forest exploitation, main constraints are lack of supervision and compliance with forest laws, and inadequate forest laws.
For impact from transport networks, main constraint is need for EIA.
For impact from unsustainable management of protected areas and species, main constraints are missing agreements and mechanisms for management of transboundary protected areas, and missing agreements and mechanism for transboundary control of poaching.
For impact from tourism, main constraints are missing of adequate infrastructure, misbehavior by tourists and inadequate policy and action for development of tourist sites.
Causal chain analysis
Root reasons for loss and modification of ecosystem are: lack of supervision and compliance with forest laws, inappropriate regional development planning, lack of knowledge, weak economic situation, lack of public environmental awareness, poor land use planning, pressure from population growth, not compliance with laws, over emphasis on development.
Root reasons for loss of biodiversity are not compliance with laws, insufficient regulations, lack of environmental awareness, over emphasis on development, insufficient management of water and land use, weak economic situation, insufficient knowledge about the value of biodiversity, introduction of exotic species and natural extinction.
Root reasons for water pollution are: .low technology, insufficient funding, insufficient public safety, inadequate enforcement of existing regulatory instruments, weak economic situation, lack of international cooperation, over emphasis on development, fast growing urban population, low application technology of pesticides, insufficient land planning, lacking public participation, inappropriate water and land management, deforestation, low comprehensive use of solid wastes, and insufficient supervision on littering of tourists'.
Root reasons for changes of water regimes are : insufficient knowledge about river processes, inappropriate management of water and land use, inappropriate regional development planning, inadequate enforcement of existing regulatory instruments, lack of supervision and compliance with forest laws, and lack of public environmental awareness.
Effective human interventions are favorable to the solve of environmental problems above, and sustainable development of this area. The achievements of interventions are supposed to be:
Gradual recovery of the damaged surface vegetation; area expansion of forests and grasslands, decrease of harmful industrial wastewater and solid wastes, increase of water quality, rehabilitation of forest, water, grass and recovery of ecosystem, increase of biodiversity, improvements of living circumstances for plants and animals, increase of soil quality, harmony development of human and nature.
However, if no interventions in the future, current environmental problems will be exacerbated. These are expected to occur:
More serious fragmentation of large ecosystem due to more transport lines to be built and pitting on the ground, further reduction of rare and precious plants and animals in number and species, malfunction of water source maintenance, further loss and modification of forest ecosystem, further loss of habitats, more serious of water and soil erosion, further decrease of soil quality, gradual decrease of wetlands area, unsustainable development of natural resources.
General proposed interventions are:
┤The governments of the northeast Asian countries must finalize a common action program to protect the biodiversity and international waters and it is far from enough only to reach a consensus on paper.
┤This action program must include projection of potential damages of the biodiversity and international waters and the corresponding counter measures.
┤This action program must contain an environment monitoring system to monitor and evaluate the biodiversity and international waters. All the northeast Asian countries must participate in the system.
┤Establishment of international environment information system, an environment evaluation index system, and a system to coordinate actions and regulate measures (such as laws, bylaws, regulations, market prices of resource products, resource consumption profit transfers, compensation for the loss of biodiversity, etc.).
┤Conservation and recovery of the forest, wetland and coastal ecosystems« structure.
Concrete interventions in Chinese part are:
┤Intensifying international cooperation to check the Tumen River pollution;
┤Strengthening ecosystem conservation, and protection of biodiversity in particular;
┤Unifying plans and making reasonable layouts for a number of ecology-friendly enterprises; paying attention to the structural adjustment of industries;
┤Intensifying pollution source treatment within a definite time; intensifying life sewage treatment and surface pollution source treatment while continuing with the treatment of industrial pollution;
┤Quickening paces in urban infrastructure construction;
┤Intensifying legal construction and raising the environmental awareness of the public.
Concrete interventions in Russia part are:
┤Improving sustainable nature management by covering eroded slopes with forest and meadow, increasing productivity of plain lands, decreasing pesticide and herbicide level etc;
┤Improving the conditions of the international seawater and protecting the richest diversity of the coastal zone;
┤Conserving migratory birds by creating the working system of the management and conservation of international biological resource which is called "migratory birds in the Asiatic-Pacific Flyway";
┤Conserving large predators and ungulate species by establishing ecological corridors with favorable economic use regime, forest regeneration, realizing actions for increasing ungulate species number, reinforcement of anti-poacher activity;
┤Minimizing the impacts from transport corridors through development of green transport corridor technology, strategic environment evaluation, the close of some of the Sino-Russian border crossings;
┤Harmonizing the relation between urban development and environmental protection by defining urban development guidelines, formulating scientific and reasonable urban planning and constructing ecological cities, constructing and perfecting urban infrastructures, harnessing and controlling serious pollutants sources with clear point, strengthening government management and administrative methods.
For industry and mining, stakeholders relate to ministry or the government bodies responsible, chamber of industry, labor union, environmental organizations, industry and mining companies.
For urbanization, stakeholders relate to municipalities, planning commission and urban population.
For agriculture, stakeholders relate to government bodies in agriculture, agricultural cooperatives, farmers' association, agricultural marketing organization and rural population.
For inappropriate management of water and land use, stakeholders relate to government or administration responsible for water and land management at natural resources.
For unsustainable forest exploitation, stakeholders relate to ministry of forest, Forest Management Organizations, forest exploitation firms and population affected.
For forest fires, stakeholders relate to Ministry of Forest, Forest Management Organization, forest exploitation firms and population affected.
For transport networks, stakeholders relate to Ministries of Transport and Land use, construction firms and population affected.
For sustainable management of protected areas and species, stakeholders relate to ministry and organizations concerned with protected areas and wildlife, poacher, game wardens, population affected and NGOs.
For tourism, stakeholders relate to Ministry of Tourism, tourist organizations, tourist agencies tourists and Nat'l park administration.
Findings for discussion with stakeholders on the Tumen River Basin Zone
International working meeting resolution on
ôBiodiversity Conservation in Northeast Asiaö, June 2-3, 27-28; July 28-31, 2001.