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Vladivostok hosts intl ecological forum

October 06, 2011, 14:41 UTC+3

Far Eastern leopard numbers have been reduced via over-hunting of prey and poaching combined with habitat loss from agricultural and urban development

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VLADIVOSTOK, October 6 (Itar-Tass) — The fifth international ecological forum “Nature Without Borders” opened in Vladivostok on Thursday. Taking part in it are delegations from Russian regions and 11 countries. They are biologists and ecologists from China, Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, the United States, UK, The Philippines, the Czech Republic, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, the forum’s organising committee told Itar-Tass.

The forum participants intend to discuss cooperation in the sphere of ensuring a favourable environment, preservation of biodiversity, rational use of natural resources. The agenda includes the transition to the “green economy,” energy saving and eco-tourism, improvement of energy efficiency. A plenary meeting and roundtable discussions will focus on that.

A specialised exposition that is devoted to the transfer of power plants of the Primorsky Territory to natural gas use, the use of renewable energy sources, studying the impact of the Fukushima-1 NPP accidents on the radiation situation in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) is also organised within the forum. The exhibition will also feature environmental projects that are being implemented within the framework of preparation of Vladivostok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s summit - in particular, the reclamation of the old urban solid waste landfill and construction of a new complex for the processing and disposal of garbage in Vladivostok, as well as reconstruction and development of the urban sewage system. At present, the construction of more than 40 facilities for the APEC summit is underway in Vladivostok. Most of them will be completed by the end of this year. The deadlines for certain facilities have been shifted from the end of 2011 to the spring of 2012. They are the bridge across the Zolotoi Rog (Golden Horn) Bay, the Novy settlement – De-Friz Peninsula - Sedanka – Patrokl Bay highway with the low-level bridge De-Friz - Sedanka and part of the Patrokl Bay – Zolotoi Rog Bay motor road section. These facilities will be commissioned no later than May 31, 2012.

Vladivostok’s international ecological forums, as a rule, adopt resolutions and policy documents containing practical recommendations of scientists on rational use of natural resources, improving the environmental situation and safe handling of waste. Some of the recommendations have already been implemented. In particular, restrictions were introduced on the hunting for hoofed animals in the areas critical for the conservation of the Amur tiger and Amur leopard. In the 1940s the Amur tiger was on the brink of extinction, with no more than 40 tigers remaining in the wild. Thanks to vigorous anti-poaching and other conservation efforts by the Russians with support from many partners, including WWF, the Amur tiger population recovered and has remained stable throughout the last decade or so. But poaching of tigers and its prey, increased logging and construction of roads, forest fires and inadequate law enforcement are threats that affect the survival of the species.

Far Eastern leopard numbers have been reduced via over-hunting of prey and poaching combined with habitat loss from agricultural and urban development. If appropriate conservation actions are taken, there is great potential for increasing population size, increasing survival rates and habitat recovery in both Russia and China.

The previous forum was held in 2009. It gathered more than 400 representatives of bodies of state authority of Russia and regions of the Far East, heads of local self-government bodies, international organisations, scientists, diplomats from China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and the United States. The main topic then was the marine ecology.

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