The Baikal region has got a developed system of specially guarding natural territories (SGNT).
The SGNT classification (the hyerarchy of the territory protection regimen expansion):
- the game reserve of the republican significance;
- the game reserve of the federal significance;
- the natural park;
- the national park;
- the nature reserve;
- the biosperic reserve;
- the World Heritage site.
The idea of organizing the national parks and nature reserves was proposed in 1832 by the American scientist and artist George Catlin. In 1872 the first national park was organized, the Yellowstone park (USA). In Russia the national parks were started in the 70’s. The first of them was “Samarskaya Luka” (the Volga region). In 1916 the first Russian nature reserve was organized (the Barguzinsky reserve). Nowadays there are nature reserves and national parks in many countries. Their main objective is to protect the unique natural territories and animals.
The state management and control in the field of the federal SGNT organizing and functioning is done by the Russian Federation Government and by specially authorized Russian Federation environment protection bodies. The management and control of the local SGNT organizing and functioning is done by the local government bodies. Citizens and juridical persons, including social and religious associations, help state bodies in organizing, protecting and functioning the SGNT. The state bodies take into consideration the proposals of citizens and social associations.
The nature reserves management is done by the Russian Federation state ecological committee and its territorial bodies. The Russian Federation state ecological committee appoints the nature reserve director, affirms the Nature Reserves Statute, finances and controls its activity.
The national parks management is done directly by the Russian Federation Federal Forestry service (the Pribaikalsky and the Tunka parks) or by the Republic of Buryatia Forestry Ministry (the Zabaikalsky park). All the parks directors are appointed by the Russian Forestry Minister. He also approves individual Regulations of each park, finances and controls their activity.
The management of federal significance state game reserves is done by the Department of game resources protection and utilization regulation of the Russian Federation food industry Ministry and its territorial bodies, and the regional significance game reserves are managed by the Republic of Buryatia Government and the Irkutsk region and the Chita region Administrations and the territorial bodies of the Russian Federation food industry Ministry department.
The order of cooperation and functions delimitation in the field of nature reserves organization is defined by “The Regulations on the Order of the Russian Federation nature protection Ministry cooperation with the territorial nature protection bodies in the field of nature reserves organization” approved by the Russian Federation Nature Protection Ministry resolution of December 17, 1993 # 264.
To coordinate the activity of the national natural parks subject to the Russian Federation Forestry Service, in 1993 the Coordination Council on the problems of national natural parks was organized as a consultative body. The council includes representatives of national parks, the central staff and the Russian Forestry committee departments, as well as the leading scientists and specialists in the fields of natural environment protection, recreation, education and culture.
In the Baikal region the Protected Territories Association is being organized, its regulations were adopted in April 1999 during the action “The Forests and Protected Territories of Buryatia” under the aegis of “The Parks March”.
Nowadays the SGNY functioning meets some difficulties connected with the changes of the political and economic situation in the country. The united body of the SGNT management, accepted in the world practice, is absent. The united concept of the nature reserves business which could take into consideration the modern ecological, political and social-economic realia, is not worked out. To guarantee the living organisms and natural communities diversity preservation in the Baikal basin, it is necessary to expand the system of SGNT, on the one hand, and to optimize their protection regimen, on the other hand. Only in this case the representative reserve of reference natural complexes will be formed.
In the Republic of Buryatia the activity of SGNT is based on the Russian Federation standard-legal base. The number of standard-legal acts adopted by the Republican legislative and executive power bodies is insignificant and needs development.
The Baikalsky and the Barguzinsky nature reserves are included into the system of international biospheric reserves and have the corresponding UNESCO-MAB certificates.