Kravtsovsky Waterfalls© Land of the Leopard press service
16 November 2016

Recreation impact monitoring system for Land of the Leopard National Park

A special system will be developed to assess and monitor the recreation impact on walking trails in Land of the Leopard National Park. The staff of the park's research department has assessed the recreation impact at four sites, including reference sites in the Kedrovaya Pad Reserve and the Kravtsovsky Waterfalls adjacent to the park, where the uncontrolled influx of tourists has resulted in considerable landscape degradation. The researchers will take into account the experience of the Katunsky Biosphere Reserve in the Altai Republic, where such studies have been conducted for over ten years.

"Since these forest ecosystems are similar, we can adjust many methods and systems used there to conditions in the Primorye Territory. Our colleagues' experience has shown that it is possible to combine seemingly opposite tasks — to preserve and develop the tourist aspects of the park's operation. This is why we will certainly continue our research," Yevgenia Somova from Land of the Leopard's research department said after visiting the Katunsky Reserve.

The recreation impact is the direct impact on nature of people who come to the park for recreation purposes, including groundcover and wildlife disturbance. Currently, there is only one walking trail, Leopard's Lair, in Land of the Leopard National Park. However, there are plans for seven more eco-trails, including horseback and cycling trails. The impact on all of them will be calculated so that the tourists will not damage the habitat of the endangered wild cats — the Far Eastern leopard and the Amur tiger.

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