MANIFESTO OF THE PROPONENTS OF THE IDEA OF ABSOLUTE ZAPOVEDNOST V.Y. Boreiko, V.A. Brinikh
LET US BRING ZAPOVEDNOST BACK TO THE ZAPOVEDNIKS!
With each year, there is more and more environment in the world and, accordingly, less and less wild nature. That is, free nature – which abides not by human but by cosmic laws, living according to the Divine Plan rather than to the human will. The nature that embodies the holistic ecosystem of the Earth – the cradle of human civilization. Therefore, wild nature has the sovereign right to exist and the right to be free.
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, G.A. Kozhevnikov, one of the founding fathers of the national nature reserve management and research, emphasized that “to protect virgin wild nature for its own sake, considering application issues as being of secondary importance – this is the main idea of the protection of nature.” Modern North American eco-philosophers Jack Turner, Holmes Rolston III and Thomas H. Birch formulated this eco-ethical imperative as follows: “Wild nature’s right to existence and freedom must be fully protected.”
Based on the writings of authors representing the national scientific nature protection and North American eco-philosophical schools of thought, the idea of absolute zapovednost was formulated as the highest eco-ethical imperative. In a nature preserve (zapovednik), wild nature’s right to existence and freedom must be fully and eternally protected. Nothing should be eliminated, added, or improved. One should leave nature to itself and observe the results.
Unfortunately, in the 1930s in the Soviet Union under Stalin the principle of noninterference in wild nature, which had been recognized in the Russian Empire (among scientists and environmentalists) as well as in the USSR in the 1920s (in the first regulations on zapovedniks in Russia and Ukraine), was declared to be “bourgeois” and “deliberately destructive”; its proponents either died or were persecuted and the zapovedniks themselves were turned into “zapovednye khozyaistva” (“nature preserve based businesses / farms”). And that is the way they have remained until now, supported by the current market environmentalists and regulators. That is why it is so important to achieve historical justice and bring zapovednost back to the zapovedniks.
Haying, sanitary tree cutting, shooting of predators inside nature reserves and other regulatory actions of that sort amount to the establishment of human order in wild nature – an order that runs counter to the very essence of nature, to its will, to the spontaneous development of natural processes and phenomena. Just like the idea of human rights, the idea of absolute zapovednost is, in itself, an ethical idea. It is based on ideal values that direct humans towards self-restraint for the sake of preserving the Perfect Other, i.e. wild nature free from human interference. F.R. Shtilmark, an outstanding figure in contemporary nature reserve management and research, noted that “the dream of absolute conservancy is, in itself, an undoubtedly idealistic one.” Ideals are always unreachable; however, like a guiding star, they lead society in the right direction. The ideal of absolute conservancy is precisely that kind of vector for the development of the national nature preserve system which has justly been recognized by the international community as one of the world’s best systems of protected natural territories.
Therefore, from the practical viewpoint we have a right to talk about plain zapovednost, which implies a practical implementation of the idea of absolute zapovednost in the management of nature reserves and other protected natural territories with preserved areas. Zapovednost means termination of any kinds of economic activities as well as minimization of deliberate direct anthropogenic impact on wild nature within areas under conservation.
Zapovednost is based on six practical PRINCIPLES:
1. The idea of absolute zapovednost is an ideal, by which everyday activity in any nature reserve must endeavor to achieve zapovednost.
2. Indirect global anthropogenic influence on wild nature must not be considered as a disturbance of zapovednost.
3. In a number of cases, zapovednost should be considered as an action restoring the natural state of anthropogenically transformed areas of wild nature.
4. It is essential to minimize the impact of scientific research and zapovednost safeguard measures performed within zapovedniks on the course of natural processes and phenomena.
5. The main function of nature reserves is the protection of ecosystems and their spontaneous (natural) processes and phenomena.
6. Declaration of a certain area as a zapovednik means complete legal inviolability of this territory (aquatorium) from any anthropogenic interference (presumption of absolute zapovednost). Any activity within preserved areas can only be started after the relevant state agency has conducted an environmental impact assessment and issued a favorable opinion authorizing this activity.
As regards environmental education and enlightenment, the significance of the idea of absolute zapovednost, as a great eco-ethical idea based on Nature’s right to life and self-determination, on Man’s respect of Nature’s rights, on his self-restraint for the sake of Life on Earth, is enormous. It is necessary to introduce the idea of absolute zapovednost to students taking courses in “Ecology” and “Natural Reserve Management and Research” as well as to promote it in the mass media and scientific journals.
THE IDEA OF ABSOLUTE ZAPOVEDNOST IS THE HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT OF THE WORLD ‘S ECO-ETHICAL THOUGHT IN THE REALM OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND SO THE FUTURE BELONGS TO IT.