The Concept of Absolute Zapovednost
The concept of absolute zapovednost (zapovednost [“reserveness”]: a regime of protected natural territory involving a ban not only on any kind of economic activity, but also on direct, immediate anthropogenic influence) consists of an ethical imperative (the idea of absolute zapovednost itself) and a regulatory framework (implementation mechanism).
The ethical imperative was developed by G.A. Kozhevnikov and American ecophilosophers J. Turner, H. Rolston, and T. Birch. Kozhevnikov’s imperative is as follows: “Nothing [in a natural reserve – V. B.] should be eliminated, added, or improved. One should leave nature to itself and observe the results.”
Kozhevnikov’s imperative was supplemented by the Americans with one of their own: “In a natural reserve, full protection should be provided for the right of wild nature to existence and freedom.”
Now the complete imperative proposed by Kozhevnikov and the American ecophilosophers is as follows: “In a natural reserve, full protection should be provided for the right of wild nature to existence and freedom. Nothing should be eliminated, added, or improved. One should leave nature to itself and observe the results.”
In the practice of natural reserves, however, a variety of circumstances occasionally prevent the application of this imperative in its pure form. Therefore, A.M. Krasnitsky, S.A. Dyrenkov, F.R. Shtilmark and V.A. Brinikh developed and proposed, as an addition to this ethical imperative, a special regulatory framework consisting of six principles; together with the ethical imperative, it constitutes the concept of absolute zapovednost. The aim of the principles is to implement the idea of absolute zapovednost in practice and to address all the critical issues.
1. Indirect human influence on a natural reserve (global pollution, warming impact on the atmosphere, accidental introducents, acid rains, etc) need not be taken into account in the context of maintaining the zapovednost regime.
2. Absolute zapovednost applies not only to natural, little-altered areas of wild nature, but also to natural reserve areas that were subjected to anthropogenic impact in cases when the granting of the status of a natural reserve can be regarded as an act of restoration, resuscitation of the natural system.
3. The idea of absolute zapovednost is an ideal to be aspired to in the course of management of any natural reserve.
4. The idea of absolute zapovednost presupposes minimizing the impact on the natural reserves of scientific research and of the activities of the reserve protection service.
5. To address the contradiction between the protection of ecosystems (and of the spontaneous processes going on in them) and the conservation of a particular, already known state of ecological systems by means of simulating or fully preserving the regime that caused them to come into existence, the protection of spontaneously evolving ecosystems must become the goal of natural reserves, while the conservation of an already known state of ecological systems by means of simulating or fully preserving the regime that caused them to come into existence must be the goal of protected areas (zakazniks), national parks, etc.
6. The presumption of absolute zapovednost applies to all natural reserves, without an exception. If unforeseen circumstances necessitate taking certain actions in a natural reserve, it will be necessary to prove their indispensability to an expert council and to obtain a permit from a relevant state environmental body.
Based on the above regulatory framework, a regime of absolute (full, strict, real) zapovednost (non-interference, inviolability, doing nothing at all) is to be introduced into the practice of natural reserves, so as to ensure the spontaneous natural processes and phenomena of wild nature; this regime involves a ban on: 1) any practical use of the nature being preserved; and
2) direct, immediate and arbitrary (unspecified by the law) human interference in the natural processes.