Promotion of transboundary nature protection and sustainable nature tourism
by Riina Tervo
Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland
Joint nature-focused research and monitoringPromotion of transboundary nature protection and sustainable nature tourism
Establishing transboundary guidelines for sustainable nature tourismPromotion of transboundary nature protection and sustainable nature tourism
Transboundary action plan for nature protection & sustainable tourismPromotion of transboundary nature protection and sustainable nature tourism
It was a misty morning in the autumn, when two Finnish members of the project team drove along the Pasvik river valley south via villages of Svanvik and Skogfoss in Norway. Just to the south of the Skogfoss power plant the boat was pushed to the water, and we travelled along Russian side and observe the beautiful Pasvik Nature reserve. Our Russian colleagues and border guards joined us and together the boats were flowing with the current. On this specific day, the strict border zone between Russia and Norway was open for the scientists to register waterfowl on River Pasvik. It turned out that the driver of our boat spoke Finnish as his ancestors were Finnish, who had moved to Norway. At the end of the day it was time to sit down together on Varlam Island, Russia and put the observations together. The discussion flowed like the river – from the archaeological observations to the recent history of the Varlam Island, which has had Russian, Norwegian and Finnish inhabitants in its past. Ideas about project combining natural and cultural heritage evolved there on that day, and implementation started six years later. Bear feces in a pouch in a freezer – an important symbol of transboundary nature conservation! The noninvasive method for brown bear monitoring was used in all the three countries for the first time during the project implementation. Brisk walks in the wilderness in order to collect possible feces and especially to collect hair from a hair-snare surrounding a scent lure stay in the memories of all participants involved. The samples were then brought to Norway for DNA analysis. Field work for collecting data and get-togethers with the colleagues as well as moments spent in nature were the most important motivators for the transboundary cooperation. There are many long hours of lonesome office work containing writing, translating, counting, filling spreadsheets and so forth -- the balance from nature was needed for fruitful and lively cooperation.