HISTORY OF KURILSKY NATURE RESERVE
The establishment of the nature reserve had been discussed since the 1940s because of the need to protect fur seals and sea otters (Enhydra lutris) which population decreased due to commercial hunting.
Background
  • The Commission on Environmental Protection of the Far-Eastern Division of the USSR Academy of Science proposed establishing a nature reserve on the South Kurils many times.
  • A famous Far East botanist Dmitry Vorobiev emphasized establishing a botanical reserve in the southern part of Kunashir Island in the surroundings of Alekhino village (1947, 1948, 1956).
  • Famous zoogeographers Alexei Kurentsov (1947, 1955) and Gali Krivolutskaya (1964 г.), ornithologists Vitaly Nechaev (1969) and A. Velizhanin (1972) proposed establishing a nature reserve on the South Kurils in order to preserve their unique fauna.
  • A famous geographer Innokenty Gerasimov (1969) described the state of Sakhalin and the Kurils ecosystems' components as disastrous. He proposed fundamentally changing the attitude of institutions to biological resources and establishing protected areas.
Background
  • The Commission on Environmental Protection of the Far-Eastern Division of the USSR Academy of Science proposed establishing a nature reserve on the South Kurils many times.
  • A famous Far East botanist Dmitry Vorobiev emphasized establishing a botanical reserve in the southern part of Kunashir Island in the surroundings of Alekhino village (1947, 1948, 1956).
  • Famous zoogeographers Alexei Kurentsov (1947, 1955) and Gali Krivolutskaya (1964 г.), ornithologists Vitaly Nechaev (1969) and A. Velizhanin (1972) proposed establishing a nature reserve on the South Kurils in order to preserve their unique fauna.
  • A famous geographer Innokenty Gerasimov (1969) described the state of Sakhalin and the Kurils ecosystems' components as disastrous. He proposed fundamentally changing the attitude of institutions to biological resources and establishing protected areas.
On 14 October 1974 the USSR and Japan signed the intergovernmental convention on conservation of nesting and wintering sites of colonial and migratory seabirds and their habitat.

The idea of establishing protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, was discussed again.

The problem with the preservation of unique plant communities, animal species and other natural objects of the South Kurils needed prompt solution. The Sakhalin Region Executive Committee submitted a request to the Council of Ministers of the USSR on establishment of protected areas on the South Kurils.
On 14 October 1974 the USSR and Japan signed the intergovernmental convention on conservation of nesting and wintering sites of colonial and migratory seabirds and their habitat.

The idea of establishing protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, was discussed again.

The problem with the preservation of unique plant communities, animal species and other natural objects of the South Kurils needed prompt solution. The Sakhalin Region Executive Committee submitted a request to the Council of Ministers of the USSR on establishment of protected areas on the South Kurils.
PLANNING
The first plan of the nature reserve (1976)
In 1975 the biological and economic study of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District was conducted by state institutions. In 1976 these institutions made a plan of Kurilsky Nature Reserve which area was 830 square kilometers. The institutions worked under decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (№ 13 017−1, 12 September 1975) and of the Sakhalin Region Executive Committee (№ 219-а, 24 April 1975).
The first plan of the nature reserve (1976)
In 1975 the biological and economic study of Yuzhno-Kurilsky District was conducted by state institutions. In 1976 these institutions made a plan of Kurilsky Nature Reserve which area was 830 square kilometers. The institutions worked under decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (№ 13 017−1, 12 September 1975) and of the Sakhalin Region Executive Committee (№ 219-а, 24 April 1975).
The second plan of the nature reserve (1982)
In 1982 the expedition on additional research was undertaken. After that the plan of the nature reserve was renewed.
The boundaries of the nature reserve were clarified and partly changed because since 1976 some parts of the planned nature reserve had been given to other institutions and the development of the Kuril Islands had increased. As a result the area of the nature reserve was 654 square kilometers.
The second plan of the nature reserve (1982)
In 1982 the expedition on additional research was undertaken. After that the plan of the nature reserve was renewed.

The boundaries of the nature reserve were clarified and partly changed because since 1976 some parts of the planned nature reserve had been given to other institutions and the development of the Kuril Islands had increased. As a result the area of the nature reserve was 654 square kilometers.
The first nature reserve of Sakhalin Region

The first nature reserve of Sakhalin Region was established in 1984 on Kunashir Island and surrounding islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge. The nature reserve represented sample ecosystems of the South Kurils.

Kurilsky State Nature Reserve was established by the decree № 47 of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (10 February 1984), the decree № 46 of Main Department of Hunt Management of the USSR (23 February 1984) and according to the decree № 361 of the Sakhalin Region Executive Committee (15 October 1982).
The first nature reserve of Sakhalin Region
The first nature reserve of Sakhalin Region was established in 1984 on Kunashir Island and surrounding islands of the Lesser Kuril Ridge. The nature reserve represented sample ecosystems of the South Kurils.

Kurilsky State Nature Reserve was established by the decree № 47 of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (10 February 1984), the decree № 46 of Main Department of Hunt Management of the USSR (23 February 1984) and according to the decree № 361 of the Sakhalin Region Executive Committee (15 October 1982).
KUNASHIR ISLAND
When the nature reserve was established, all the following features were taken into account: the unique and abundant nature of the islands, need for conservation and restoration of important animal and plant species populations, scientific and economic value of natural features, vulnerability of island ecosystems to external influences.

Kunashir Island is the last and the southernmost island of the Greater Kuril Ridge. It is separated from Japan by the Izmena and the Kunashirsky (Nemuro) Straits. The island stretches from soth-west to noth-east, its length is 123 kilometers and width is 8−11 kilometers. In its northern part maximum width is 30 kilometers, minimum width is 4 kilometers and the total area is 1550 square kilometers.
When the nature reserve was established, all the following features were taken into account: the unique and abundant nature of the islands, need for conservation and restoration of important animal and plant species populations, scientific and economic value of natural features, vulnerability of island ecosystems to external influences.

Kunashir Island is the last and the southernmost island of the Greater Kuril Ridge. It is separated from Japan by the Izmena and the Kunashirsky (Nemuro) Straits. The island stretches from soth-west to noth-east, its length is 123 kilometers and width is 8−11 kilometers. In its northern part maximum width is 30 kilometers, minimum width is 4 kilometers and the total area is 1550 square kilometers.
The island is rich in natural resources. All the following features show the outstanding importance of this area: sulphur and polymetallic fields, hot springs, dark coniferous and deciduous forests, populations of salmonides, pacific saury and clupea, various marine mammals, abundant vegetation in shore waters, high biodiversity of animals and plants. Besides economic importance the nature of the island can be subject to scientific research.
The island is rich in natural resources. All the following features show the outstanding importance of this area: sulphur and polymetallic fields, hot springs, dark coniferous and deciduous forests, populations of salmonides, pacific saury and clupea, various marine mammals, abundant vegetation in shore waters, high biodiversity of animals and plants. Besides economic importance the nature of the island can be subject to scientific research.
On Kunashir Island there are settlement sites of the indigenous Ainu people and monuments of the Okhotsk Culture dating back to the Neolithic Age and needing urgent conservation. It is the place where Okhotsk, Manchuria, North Japanese, North American and oceanic flora and fauna meet and volcanic processes actively influence ecosystems. They are not just remarkable and diverse but also have specific connections which are prospective subjects of research and further practical implementation. It is worth mentioning that the island's nature needs careful treatment. Fragile and isolated from the continent island ecosystems can be easily damaged and irreversibly changed.
On Kunashir Island there are settlement sites of the indigenous Ainu people and monuments of the Okhotsk Culture dating back to the Neolithic Age and needing urgent conservation. It is the place where Okhotsk, Manchuria, North Japanese, North American and oceanic flora and fauna meet and volcanic processes actively influence ecosystems. They are not just remarkable and diverse but also have specific connections which are prospective subjects of research and further practical implementation. It is worth mentioning that the island's nature needs careful treatment. Fragile and isolated from the continent island ecosystems can be easily damaged and irreversibly changed.
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