Scientific research connected with solving the vital ecological problems is carried out by all the scientific research and educational institutions of the Baikal region, as well as by some non-government structures.
A great amount of scientific research is done according to the “Sibir” (Siberia) regional programme (“Environmental Protection Ecology” block). The scientists of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS) Limnological Institute, the SB RAS Geography Institute, the SB RAS Earth’s Crust Institute, the SB RAS Buryat Geological Institute, the SB RAS Baikal Rational Nature Usage Institute, the SB RAS Buryat Biology Institute, the SB RAS Chita Natural Resources Institute take part in carrying out this programme.
The work carried out by the SB RAS Irkutsk scientific centre within the framework of the “Sibir” regional scientific and technical programme, is joined together into the project “Lake Baikal and Its Basin Research to Preserve It as a World Heritage Site” and is coordinated by the SB RAS Scientific Council on the problems of Lake Baikal. The project objective is complex inter-subject research of the Baikal and its basin, long-term forecasts of the changes in the lake ecosystems with different prospects of climatic changes and man activity, progress in managing the region productive forces, provision of rational nature usage, experimental testing and introduction of new methods of biological, ecological and geochemical, chemical, methods of monitoring forest pathologies and other things, and making scientific base of preserving Lake Baikal as a part of the world heritage.
Within the last two years the research on the “Sibir” programme have been done on 40 themes (21 themes are completed). The following results have been obtained by the institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences: there is a scheme of ecologically closed cellulose and paper production with chlorine bleaching, including full utilization of wastes, recultivation of dumps, closed water circulation cycle and reduction of discharges of sulphur containing smoke gases; methods of landscape planning in natural and destroyed natural conditions are selected and tested; the database of geochemical characteristics of the main natural components is collected; the monitoring scheme of forest pathologies is worked out; a list of rare, relic and endemic species of the Baikal flora and fauna is compiled; the temporal scheme of the mountain torrents zones of the Baikal cavity is made up; a draft map of the South Pribaikalye active breaks is made, the cartographical foundation and the chart legend on the natural anomalies of the Baikal coast and water are compiled, charts characterizing the development of exogenous processes in the coastal zone of the Angara cascade water reservoirs are prepared; the chart of landscape and geochemical zone division of the Angara reservoirs basin is made; the material on the biological indices of the condition of the Baikal settlers populations (the trout, the Selenga sazan and others) is collected; the analysis of chemical and biological pollution of the Baikal hydrobios is made; chromatographic methods of determining polycyclic hydrocarbons, ethers, orthophtalic acid, pesticides of ÄÄÒ and 2.4-Ä type, the total sum of chlorine derivative dibenzo-p-dioxines, phuranes, and bipheniles (as perchlor compounds) in the natural waters; the Baikal atlas of 160 pages with maps of different scales is published; the Russian Federation draft law “On Lake Baikal Protection” is prepared and sent to state legislative structures; “The Baikal Region Sustainable Development Concept” is being prepared for publication.
The problems of preservation and rational usage of vegetation and animal world take one of the most important places in the region scientific research. Thus, the scientists of the Chita nature resources Institute have accomplished the review of rare and endangered species of ichthyofauna of the Kodar-Udokan district, the SB RAS Baikal ecological museum has studied the structure of the height-zone ecological complexes of the central part of the Tunka national park, the scientists of the SB RAS Baikal Institute of rational nature usage have found out the most prospective biological productivity landscapes in the Baikal basin and given a forecast of their ecological conditions by different variants of anthropogenic activity, specially protected territories are singled out.
In the scientific research special attention is paid to the problems of industrial influence on nature, to pollution types, and to the problems of introducing new technologies and equipment. Thus, East Siberian technological university worked at a number of plants over making and researching the device which cleans the air of welding aerosol, over the methods of organizing air circulation in the industrial premises, over the norms of permissible influences on the environment, over research, working out and introducing the complex systems of the air basin protection and ceolite filters work.
At the Chita mechanic works production of “Cyclone” dust-catching devices is organized, new technology of gases cleaning is being introduced in the boiling house, at the station of Chernyshevsk.
It is necessary to mention that in the region great attention is paid to the problems of cleaning wastewaters. At the Chita machine building plant the groundwork of “Progress” scientific-production association is introduced to clean the wastewaters of the galvanic workshop.
Chita polytechnic institute is working out the technology of cleaning the wastewaters of the sheepskin and fur factory with application of such reagents as polycriamide, ferrous hydroxide and ceolites. Owing to new technology worked out by “Progress” scientific-production association, the Chita leather factory performs the reconstruction of chrome station. At the Chita worsted and cloth making factory they introduce the wastewaters cleaning groundwork made in Krasnokamensk.
The SB RAS Department of the Pribaikalye ecological research is working on two themes:
1) “To work out scientific foundations of ecological cadastre of the Pribaikalye natural territorial complexes” and
2) “Dynamics of the Pribaikalye ecosystems, classification and systematization of the animal and vegetation world, scientific grounding of nature protection activities in nature reserves, game reserves and national parks of Siberia”.
Within the programme “Global changes of the natural environment and climate” and international programme “Baikal-drilling” the SB RAS Geochemistry Institute is doing research on the theme “Working out the geochemical model of sediment accumulation of Lake Baikal basin”; as a result of work on the theme “Geologic research on the Baikal ground as a model of the rifts origin and evolution and of the global climatic changes” in1992 a great general conclusion was made based on the data about the Baikal rift geology and paleoclimatology in Pribaikalye within the Cenozoic period.
During the work on the theme “Making seismological foundation of the map of Siberia and Far East seismic zones” the SB RAS Earth’s Crust Institute completed preparation of the catalogue of historic and instrumentally registered earthquakes of the Baikal seismic zone; the map and catalogue of modern and paleoseismodislocations of the south-western flank of the Baikal rift zone. As a result of research on the theme “Physical and chemical models of hypergenesis process” a model of chemical balance in Lake Baikal was worked out with regard for partial dissolution of the suspension coming in. Two-year field research on the Russian-American project “Teleseismic tomography of the Baikal rift mantle” is completed. A set of maps scale 1:2,500,000 is prepared for the international “Geothermal Atlas of Asia”. As a result of research on the theme “Mineral and thermal waters” prognostic estimation of the thermal energetic and ground waters was done for the East of Russia and for prospects of using them in Pribaikalye. Concrete sections are recommended for reconnaissance and prospect drilling within the Baikal rift zone.
The SB RAS Geography Institute studied the content of scattered elements in water and ground sediments of particular Pribaikalye water flows. Chemical content of ground sediments, waters and soils is studied in the geosystems of the Pribaikalsk national park. The influence of dry aerosol and steam on the sun radiation in the Baikal cavity is studied in connection with different levels of landscape using. Ecological analysis of man habitat in the Baikal basin is made. The principles of multi-dimensional vegetation classification are worked out, as a scheme reflecting the main specious and cenosis features of the present-day vegetation cover of Pribaikalye and its organization. Toxic anthropogenic soils in Baikalsk and Kultuk are studied. The average suspended content of dissolved elements in the main soils types of South-western Pribaikalye is determined. The report “Engineering and geomorphological foundation and estimation of efficiency of anti-landslide vertical drainage systems and other activities protecting the railway bed of the East Siberian railway engineering structures from dangerous and unfavourable exogenous processes on the south-western coast of Lake Baikal” is prepared. The SB RAS Sun and Earth Physics Institute is developing satellite monitoring with the possibility to monitor the data on the earth’s surface temperature, moisture and aerosol pollution of the atmosphere, to register the movement of hurricanes, snow blasts, forest fires, water pollution; to measure the ozone content in the upper layers of the atmosphere with reference to geographic bearings.
The SB RAS Siberian energetic Institute is working on the problem “Ecologically clean power supply of Lake Baikal coastal zone”.
The SB RAN institutes (Limnological Institute and Power energy Institute) make research on the theme “Research of Lake Baikal ecosystem changes in Holocene and Pleistocene” within the international project “Evolution of closed ecosystems and the prospect of their development after the example of Lake Baikal”; they work on the SB RAS programme “Physical and chemical foundations of the biology and evolution of living systems, the problems of genetics and selection, plants physiology and biotechnologies”; they work on the themes “Research of the evolution of mitochondrial DNA of the Baikal cottoidnous fishes”, “Research of the evolution of the repeated sequences of the DNA genomes of the Baikal cottoidnous fishes” and “Research of the genetic heterogeneity of the most important Baikal pelagic animals (the epishura, the macrohectopus – golomyanka, the omul, the Baikal seal (nerpa)) with specific oligonucleic probes”; within the SB RAS programme “Ecological, genetic and evolutional foundations of the biological resources rational usage and protection” they work on the themes “Research of the taxonomy and ecology of the micro-organisms of Lake Baikal pelagium”, “Compiling of the determinant atlases of the dominating taxonomic groups of Lake Baikal: infusoria, flagellate (yellow-green, cryptophytous and dinophytous) and diatomic algae, sponges, turbellariae, oligochetes, molluscs, crustacea and insects; finding out the limits of the species variety”, “Research of physiology, ecology and evolution of the cottoidnous fishes”, “Research of the spatial and temporal genetic variability of Lake Baikal benthos communities”, “Energy and ecology of the diving warm-blooded animals (after the example of the Pinnipedia)”, within the SB RAS programme “Biospheric and ecological research” there is research on the theme “Working out of the models of substances transition in the processes of the formation of spacious heterogeneities of physical parameters in big lakes”.
The efforts of the regional scientists were also directed to working out the procedure of legal and economic provision of ecologically safe nature usage, protection and restoration of natural resources and forming ecological outlook.