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INFORMATION PROVISION OF NATURE PROTECTION ACTIVITY

Source:  Information Provision of Nature Protection Activity // Ecological Problems of the Baikal and the Republic of Buryatia: Materials of the Round Table sitting The Baikal Is a Monument of the World Natural Heritage within Buryatia Days in Moscow / ed. by V. Gulgonov and N.G. Rybalsky. Moscow, 1996. pp. 101-107.

One of the main elements of the system providing ecological security is the high level of social ecological consciousness which is based on full and true information about the state of the natural environment and the main principles of rational nature usage.
Exchange of efficient and true information in the field of the environment is not sufficient nowadays and needs new effective cooperation mechanisms to be searched which could answer the principles laid by the UN Conference “The Environment and the Development” (Rio de Janeiro, 1992).
The efforts taken on the regional and federal levels to provide the population with efficient and true information on the state of the environment, on the measures taken to improve its state, are the first stage of making the information system of ecological monitoring and of ecological information spreading.
The present-day lack of information ecological system is first of all connected with the complicated social and economic situation in the country. In recent three years the ecological problems have been removed from the second to the ninth-tenth place in the population’s vital priorities which caused lack of interest in the theme on the part of mass media.

But alongside with the objective social and economic problems there are also the subjective ones. First of all they are connected with the absence of information policy in the field of the environment protection and nature usage which could answer the modern requirements; there is also lack of coordination among different ministries and departments which possess ecological information. It is necessary to mention small number and low level of technical equipment of most organization structures of the territorial nature protection bodies which should provide this work to be done.
In this case the optimal measure to improve the situation under the condition of budget under-financing is the transition from transferring and keeping information on paper to modern electronic methods which decrease the expenses and increase the efficiency and allow to analyse the information.

The traditional technologies of information exchange do not provide the due level of efficiency, reliability and completeness of the socially significant ecological information the flow of which is keeping growing. Modern technologies of transferring and processing mass ecological information have opened new opportunities of the development of the systems, intensity and quality of information exchange.
Conception of the regional system of information and analytical support of adopting decisions in the field of the natural environment protection and rational nature usage presupposes a definite level of informatization and should be realized on the basis of understanding nature usage as a distinct process including the natural resources usage and protection and reproduction of the natural environment.

The guidelines of the informatization should be: creating the infrastructure of computer communication nets; introducing new information technologies; producing and developing the regional information industry, including compiling the problems database and knowledge of the public usage; working out the support systems of the adopted organization and management decisions; forming the demand for information, calculating and telecommunication services; supporting the functioning and development of the regional information infrastructure on the problems of environmental protection.
Taking into consideration the world experience of using new information technologies combining the methods of multi-criteria optimization, as well as the experience of organizing nature and economic models of a part of the Baikal region (of dynamic inter-field balance type), social-economic and ecological models of the Irkutsk region (of econometric type), their usage in the scenario analysis and the forecast of the regional development, it is possible to make a system of in formation and analytical support of the regional development as a gradually integrated, definite, multi-level and multi-functional system (collecting information, forecast, planning, management etc.).

The criteria of the region sustainable development presuppose the control of its state by constant monitoring of the natural environment and by operating the quickly renewed cadastres. The worked out technology includes creating instrumental and programme means of the automated conducting of cadastres, of solving economic problems of paid rational nature usage in the region with using the territorial cadastres database made as a geoinformation system using the spatial database.
Taking into consideration the importance of geoinformation provision of the Baikal protection activity and the Baikal region sustainable development, the Russian Federal geodesy and cartography service (Roskartografiya), the Russian Ministry of Nature and the National cartographic department of the US Geological service proposed a joint project of organizing the geoinformation system “GIS-Baikal” to be realized within 1994-1995.
The project objectives: to create the geoinformation system for estimating the ecological situation in Lake Baikal basin; demonstrating its opportunities; creating GIS-centres in Moscow in the “Priroda” State centre and in the structure of Roskartografiya in Irkutsk; training Russian experts in the field of GIS.
The global research of the Baikal basin is supposed to be done on the ground of digital topographic and thematic maps scale 1:1,000,000, aerial photography and ecological database; the areas of detailed exploration, most provided with different data are to be studied on the ground of digital maps and ecological data scale 1:200,000.

The Russian Ministry of Nature and the organizations dependent on it work out the requirements that are necessary to solve the ecological problems of GIS, they work out the number of ecological data and their forms to be represented graphically on the maps, they take part in information provision of collecting, processing, transforming and analyzing the GIS ecological data, they organize ecological examinations, expert tests, they take part in working out the GIS-centre education programmes, they make up digital ecological data.
Roskartografiya is responsible for making digital and electronic map database of Lake Baikal, for working out information provision for integrating he data into GIS, for organizing the reception and accommodation of the technical devices of GIS-centres in Moscow and Irkutsk, for working out the GIS-centres work programmes together with the Russia Ministry of Nature territorial bodies and the SB RAS scientific-research institutes, for experimental work in Irkutsk, Ulan Ude and Chita with the materials of the Earth remote probing for thematic cartography, modeling and GIS-analyzing the ecological situation in the Baikal basin, for demonstrating the work results to other ministries and departments.

The US Geological service provides the organized centres with technical equipment and software, teaching Russian specialists for GIS-centres, using the American data of the Earth remote probing and GIS-digital maps, participation in working out GIS, helping in using the technical equipment and software of GIS-centres.
By now the “GIS-Baikal” project has been considered and approved by the US State Department which is planning to finance the acquisition of the necessary equipment. The project has also been discussed and approved at the sitting of the Baikal Government Commission. The participation in the project preparation and fulfillment has been confirmed by the administrations of the Irkutsk and Chita regions, the Republic of Buryatia Council of Ministers and the Siberian Branch of the Russia Academy of Sciences.

In accordance with the plan of the “GIS-Baikal” project realization the list of equipment and software to be delivered for GIS-centres has been clarified and coordinated. The information will be completely accumulated in the top priority sections of the territory with further spreading of the technological experience to other parts of the Baikal region. Specially protected territories have been selected as such sections: Olkhon island (the Irkutsk region), the Tunka national park (the Republic of Buryatia) and the area of the Arakhleyevsky lakes (the Chita region). Much work has been done to coordinate the objectives and functions of the GIS-Baikal project with consideration of the Complex Programme on providing Lake Baikal protection and rational usage of its basin natural resources. The section Geoinformation provision of the Baikal region sustainable development was included in the project for that.

In these unstable circumstances there is danger of different emergency situations (ES) both of technogenous and natural character which lays new claim to information support of the region sustainable functioning. Two main problems can be distinguished in the operation management within the systems and links of the territorial system of prevention and activities in emergency situations: timely detection of ES danger or emergence; efficient, expedient and effective reaction on the situation to prevent or eliminate the ES without its spread, population losses or economic or environmental damage.
To solve these problems it is necessary for the territorial bodies of ES prevention to have efficient and true information about the state of potentially dangerous objects and environment, about the forecast and the facts of the ES emergence and development, about the state of the forces and resources coaxed into acting in the emergency situations, about the available reserves of the region, prepared recommendations and variants of decisions how to prevent or act in emergency situations, about information submitted to the superior bodies of the ES territorial system. It is planned to organize the ES automated information managing system, which is a combination of subscriber point of the territorial, functional and departmental links united in the telecommunication system with administrative and territorial information and managing centres (ES commissions). The system will unite ES information resources all over the region; provide efficient analysis, estimation and forecast of ecological safety, working out proposals and recommendations for taking decisions to prevent the ES. It is expected that using complex mathematics models or new information system technologies and database in the complicated inter-discipline tasks will allow us to coordinate the information of different subject content, to forecast the dynamics of the region development in the situation of multi-criteria, lack of information, the conflict of economic and ecological criteria, to support the management decisions bearing in mind the possibility of ES emergence caused by technogenous and natural disasters.

One of the project priority tasks is submission of the data necessary for working out the pilot project to improve the natural resources management in the territory of the Tugnui watershed. Database and land ownership and land usage maps are made for this; forms and influence of agricultural lands and other types of financial help are analysed, the present-day guarding territories, forests management plans and economic development plans of the selected watershed are characterized. The development framework for different kinds of consulting and educational services necessary for ecologically grounded practical activity in present-day situation is also determined. There is a list of offices and organizations in charge of ecological expert testing. There are data characterizing the state of biological diversity, atmospheric air and water objects, land and forest resources as a result of economic activity, the main ecological problems of the region have been exposed. There is a proposal to change the organizational structure of the nature usage on the territory of the Tugnui watershed as one of the possible variants of solving this problem.

Financing the activities to create geoinformation provision of the Complex federal programme on Lake Baikal protection and its basin natural resources rational usage includes: working out and introducing the automated information system (AIS) “The Baikal Land” as an AIS sub-system The Land of Russia; making GIS on estimating ecological situation in Lake Baikal basin; the Tunka national park GIS and other kinds of GIS; working out the structure of information system and making the database.
Information provision of the nature usage process needs improvement, for now it is represented with fragments not connected with each other. One of the first organizing steps in that direction is establishing the Republican inter-departmental ecology and information centre at the Republic of Buryatia State Ecology Committee.
To make the centre function efficiently it is necessary to work out the architecture of a complex applied information system based on the open systems concept. The main objective of arranging the open system is in the possibility of economically and technically valuable fusion of different types of equipment and software into a single heterogeneous system on the basis of standardized interfaces among the components of information systems.
This approach allows to use the most hi-tech product, software, on different calculating platforms without re-programming and thus, to save considerable sums of money.

On the other hand, this approach allows to increase the calculating capacity of the applied system in accordance with the users’ demands and their financial opportunities.
By the present time the approach to building transmissible information systems from prepared transmissible components has been worked out. According to this recommendation the main components of the information system should be selected out of the transmissible ones which have standard interfaces: the software, the database management system, the applied programmes interface components together with other applied programmes and the final user.
Information technologies are closely connected with the problems of providing the Republic of Buryatia ecological security. Being the components of other kinds of technologies, information technologies provide the efficiency of the system managing the region nature protection problems.











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