Consisting of 11 islands, Far East Marine Biosphere Reserve is located off the continental coast south of Vladivostok, where boreal and sub-tropical currents meet in the Sea of Japan. The coastal areas consist of a combination of rocky abrupt capes, small peninsulas and bays, with coniferous and deciduous forests inland. The Reserve is located at the crossing of spring and summer migration ways of birds (Siberia-Japan and Arctic-China), and thus over 300 bird species, including the rarest representatives of avifauna, can be observed here.
Designation date: 2003
Regional network: EuroMAB
Surface : 121,100 ha
- Core area(s): 45,900 ha (marine: 45,000 ha)
- Buffer zone(s): 15,200 ha (marine: 15,000 ha)
- Transition zone(s): 83,000 ha (marine: 68,000 ha)
Location: 42º35'N-131º 30'E
Almost all the landscapes of southern Primorsky Krai are represented in the Reserve: subtropical and boreal forests, broadleaf and coniferous forests; wetlands and steppes; rocks, warm-water sandy coves and cold-water depths of the Sea of Japan; streams, lakes, and brackish-water lagoons. There is no anywhere in the world a unique diversity of geological structures and soils like this, concentrated on a small territory of reserved islands and continental coast.
The variety of habitats and environmental conditions predetermines a rich biological diversity of the Reserve. More than 3000 species of invertebrates and vertebrates - both marine and terrestrial - are represented. The region is the richest in Russia, in terms of number of bird species (some 340), as the site is a major location along the East Asian flyway.
The fauna of terrestrial mammals on Bolshoi Pelis Island is poor. In some years, enough large mammals, such as sika deer, roe deer, fox, and raccoon dog were observed (sporadic records). Among murines, Striped Field Mouse, Korean Field Mouse, and Common Vole permanently inhabit the island; among bats, Brown Long-eared Bat and Savi's Pipistrelle; among amphibians, Mongolian Toad and Japanese Tree Frog; among snakes, Asian Keelback and Dione Ratsnake. The Spotted Seal, previously almost completely extirpated in southern Primorsky Krai, has come back to the islands as its permanent habitat. The southernmost population of this species lives in Peter the Great Bay; about 80% of the population is aggregated in the Reserve during summer season.
While the core area is uninhabited, some 15-20 people live in the buffer zone in summer, and some 30,000 live in the in the transition area. In the latter, activities include vessels traffic, commercial fishing, as well as research, tourism, and aquaculture activities, as well as deer farming, aquaculture, ecological tourism, photographing of birds, among others.
Tourism has developed in the Reserve for the last 10 years. The Museum of the Reserve, Eco-Center, and Botanical Garden are open for visitors. The staff of the Reserve conducts excursions, seminars, and meetings. Excursions and eco-travel activity is an important part of the educational function of the Reserve.
Last updated: July 2019