Interview with Natalia Luzhkova, manager of the project «Along the Doppelmayer’s trail: protecting the nature of Barguzinsky nature reserve for over a 100 years»

Interview with Natalia Luzhkova, manager of the project «Along the Doppelmayer’s trail: protecting the nature of Barguzinsky nature reserve for over a 100 years»

When did the idea to implement this particular project come to your mind?

The idea of such project appeared in 2014, when we celebrated centenary of G. Doppelmayr’s expedition disembarkment in the Sosnovka bay. In 1914 the Evenki people lived there, today there lies border of «Southern» Barguzin state biospheric reserve. Together with young scientists we wanted to do comprehensive research, evaluate the state of environment and create an interactive map accessible for those who visit our web-site.

What impact does the project have on the Baikal’s protection?

The project demonstrates the importance of environmental goals, the need for reserve status on the north-eastern Baikal coast. Through this expedition we will show how some components of the environment were preserved or restored over the last century. We will also draw attention to the activities of Special Protected Nature Areas (SPNA) in Baikal region, which is going to demonstrate that the reserve status in the region is put into action in a right way and scientific research is very up-to-date.


Can the project be repeated in other regions?

Yes, it surely can. Similar research and its interpretation as web-maps is possible for every SPNA.

For how long have you been working as a researcher?

I started my post-graduate studies in V.B. Sochawa Institute of Geography of SO RSA in 2008. Hence, it’s my eleventh year in scientific field. I have experience of implementing either scientific or applied projects. When I was working in NGO «Big Baikal Trail» and in international organization «Tajo-Baikal Institute», we received grants for research and practical activity, for example, hiking paths construction, sociological surveys about development of touristic infrastructure.

Why did you step onto scientific path?

I believe in scientific approach and possibility to use my findings for nature. I started with hiking paths construction and then I understood that there should be definitive geographical, biological and engineering explanation for the sections within any Special Nature Protected Area where it is possible to make paths with certain morphometric characteristics. Now I’m working at federal reserve «Zapovednoye Podlemorye» where I can put my knowledge and my skills into action, carry out new investigations and make experiments (no animal or plant was harmed). The fact that my PhD. thesis was not useless makes me feel good and move on. The only difficulty is that there are too many plans, variants of work, because everything is interesting: landscape, botanics, mapping.


How does each member contribute to the project?

Initially there were four people in our team: Olga Mikhaleva (ornithologist, post-graduate student in the Institute of Geography of SO RSA), Vadim Kozulin (mammologist, senior fellow in federal reserve «Zapovednoye Podlemorye», post-graduate student at Buryat State University), Alexander Burdukovsky (botanist, fellow at Buryat State University and in «Zapovednoye Podlemorye» (since April, 2018) and me. Everybody makes their contribution according to their specialty. I hope that Anastasia Myadzelets and Oleg Galikaev will join us on voluntary basis to do mapping and to help with media coverage. We are excited about making this historical way along the river Tarkulik together, evaluating the changes of the past 100 years and showing beautiful landscape to our web-site visitors.

Do you have any plans about new projects?

There are plenty of scientific projects: geoecological evaluation of capacity and limitations of educational tourism, evaluation and mapping of ecosystem services, restoration of fire-induced landscape. More practical tasks include making scientific-applied maps, constructing new eco-safe hiking paths for everyone including disabled people. There are various topics and I’m trying to make a whole picture of them, to define an action plan for next few years.

In your opinion, what is needed to preserve lake Baikal for future generations?

Everything depends on everyone. To begin with, everyone should take away garbage, use phosphate-free detergents, go shopping with reusable bags. It is very simple! Only when everyone understands their personal responsibility and learns to respect nature, something may change to the better. The meaning of big projects is lost if at ten meters from the coast a seagull is dying caught up into plastic bag.