The network of protected areas in Republic of Karelia (RK) has been forming since the 1930's (Khokhlova et al., 2000). The status of the existing and planned PA's draws on the Federal Law about "Protected areas" which currently regulates relationships in the sphere of PA establishment and management in Russia. The Federal Law was specified in the RK Law about "Unique historical and natural landscape areas", RK Land Code.
Protected areas fall under the authority of the RK State Committee for Nature Protection and RK State Forest Committee. The area of PA's as of 01.01.1998 is 957475 ha or 5.3% of the Republic's territory.
Almost all of the Lake Ladoga area districts of Karelia are located in the north taiga zone. Its geographical position, orographic and geomorphological features however predetermine its high diversity and vulnerability of the natural complexes and landscapes, many of them being unique, with no analogues in the European north. These are, e.g., Lake Ladoga skerries, some aquatic and wetland ecosystems, isolated habitats of many plant and animal species on the margin of their distribution, rare and unique geological and paleontological formations, etc.
Many valuable nature objects were placed under protection long before the guidelines and regulations for PA establishment and documentation were introduced. PA's in the Republic are currently being revised so that to comply with the new legislation and reorganised administration bodies managing the protected areas.
In addition to the standard set of national protected areas
Republic of Karelia has introduced republican PA categories in accord with
modern federal legislation. The need for republican-scale PA's emerged due to
the presence of complex objects combining historical, architectural and natural
values, as well as cultural monuments the preservation of which required the
conservation of the surrounding landscape (Fig.
The group of republican protected areas includes:
Unique historical and natural landscape areas.
Historical and cultural heritage areas.
Buffer zones around national-scale protected areas.
The Lake Ladoga area districts are among the most inhabited areas
in Karelia. Nonetheless, the share of PA's in most of them is higher than the average in the republic. The total area of Protected areas occupy the total of 10.8% of the territory in question, with the indices in specific districts as follows: (1) Lahdenpohsky - 17.7%, (2) - Olonetsky - 13.4%, (3) - Pitkarantsky - 0.7% and (4) - Sortavalsky - 11.2%(Annex À-5, Table A-5.2).
By the year 2005 five national parks with the total area of 408,000 ha are to be established in Karelia. One of the planned parks will be organized in the north of the Lake Ladoga area, in three administrative districts of Karelia - Lahdenpohsky, Sortavalsky and Pitkarantsky. The are of the "Ladoga skerries" park will be 84,000 ha.