Scenario 1. The existing administration practices and relationships between the authorities on the one hand, and public and research organizations remain as they are; the economic situation remains at the present level or improves.
General dynamics of environmental changes and use of natural resources.
The load on most natural resources in the Lake Ladoga area is
not diminished or even growing, and their exploitation is poorly controlled and managed. Under such conditions eutrophication processes and deposition of man-made pollutants in the lake continue due to both natural processes and human activities.
Inadequate number of PA's both around Ladoga and on the lake itself (or lack of actual protection of valuable areas even though they may have been declared by the authorities) leads to further degradation of natural resources.
The strongest regional factors of influence will be:
(1) uncontrolled logging along the shore of the lake and other water bodies,
(2) unorganized recreation and "wild" tourism (particularly harmful on islands),
(3) uncontrolled (or semi-legal) construction in water shelterbelts, valuable natural areas and areas already exposed to heavy human pressure (southern and south-western parts of the Lake Ladoga area),
(4) intensive amateur and semi-commercial fisheries and hunting.
Immediate indicators of changes in nature.
The greatest risk in this situation is connected with endemic plant and animal forms, while their extinction is an irrecoverable loss for global biodiversity.
Combination of natural and direct anthropogenic factors will gradually lead to degradation and disappearance of
whole biotopes. Eutrophication and recreational load in the south of the region has already resulted in sandy beaches getting actively overgrown.
Other possible factors of negative influence on regional biota.
Transport. Both in case current tendencies in the economy continue (growing share of resource
exports in order to get the necessary financing), and in the case of economic growth in the region the forecast is that
transport, first of all water transport, will develop. Uncontrolled development of the water transport results in elevating
contamination of the lake with oil products and serves as a source of biological pollution.
Agriculture. If recession in agriculture continues even as little as several more years some
important agro-ecosystems will be lost, which will produce a general negative effect both on the region (paludification, degradation of the soil cover, etc.) and the continent at large, while agricultural lands of the Lake Ladoga area are a source of sustenance along the White Sea-Baltic migration route.
Natural resources' management practices. Lack of specific legislation for protecting the biota of
the lake and adjacent areas at the regional level, and growing disagreement between legal and statutory provisions in the
neighbouring subjects of the Russian Federation makes the specific mid- or long-term measures towards sane nature use in the
Due to the lack of co-ordination in the activities of different organisations and authorities as well as unwillingness to finance research and monitoring complete and comparable data on bioresources in the lake and its productivity cannot be obtained. This situation in its turn ruins the opportunity of organising sustainable use of biological resources.
Nature conservation activities are insufficiently and inefficiently financed. There exists no system for lobbying
nature conservation interests. There is no understanding that economically efficient, profitable enterprises can be organised
within a "sustainable development" programme. Nature conservation is regarded a "cost-incurring" sector.
Peoples' attitude towards nature. The level of environmental knowledge of decision-makers and local authorities, as well as the level of public awareness remains low.
Middle- and long-term prespectives.
If the situation follows this course of development one can generally expect the value of the land and water area
to diminish gradually. In a few years the degradation process will grow irreversible, as has happened, e.g. with
eutrophication in Lake Ladoga (see section "Environment"). The impossibility to stop degradation of the natural environment in the region once it has started is caused by the enormous inertia of Ladoga, which is a huge freshwater reservoir.
Thus, if the region develops following this scenario changes in the economic situation in the region and Russia
in general will not prevent Lake Ladoga from losing unique natural objects and degradation of the water quality, which be a
threat to several million people in the eastern Baltic and throughout the Baltic region (see "About
project" Ø "Environment").
Scenario 2. The efforts made by research and public organisations are recognised and supported by local and regional administrations; financing is allotted to the solution of priority conservation tasks.
General dynamics of environmental changes and use of natural resources.
Eutrophication and deposition of technogenic pollution in the lake continues for some time due to natural reasons
(see "About project"). Still, the load on most natural resources in the Lake Ladoga region
decreases, their exploitation is strictly controlled and managed first administratively, and later - at the local (municipal) level.
System of protection of natural complexes and rare species.
Proposals are developed for the establishment of an effective network of protected land areas and water areas of
Lake Ladoga. The system of PA's is expanded step-wise relying on detailed scientific feasibility studies, which
guarantees preservation of the most vulnerable and unique ecosystems of the Lake Ladoga region. This concerns first of all the
shore zone, archipelagos and isolated islands. When PA's are established economic calculations are also used to determine their
Special attention in the work of PA's, conservation organisations, educational and public awareness
activities is paid to endemic plant and animal forms.
Administrative and legislative system of natural resource management in the region.
Co-ordination Council for the Lake Ladoga region starts working actively. Draft Integrated regional and/or federal Lake Ladoga biodiversity conservation programme is developed. Implementation of this programme will first of all remove the risk to viable endemic forms, facilitate the assessment of the present state of biological resources in the lake and their productivity. This will generate opportunities for long-term forecasting and sustainable use of natural resources.
Regional laws and statutes designed to regulate the process of sustainable development in the region are
co-ordinated among different subject of the Russian Federation both within the Co-ordinating Council activities, and bilaterally.
Natural resources' management practices. Mid- and long-term sustainable development programmes for the Lake Ladoga region rely on monitoring data and are revised in accord with proposed recommendations. Particular attention is paid to the problem of involving specialists in various fields in the preparation of the region's development programmes and in training decision-makers.
Social and economic development.
Industry and transport. Special norms and regulations concerning industrial and other pollutants (based on monitoring and forecasts) are developed and adopted for the Lake Ladoga area. The effect of shipping on the lake ecosystems is assessed and shipping regulations are developed, which reduce the risk of pollution from ships and much limit the possibilities for biological pollution of the lake.
Agriculture. Programme of support to agriculture in the region is developed and implemented.
Different forms of agricultural enterprises are developing. Support is given mainly to the enterprises which accommodate their
activities to the specific characteristics of the Lake Ladoga region ecosystems and use up-to-date techniques. If resources are
available reclamation systems and part of agricultural lands in areas of international importance are restored at the first
stage of the programme.
Turism, hunting, fisheries. Control over water shelterbelts is intensified, development
programme for local and environmental tourism is worked out, amateur fisheries and hunting are controlled both in PA's and throughout the territory by administrative structures as well as by means of educational and public awareness measures. Municipality development programmes include alternative sources for raising the living standard of the local inhabitants.
The region and its municipalities gain experience in the new economically efficient and profitable forms of economic activities, first of all in PA's. Nature conservation and restoration are not regarded a "cost-incurring" sector any more. Investors are attracted to the region.
Peoples' attitude towards nature. The general public are informed about the values of the surrounding nature, problems the region is facing and the ways to solve them. Local population gets more and more involved in the work done by municipalities.
If the situation develops along this scenario one can expect the region to fulfil the task of the so-called "sustainable development", when conservation and development of the natural environment are as important as the social and economic aspects. In this case the natural complexes and resources of Lake Ladoga and its drainage area will be preserved and restored. Simultaneously, pre-requisites will be created for successful economic development of the region. Generally speaking, this course of development will ensure stability of one of the important factors influencing the situation in the Baltic region as a whole and the life of millions of people.
The first scenario is a rather pessimistic one, because while solving the pressing problems of social development it leaves environmental problems unattended. Moreover, in some parts of Russia decisions are often made following this very scenario (with some modifications). However, the changes going on in Russia in the last decade and affecting primarily the best developed regions of the country hardly leave us a chance to completely ignore nature conservation issues while planning and implementing regional development programmes.
The second scenario is closer to the ideal while it assumes that the nature conservation issues occupy a key position in the economic and social development of the region. At today's stage in the development of the Russian society this scenario can unfortunately hardly be expected to be easily implemented. The main obstacles in this way are a number of interrelated circumstances, namely:
(1) political instability and the general economic situation (lack of financial resources);
(2) largely due to inefficient regional planning and unwise use of the resources available,
(3) which in its turn ensues from the often observed low qualification of decision-makers and low level of environmental literacy among the population, and
(4) general lack of initiative in common people and municipality leaders, who have no experience of implementing specific environmental projects yielding quick and tangible results.
Experience shows that specific nature conservation targets can only be achieved if decision-makers, specialists and researchers, NGOs and enthusiasts constantly co-operate.