World Wildlife Fund declared the Amur River Basin (Heilong Jiang in Chinese) one of its global priorities. The most important aim in conserving biodiversity of Amur ecoregion is development of the system of protected areas, connected by ecological corridors and buffer zones (ecological network). The name of this program is “The Green Belt of Amur-Heilong” and the Oriental White Stork serves as flagship specie. In the year 2008 the Amur branch of WWF started a program to support Ramsar wetlands. Nowadays in Amur river basin people are poorly informed about the importance of Ramsar wetlands, little awareness exists among the government agencies and local populations of all three countries of the basin. This creates serious difficulties for wetland protection and expansion of protected area.
Wetland functions are extremely important in the ecosystem, because they provide the following services:
- Accumulate and keep fresh water;
- Regulate surface groundwater runoff;
- Keep the level of ground waters;
- Purify water, withhold contaminants;
- Produce and emit oxygen to the atmosphere;
- Act as the largest stock and reserve of atmospheric carbon;
- Stabilize microclimate conditions, especially precipitation and temperature;
- Slow down erosion and stabilize coast position;
- Present the highest primary ecosystem production Support biodiversity;
- Serve as a habitat for many species of plants and animals, including rare and economically significant.
Amur-Heilong-Onon River system, possessing wetlands of global importance, is divided between three countries and calls for coordinated protection efforts. Most of 5000 kilometers of national boundary lines crossing the Amur River Basin are drawn in wetlands: rivers, lakes and marshes. Storks, cranes, sturgeon, turtle and other wetland wildlife uses transboundary wetlands to rest, feed and breed.
Nowadays many types of wetlands are already badly damaged in Russia and in China, and even in Mongolia and require urgent protection. Therefore wetland conservation in this river basin requires constant international coordination, exchange, mutual learning and support.