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Prielbrusye National Park Environmental Changes Due To Increasing Tourism Activity

https://doi.org/10.24057/2071-9388-2022-108

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Abstract

Prielbrusye National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. In recent years internal tourism development, stimulated by restrictive measures (due to the COVID pandemic and geopolitical situation), resulted in significant growth of tourist flow to the national park’s territory. A surge in anthropogenic load on the park’s geosystems might degrade them and lead to environmental pollution. This research involved chemical studies of natural waters and snow from the south slope of the Elbrus and audit of the most popular tourist trails. The results have shown that in the snow alongside mountain hiking pistes to the Elbrus all the way up to 4,720 m above sea level (a.s.l.) oil stains concentration is up to 38 times higher than maximum acceptable concentration (MAC). Content analysis of heavy metals in snow cover on the Elbrus slopes and in the river Baksan has shown a significant rise in lead load over the period of 2015–2021 from the trace levels to 1.5 MAC, which is the result of increased anthropogenic load on the south slope of the Elbrus mountain. Ground observation of tourist trails has brought to light numerous patches of vegetation trampling, width extension and branching of the main trail, as well as campfire sites. The research results can be used as a rationale to take measures to reduce recreational load, to improve local geosystems’ condition and to develop a plan of action on nature conservation within the park’s territory.

About the Authors

Anna A. Cherkasova
All-Russian non-governmental organization Russian Geographical Society
Russian Federation

Novaya Ploshchad, 10, bld. 2, 109012, Moscow



Anton A. Iurmanov
All-Russian non-governmental organization Russian Geographical Society; Main Botanical Garden named after N. V. Tsitsin RAS
Russian Federation

Novaya Ploshchad, 10, bld. 2, 109012, Moscow, 

st.Botanicheskaya, 4, Moscow, 127276



Pravin Kokane
University of Mumbai
India

Department of Geography

Santacruz East 400098, Maharashtra



Alexey A. Maslakov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography

Leninskie Gory, 1, 119991, Moscow



Matija Petkovich
University of Belgrade
Serbia

Faculty of Biology

Studentski trg, 16, 11158, Belgrade



Marina N. Petrushina
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography

Leninskie Gory, 1, 119991, Moscow



Aida Tabelinova
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Kazakhstan Branch
Kazakhstan

Faculty of Geography

st. Kazhymukan, 11, 010010, NurSultan



Azamat Tolipov
Unaffiliated with an organization
Russian Federation


Georgy Yakubov
Unaffiliated with an organization
Russian Federation


Yulia Yushina
Institute of Geography and Water Security
Kazakhstan

st. Kabanbai batyr/Pushkin, 67/99, Almaty, 050010



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Review

For citations:


Cherkasova A.A., Iurmanov A.A., Kokane P., Maslakov A.A., Petkovich M., Petrushina M.N., Tabelinova A., Tolipov A., Yakubov G., Yushina Yu. Prielbrusye National Park Environmental Changes Due To Increasing Tourism Activity. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY. 2022;15(4):115-123. https://doi.org/10.24057/2071-9388-2022-108

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ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)