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APN Full Proposal 2003

Climate variability and human activities in relation to Northeast Asian land-ocean interactions and their implications for coastal zone management

This proposal intends to investigate environmental effects resulting from changes in natural forcing and socio-economic development on the river-ocean system, for the selected rivers in the East Asia region. River runoff exerts distinct impact on biogeochemical factors in the coastal zone, which in turn determine the capacity of ecosystems. Therefore it is important to know which changes occur in the "river-ocean" system, and how anthropogenic activities affect the system (Gramm-Osipov et al., 2000; Gao et al., 2000, 2001; Mozherovsky et al., 2000; Fu et al., 2002; Ponomarev et al., 2002).

Human activities and climate changes/fluctuations affect the river runoff, sediment and material transport, changes and variations of ecosystem parameters of river basins, estuaries and adjacent coastal areas of marginal seas. Natural and anthropogenic driving forces causing regional changes in river basins, estuaries and adjacent sea areas will be studied by particular specialists and across the disciplinary boundaries. Different and common features of change and forces should be determined, at least, in three regions of the marginal area of the Northeast Asia. Their relation to global change will be estimated by comparing results of the global change studies revealed in the framework of other projects.

LOICZ, a core project of the international Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), has identified the Tumen, Amur and other significant East Asian river basins as deserving further study, especially in the context of impacts of climate variability and human activities. The key scientific questions to be addressed are: (1) How are humans altering the mass balance of water, sediment, nutrient and contaminant fluxes, and what are the consequences? (2) How do changes in land use, climate and sea level alter fluxes and retention of water and particulate matter in coastal zones, and affect the morphodynamics? (3) How can we apply knowledge of processes and impacts of biogeochemical and socio-economic changes to improve integrated coastal zone management?

From this perspective, the main goals of the project are as followings: (1) To evaluate the impact of the Amur, Tumen and Razdolnaya rivers on coastal zones and to compare the impacts with the effect of other major rivers of East Asia (Korea: the Han River; China: the Changjiang, Huanche, Pearl Rivers); (2) To estimate the influence of human activities on river/estuarine ecosystems; (3) To investigate long-term climate fluctuations in East Asia in relation to the rivers and coastal zones; (4) To assess comparative impacts of climate variability and human activities on coastal zones in different regions of East Asia; (5) To develop strategies for costal zone management, particularly for area of mouth of Tumen and Razdolnaya Rivers.

The Project will also: (a) train young scientists in capacity building of the Global Change research; (b) provide information to policy/decision-makers on aspects of coastal management and (c) encourage them to make practical use of such information.

The overall study framework is based on the DPSIR (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response) framework adopted by the LOICZ core project of the IGBP. The following activities will be carried out: (1) A comprehensive analysis of all previous data available on the topic will be used to resolve the problem of river input to the sea. These data include the composition of sediments, suspension matter and water column; (2) Chemical analysis of water and sediment samples will be done in addition to the previous results. The methods of atomic-absorption, ordinary chemical analysis and ion-selective electrodes will be used; (3) The method of physical-chemical modeling based on the chemical thermodynamic analysis will be used to describe a mechanism of chemical composition transformation in the river and sea water.

Climate change and human activity impact on physical/chemical water properties in river estuary and adjacent coastal zone will be estimated by using statistical methods and numerical simulation. Regional climate change and oscillations will be examined by statistical analyses using monthly/daily time series of surface air temperature, precipitation rate, river runoff and wind velocity.

All trophic levels in coastal zone ecosystems will be described, and a multi-level trophic model will be composed based on the analysis of organic matter and bacterial, phytoplankton, zooplankton, nekton, meiofaunal and benthic communities.

It is proposed that the Project will be fulfilled on the basis of the joint efforts of scientists from Russia, China and Korea, because of necessity to evaluate the particular situation in the areas of the main Asian rivers, taking into account different pattern of socio-economic development and various ecological factors.

There is possibility to involve Democratic People Republic of Korea in the activity of our Project in the second year (2005-2006).

Work plan and timeline
Description of outputs and timelines (first year)





4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3
Development of task teams X X                    
Collection of data   X X X X X X          
Development of the Internet site     X X                
A workshop for authors (Kharbin, China)             X          
Analysis of the data and preparation of the report             X X X X X X
Date/Venue Event Estimated No. of Participants
27-28 October 2004 Heilongjang University, Kharbin Workshop for authors 14
Description of outputs and timelines (second year)


2005 2006


4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3
Processing of data for the collective monograph X X                    
Collection of missing data X X X                  
Workshop, training course for policy-makers and training course for young scientists (Vladivostok, Russia)     X                  
Preparation of the manuscript of the collective monograph     X X X X X X X      
Editorial work with the manuscript of the monograph         X X X X X X    
Development of a draft copy for the monograph               X X X X  
Submission of the manuscript into publishing house                       X

This proposal will promote an understanding of the effect of global change on ecosystems and human society in the region of East Asia, according to the APN mission. It involves developing countries in joint research and will strengthen interactions between the scientific community and policy/decision- makers.

One of the main goals of this proposal is investigations of the recent environmental effects derived from natural changes and rapid socio-economic development in selected areas in East Asia. It is closely linked to the topics, namely - "Climate Change & Variability" and "Human Dimensions" announced by APN. This proposal has been developed in collaboration with the representatives of the LOICZ Core Project of the IGBP and is based on an earlier LOICZ East Asia Basin concept proposal that was developed during the previous APN-supported workshop held at the Baptist University of Hong Kong in February 2001 (See LOICZ Reports and Studies No. 26, 2002).


The main objectives of the Project are evaluation of the impact of the Amur and Tumen rivers on coastal areas, and comparing the impact with those of other major rivers of the region (Russia, Korea and China). The Project requires a close, effective and efficient international cooperation between several countries in order to achieve the objectives of the Project. The international team of principal scientists is represented by well-known and experienced researchers from three countries: Russia - Drs. A. Adrianov, D. Pitruk, V. Shulkin, K. Lutaenko, L. Gramm-Osipov, V. Ponomarev, A. Makhinov; Korea - Drs. Hi-Il Yi and J.G. Je; China - Drs. M. Wong, S. Gao and S.Y. Yang. Dr. Gao is a member of the LOICZ Scientific Steering Committee and Dr. Wong was involved in the previous LOICZ East Asia Basins synthesis workshop. In addition, many young scientists from Russia, China and Korea will be involved in the Project.


The Project will involve many scientists (including young scientists from Russia, China and Korea and perhaps Democratic People Republic of Korea in second year of the Project) in international APN activities. They will take part in fieldworks, laboratory research and analyses of the obtained materials. These participants will take part in workshops, preparation of reports and the Internet site. Also, they will participate in the preparation of different parts of manuscripts of the forthcoming collective monograph. International workshops with participation of policy/decision-makers and training courses for young scientists from Russia, China and Korea will involve a wide range of people in Global Change activities, and will promote the creation of APN network in East Asia.


The Project team members from Russia will analyse the previous scientific information provided by Russian, Chinese and Korean scientists to develop the proposals for the Project; they are also responsible for the Internet site. Team members from Russia are responsible for a workshop and training course for young scientists and a workshop and training course for decision/policy-makers in June 2005 in Vladivostok. The Project team members from China are responsible for a workshop in October 2004 to discuss sampling techniques, research methods and Project report. Country-participants will be responsible for collaborative data collection at their respective coasts and rivers (Russia - the Amur, Tumen and Razdolnaya rivers; Korea - the Han river; China - the Changjiang, Huanche, Pearl rivers, and Chinese parts of Amur (Heilongjiang) and Tumen rivers). Country-participants will be responsible for the complex geological, geo- and hydro-chemical, meteorological, remote sensing, hydrological and ecological data of the selected rivers and development of strategies for costal zone management. The national groups will prepare the individual parts of the reports and monograph. The international editorial board comprised of the principal collaborators will execute the editorial work. The Project team members from Russia will be responsible for publishing the final monograph.


The data generated from the Project will be used by the Administrations of Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces to project social and economic development in the Far East Region of the Russian Federation. The root causes of environmental problems of the Tumen River basin and recommendations for preservation of its unique nature, biodiversity and sedimentation changes in the coastal and land areas neighboring the river mouth will be handed to the Government of the Russian Federation for subsequent negotiations between the Russian Federation, China, Republic of Korea and DPRK. The Chinese and Russian teams will also make recommendations to policy/decision-makers concerning the Amur (Heilongjiang) River. Chinese and Korean teams will provide recommendations for Chinese and Korean officials with regard to the other rivers and coastal areas of the region.


The Project is closely linked to the LOICZ. The research activities of the project also correspond well with the goals of DIVERSITAS; mainly with regional initiatives of this global program (DIWPA - the International Network for DIVERSITAS in the Western Pacific and Asia). It is also well correlated with the main purpose of the global program CENSUS of MARINE LIFE, and its regional activity under NaGISA. The results of the Project will also be of useful for the MILLENIUM ASSESSMENT-activity. Futhermore, these results can be used by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) to determine to what extent the climate can be forecast and to what extent human activities affect climate in the surveyed area. The aim of our Project agrees with the activities of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), in describing and understanding the interactive physical, chemical, biological and geological processes that regulate the total Earth System. The Project is also closely related to the activities of the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). Accordingly to the START activities, conducting research on regional aspects of global change and the provision of relevant information to policy/decision- makers and government leaders will be implemented.


The data of meso-scale variability in the distribution of suspended matter and chemical elements and recent sedimentation in the Amur River Estuary - the Sea of Okhotsk have been published during the last 10 - 15 years.

Ecological expeditions in the mouth area of the Tumen River, including neighboring coastal areas have been conducted annually from 1996 to 2004. Data with regards to hydrological, biological and chemical research, the analysis of bottom and water pollution by heavy metals, oil carbohydrates, detergents, pesticides and the composition of pollutants (which are discharged from the Tumen River), the dynamics of their distribution and their effects on freshwater and marine ecosystems are available. The effects of rapid socio-economic development of the Pearl River Delta in China and the Han and Geum Rivers in Korea on environmental and human health, with emphasis on the biotransfer of persistent toxic substances, have been evaluated.

The discussion about the regional role of global climate change tendency during the 20th century in the large area of East Asia can be found in papers related to our project (Fu et al, 2002; Fu and Wang, 1992; Ponomarev et al, 2001, 2002; et al.). The relationships between regional climatic changes of large East Asian river basins and estuaries and global climate changes will be focused in the project.