Main Article Content
The article is concerned with the economic and social factors of optimizing the network of specially protected areas of the Rostov Region and the development of ecological tourism in similar areas. The history of creating the network of protected areas in foreign and domestic scientific practice was reviewed, with the conclusion that the area of nature protection territories of different ranks demonstrates the development trends. The prospects for increasing the protected areas, including via arrangement of conservation parks of the local, regional, and national ranks in the world, Russia, and the Rostov region were considered. The network of protected areas of the Rostov region was characterized, and recommendations for its optimization, in particular increasing the number of protected areas, creating the recreational “green zones” in the urbanized areas of the south-west to smooth the negative effects of industrial production, and developing the park areas were given. The Don Delta was suggested as a possible territory for a landscape park, which in the future can claim the status of the national park, and the functions and structure of such establishment were pointed out. The need to optimize the protected area network in the Rostov region by organizing similar territories in all municipal entities was highlighted.