A two-day meeting was organized in St. Petersburg, from 24th to 25th of January, to discuss the high conservation value forests and their connectivity in the Barents Region, with a special focus on Northwest Russia.
The transboundary Barents Region is one of the largest remaining intact natural ecosystems on Earth. Forests, mires, fish, minerals, oil and gas are valuable natural resources in the area. The exploitation of these resources has brought many species and biotypes endangered. The level of nature protection is clearly below the internationally set goal of 17% of terrestrial ecosystems to be protected by 2020 in the International Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). BPAN project aims at promoting and supporting to reach this target.
Forest specialists from WWF-Russia, Transparent World and the Finnish Environmental Institute presented the achieved project results in the meeting. The BPAN II phase project “Supporting regional efforts to secure critical conservation of forests with high conservation value as a key to achieve CBD Aichi biodiversity targets in the Barents Region” has studied high conservation value forest areas. This is done in order to establish better connectivity trough out the network. The information is created to support regional efforts to secure critical conservation of forests with high conservation value. The results of the Gap Analysis of Northwest Russia, and the BPAN project I phase were utilized in this work.
The evaluation can be used to support achieving CBD Aichi biodiversity targets in the Barents Region. The Barents Region has a few principal ecological corridors of relatively intact ecosystems, which have special importance for biodiversity and their connectivity should be secured. “The results can be also useful when choosing areas for economic use, so that the exploitation is located on least sensitive areas”, says Aimo Saano from Parks & Wildlife Finland, Metsähallitus from Finland.
The participants of the meeting discussed the possibilities to implement the results in practice. The representatives of Directorate for regional PAs of the Republic of Karelia, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forest Industry of the Arkhangelsk Region, State organization ”Centre for ensuring the functioning of protected areas and Nature Management in the Komi Republic” presented the state and plans of forest protection in their regions and the status of the protected area networks. Year of Ecology is celebrated in 2017 in Russia, and there are plans to establish two new national parks Khibiny and Ladoga Skerries national parks and other protected areas in the Russian part of the Barents Region.
The presentations in the meeting:
Zalesskaja Svetlana: Состояние охраны лесов и сети оопт в республике коми (pdf)
Dmitry Kapitalinin: Сохранение лесов и особо охраняемых территорий Архангельской области (pdf)