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Премия рунета 2017

Forest and climate

The forests of the Far East play an important role in maintaining carbon balance of the planet. While growing forests mitigate climate change by absorbing and retaining large amounts of carbon dioxide, deforestation and fires release these volumes and contribute to the disruption of the global climate balance. For example, in some years logging and extensive forest fires led to emissions of such volumes of CO2 that they have exceeded even the «contribution» of the transport sector, one of the most «dirty» in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia / Bikin
© WWF Russia
© Evgeni Lepeshkin
Krasnospinnyj poloz © WWF Russia
© Oleg Kabalik
© Vasily Solkin

WWF Russia jointly with WWF Germany implemented a unique project aimed at mitigating climate change using the payment mechanism for ecosystem services. The project was supported by the Government of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany and the German Development Bank. As a result, a forest stand has been preserved, which is an important habitat for tigers, and local population has the opportunity to conduct traditional fishing.

About 460 thousand hectares of cedar-broad-leaved forests of Bikin nut-farming zone were leased for harvesting food forest resources. The tenant was the territorial-neighbor community of indigenous small-numbered peoples «Tiger». Protection of this territory from logging and fires only for a period from 2009 to 2012 has allowed avoiding emissions of more than 500 thousand tons of CO2. In addition, industrial harvesting of cedar, oak and ash wood in the forests of Bikin would lead to a reduction in the food base for wild boars, which, in turn, is a food source for Amur tigers.

This climate service was certified through the system of approval and verification of projects of the Kyoto Protocol. The Bikinsky project became the first and at the moment the only certified initiative on sustainable forest management within the framework of joint implementation projects. In 2011, the heads of Russia and Germany have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on assistance in the implementation of the project «Protection of virgin forests of Bikin River to reduce the impact of climate change (the Far East, Russia)».

In 2011, within the framework of the international climate initiative WWF has launched a new project to conserve all cedar-broad-leaved forests of the Far East of Russia. This project helps to prevent a release of around 350 thousand tons of CO2 annually. The same effect could be achieved by removing each year about 65 thousand cars from roads.

In 2013, the first transaction of emission reduction units has been carried out, from the sell of which the «Tiger» community received funding of 17 million rubles. Over the next few years it is expected to receive about 50 million rubles. This project demonstrates that existing international financial mechanisms allow simultaneous protection and use of valuable forest resources.