Journal 2021#4

Assessment of the Contribution of Russian Forests to Climate Change Mitigation



Abstract References

Recent inclusion of the issue of economy decarbonization in the global agenda has been affecting social and political priorities. To lower greenhouse gas emissions, Russian economy has to reduce anthropogenic emissions and maximise the carbon sequestration potential of national forests. The paper demonstrates that Russian forest ecosystems compensate for more than a quarter (almost 27 %) of anthropogenic emissions. However, due to the absence of a reliable, time-tested forest inventory system in Russia, as opposed to leading countries, it is difficult to ensure the sustainable use of forest resources and full accounting of greenhouse gas absorption by forests. The research analyses systemic measures to improve the absorptive capacity of Russian forests as a key element of the mechanism for compensating industrial greenhouse gas emissions, since the global expert community should recognise the contribution of these forests to the global climate change mitigation. Potential economic benefits of increasing the carbon-absorbing capacity of forests are assessed at the regional level. The example of Irkutsk oblast shows that the calculated effect of the analysed measures can amount to 6–7 dollars/ha at the current price of carbon credits; full implementation of these measures in the region can bring up to 480 million US dollars annually, net of expenses. The research proposes to ensure the necessary quality and completeness of data of the State Forest Registry by integrating remote and ground-based field measurements. It is also suggested to enhance institutional and investment support to state forest conservation initiatives, including in the framework of the National Project “Ecology” and forest-climate projects based on public-private partnerships. These measures should be included in the reform of public policy in the field of forest management.