The Russian President has declared 2017 the Year of Ecology. This decision will draw public attention towards environmental issues, support the protection of ecological and biological diversity and reinforce the ecological security of the country. The Action Plan for the Year of Ecology provides for more than 600 events across all regions of Russia.
Planned projects are divided into clusters. The largest one, both in terms of volume and number of activities, is the implementation of the new waste management system and the best available technologies (BAT). Besides that, in accordance with the decision of the Organizing Committee, key objectives include protection of the Baikal Natural Territory, conservation of water resources and development of the protected areas system.
Previously developed legislative changes in the field of ecology will be carried out during 2017. These changes will affect water, forestry, and land codes of Russia and many federal laws regulating these spheres.
This is the very reason why 2017 will be the year of environmental reforms, which implies the enhancement of the regulatory and legal frameworks in the sphere of ecology and implementation of the previously developed norms.
In 2017 Russia will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state’s first natural reserve - Barguzinsky. All 168 activities of the yearly Plan for PAs are an integral part of the Year of Ecology.
This year will become a landmark in the number of new federal Protected Areas created. Those will include:
Seven national parks:
• "Sengileevsky Mountains" (Ulyanovsk Region),
• "Kislovodskiy" (Stavropol Territory),
• "Ladoga Skerries" (Republic of Karelia),
• "Khibiny" (Murmansk region),
• "Kodar" (the Trans-Baikal Territory),
• "Zigalga" (Chelyabinsk Region),
• "Lena Pillars" (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Two state nature reserves:
• "Vasyugansky" (Tomsk and Novosibirsk regions),
• "Ingermanland" (Leningrad region).
Two federal wildlife reserves:
• "Solovetsky" (Arkhangelsk region),
• "Novosibirsk Islands" (the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)).
Furthermore, the territory of the Caucasus Natural Biosphere Reserve will be extended.
Strengthening the status of protected areas, national reserves and parks, as well as expanding them will preserve unique natural landscapes and ecosystems, rare animals and plants, as well as promote environmental education and develop educational tourism.
Altogether, within the next eight years, there are plans to create 11 natural reserves, 17 national parks and 2 federal wildlife reserves. In addition to that, the territories of 12 existing federal protected areas will be expanded. In achievement of all that, the Federal Protected Areas will increase by 18%.
Plans for 2017 also include publishing a new volume of the Red Book of Endangered Species of the Russian Federation, creating new breeding facilities for the rare species, continuing reintroduction of rare species program, including the European Bison, the Persian Leopard and the Przewalski’s Horse.
Protection of forest resources and reforestation
In 2017 there are plans to restore 800 000 hectares of forests in the country, including reforestation of the Baikal natural territory, which suffered heavily from wildfires of 2015.
Dronova Maria Evgenevna, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia