Komi Republic in Russia is one of the major virgin boreal forest carbon pools. The greensof all shades mark forests (you can see these are 80% of Komi). Overlapping bright orange, crosses, dots, and pink – are current protected areas of various IUCN management categories. Altogether, there are 1.63 million ha of carbon-rich forests that require effective protection. They store 71.5 million tons of carbon. In an undisturbed state, these areas would build-up annually 2.8 million tons of carbon. But without protection, they are destroyed by fires and illegal logging, setting free 135,000 tons of carbon annually. Installing effective protection for these 1.63 million ha of virgin forests is the goal of UNDP/GEF/International Climate Initiative project. The project creates new protected areas, equips existing areas with management skills and infrastructure. With the ICI funding, the project sets a fire-avoidance system, implements carbon monitoring and research, tests ecosystem-based adaptation. The GHG mitigation effect of the project is 1.75 million CO2 avoidedin a 10-years perspective.
The Long-term solution envisaged by the Government of Russian Federation and Komi Republic is the conservation of the biodiversity of Komi’s boreal forests and peatlands through strengthening protected area system.Komi Republic has established a protected area system (PAS) to safeguard its globally significant biodiversity covering 14.6% of its territory, which is almost double the Russian average. The system is composed of 254 protected areas with a total area of 60,000 km2As the system is highly fragmented and not representative, UNDP has partnered the Government at the federal and Komi Republic level, the academia, private sector and the GEF to engineer a reconfigured PA System of Komi Republic which is ecologically representative, effectively managed and sustainably financedthrough better coordination between federal and regional agencies.However, giving that the climate change is already showing impacts on the boreal forests of Komi and given the enormous capacity of virgin forests of Komi Republic to sequester additional carbon, if managed properly, UNDP, has assisted the Government accessing resources from the German International Climate Initiative to ensure that the PAs have the skills and infrastructure needed to mitigate and monitor pending climate change risks, to define and put in place proper fire-prevention, and fire-fighting measures, technologies and infrastructure; develop and test climate change adaptation measures, strengthen carbon monitoring capacities.