The seminar that officially launched the international project "Intellectually driven management of natural resources of Green Belt of Fennoscandia" took place at Karelian Research Centre (11 Pushkinskaya St.) on June 17.
The project is implemented within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Karelia Cross-border Cooperation Programme (Karelia ENPI CBC). The Green Belt of Fennoscandia is a strip of territory stretching on both sides of the Russian-Finnish-Norwegian border, which core areas are operating and planned protected areas (PAs) of different ranks, which are ecologically linked with the pan-European environmental network (Natura 2000). In terms of its environmental, conservation and recreational qualities this unique nature object is of pan-European value.
The environmental situation in some districts and municipalities calls for improvement through wise and sustainable management. The activities of logging and other enterprises, poaching, frontier engineering facilities cause animal populations to decline. Basic population management principles worked out by scientists are hardly ever implemented. At the same time, wildlife, including fish, is to be treated as an international resource and managed jointly by neighbour states. The efforts to promote the recreational potential of the territory (especially in Karelia) lack efficiency, and its contribution to the economy is minor. The nature of the territory being highly attractive, the infrastructure, information support and services to organized hunters, fishermen and tourists are underdeveloped. Activities should also be built up in PAs (core areas of GBF), especially now that Russian legislation has been modified to allow educational tourism in PAs. The cross-border potential of GBF, which may trigger sustainable development in border areas, is not utilized to the full either.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to socio-economic development of the Green Belt of Fennoscandia by creating the system of sustainable use and enhanced reproduction of natural resources (hunting, fishing, PA-based tourism, recreation, other activities). This project is co-funded by the European Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland. In implementing the project activities researchers will focus on the search for cross-border solutions for conservation and reproduction of natural resources (e.g. ecological corridors) that would also activate socio-economic activities on both sides of the border (hunting, fishing, recreation, educational tourism).
The project will provide information support to hunters, fishermen and tourists, and implement a number of small-scale infrastructure-building projects in selected sites. The sustainable nature use models produced within the project will be applied by decision-makers, executive authorities, NGOs, private companies and other project target groups (hunting farms, companies providing fishing, hunting and ecotourism services, PA administrations, local businesses, etc.).
Presentations at the seminar included an introduction of the project, as well as briefs on hunting and fishing development and possibilities offered by landscape-based zoning. Also covered were aspects of developing scientific excursions, learning and ecotourism. The participants were welcomed by KarRC of RAS President Alexandr Titov, Head of the Environment and Water Use Directorate (Republic of Karelia Ministry of Nature Use and Environment) Victor Valdaev, and Project Officer of the Karelia ENPI CBC Programme Petrozavodsk Branch Office Dmitry Bazersky. Representatives of governmental bodies and local administrations, science and educational institutions, NGOs took part in the seminar.
The seminar was organized by Karelian Research Centre of RAS (project Lead Partner). The project partners are KarRC of RAS Institutes of Biology and Forest Research, Muezersky Municipal District Administration, Kostomukshsky Strict Nature Reserve, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and «FutureMissions» Ltd. (Finland), Republic of Karelia Regional PA Directorate, Chjornye Kamni hunting farm, North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Finland).