WTA Education Services

Connecting Local to Global


Project aims

The main aims of the project were:

· To help conserve the biodiversity of the taiga forest and to raise awareness of its value.

· To create a model that involves local communities in the establishment of sustainable forestry.  

· To raise awareness within the Tomsk region of the social, economic and environmental benefits of taiga forest conservation and sustainable forestry.


Major threats

Tomsk oblast (region) lies almost in the centre of Russia, at the southern edge of the Siberian taiga forest, the world's largest forest. Approximately 62% of the territory of Tomsk Oblast consists of taiga (pine) forest, of which just 6% is undisturbed primary forest. Major threats to the forest include:

· Exploitation for oil and gas.

· Increased logging, both legal and illegal. This of particular concern given overland trade routes to China, with its rapidly increasing demand for timber and other raw materials.

· Uncontrolled fires.

· Lack of infrastructure for sustainable forestry and exploitation of forest products.

· Lack of detailed knowledge of species distribution in Primary and secondary forest areas, for informed management decisions.

· Lack of awareness of forest resources and their relevance to local communities.


Action plans

A group of British and Russian partners produced some of the first detailed action plans for taiga forest in Russia. These have provided models of sustainable forestry use, involving local communities and FSC certification, and would be applicable to all other taiga areas in Russia and elsewhere. There has been an emphasis on high value non-timber forest products, such as pine nuts and other forest fruits, and local crafts such as birch-bark products, which can be harvested or made sustainably by local communities.

The Darwin funding enabled increased ecological monitoring of Primary forest and Red Data Book species.  This had already been carried out on a small scale by staff and students of Tomsk State University, but was limited by budget and expertise.  The British Trust for Ornithology advised on monitoring techniques for forest habitats. Red Data Book species known to occur in the forest prior to the expedition of summer 2005 included:

· Juniper (Juniperus communis) and several shade-dependent wild flowers (Erithronium sibiricum, Calypso bulboso, Cypripedium macranthon), threatened by clear felling.

· Black stork (Ciconia nigra), osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), threatened by felling, disturbance and persecution.

· The butterfly Erebia cyclopia, threatened by unsympathetic management of dry fir forests.

The Darwin Initiative website information on the project can be seen by clicking here.


Click here for information on project partners.

Kaltaiskii Forest

Birch bark being crafted into products for sale

Lake Kirek

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Website updated October 2014.

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Scoping Award Report of the initial visit to the Tomsk Taiga, 2004