The Status of Biological Research in the Russian Arctic

  • Stephen R. Johnson
  • Sergei B. Yazvenko
  • Yurij Yu. Dgebuadze
  • Evgeny A. Kriksunov
Keywords: Research, Science, Biology, Economic conditions, Social conditions, Research funding, Government, Pollution, Animal population, Animal distribution, Sustainable economic development, Biological productivity, Wildlife management, Natural area preservation, Endangered species, Reclamation, Environmental impacts, Fish management, Subsistence, Native peoples, Oil spills, Research stations, Parks, Environmental protection, Russian Arctic


... Research and the protection of nature in the Russian Arctic traditionally were carried out in the system of state nature reserves (Zapovedniks) and biological stations. As mentioned earlier, Russian state support of nature reserves and national parks has declined dramatically in recent years. Nevertheless, 11 Nature reserves currently exist in the Russian Arctic. Some of these reserves were recently established with financial support from the German and Dutch governments and international organisms such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Through these and other cooperative ventures over the past six years, protected areas in the Russian Arctic have doubled in size to over 350,000 sq km. In spite of the recent economic and political difficulties in Russia, there are many examples of successful international cooperative and collaborative scientific ventures in the Russian Arctic. ... In summary, the levels of cooperation and collaboration between Russian and foreign scientists specializing in Arctic research over the past decade have been impressive. However, as Russia struggles with internal political and economic issues over the coming years, we need to maintain existing avenues of communication and continue to offer international support. The Arctic is an important region that offers a unique opportunity for cooperative and comparative research, in part because it is subdivided among different countries (i.e., study areas) in the eastern and western hemispheres, each supporting some similar and some unique natural biological and cultural systems. The Arctic, and especially the Russian Arctic, deserves our best efforts in understanding and conserving it.
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