Terrestrial Ecosystems - Steppe, Peatlands and Tundra: Carbon Balance Assessment and Management

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Russian Federation together with Wetlands International present outcomes of the studies of terrestrial ecosystems with high carbon content - steppe, peatlands and tundra. Special consideration is given to ongoing greenhouse gas emission assessment and mitigation projects for wetlands and tundra.

Speakers: Victor Blinov (Roshydromet), Jane Madgwick (CEO, Wetlands International), representatives of the Russian Federation government, Wetlands International, academic research institutions and universities.

According to the Russian Federation's March 2013 SBSTA submission (pdf), the Russian tundra stretches over 280 million hectares (16% of the land in the country). Carbon stocks of humus and peat of the soil vary from 100 to 200 tons of carbon per hectare for different types of tundra, and total carbon storages in soils of tundra in Russia exceed 28 gigatons.

Ranking first on the planet by area of peatlands (more than 140 million hectares, and more than 370 million hectares when taking into account waterlogged shallow peaty lands), Russia provides ¼ to ½ of global carbon storages in peatlands. Steppe, grassland, and its anthropogenic modification on chernozems, including fallow and grazing, cover 220 million hectares – these are the most productive ecosystems in temperate latitudes, with 7 to 10 tons of carbon per hectare per year, and total net production exceeding that of northern and southern taiga belt. Natural steppe (about 13% of the country’s territory) stores huge stocks of carbon in chernozems as humus and organic compounds. Carbon stocks in soils of steppe ecosystems in Russia are estimated at 130 gigatons, which is 30% of carbon stocks in soils of Russia.

For more information on Wetlands International Russian Programme, visit its website and Restoring Peatlands in Russia project outline.

Presentations of the speakers you can find here.