Conservation of rare, endangered and endemic species of the Baikal region

Conservation of rare, endangered and endemic species of the Baikal region

March 2022 – currently

The Sustainable Development Goals №15 is dedicated to the conservation of land ecosystems. To achieve it, the issues of habitats and biodiversity degradation, poaching should be solved and systems approach for conservation of endangered species should be developed. Nevertheless, according to the 2020 IUCN Red List 2020, 35 765 animal, plant and fungi species are threatened to become extinct. Extinction of any species negatively impacts the whole ecosystem, which this species was part of.

Baikal is famous as habitat for rare animal and plants, more than 50% of Baikal species are endemic, meaning that they live only in the Baikal area. For example, astragalus olchonensis, which grows on the Western bank of Baikal and now faces serious anthropogenic pressure on its habitat. Another example is the Khamar-Daban group of forest subspecies of wild reindeer which inhabits the central part of the Khamar-Daban range. This subspecies is included into Red Lists of the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, numbers are declining.

In Russia, Strategy on conservation of rare and threatened animals and plants exists. However, the strategy mostly is declarative and does not allow to solve urgent challenges, related to the biodiversity degradation, in particular in the Baikal region.

The lack of funding for conservation programs for Baikal endemic and rare species still poses a problem. Existing state funding program are usually dedicated to keeping tracks of numbers, but rarer to monitoring species dynamics and restoration initiatives. Insufficiency and absence of data of populations’ wellbeing, as well as information on habitats and reasons of species’ degradation hinder development of the effective measures on conservation of rare and endemic species, based on scientifically validated data. The issue of launching conservation projects is even more difficult in the Baikal area, if species’ habitat is outside of specially protected natural area. Moreover, the priority in funding distribution is given to animals than to plants.

Considering state of the problem and analysis of the most serious challenges in the sphere of biodiversity conservation in the Baikal region, the Foundation initiates special grant program. The program is aimed at joining efforts of the researchers, specialists and specially protected natural areas for conservation, studying, restoration and support of the wellbeing of the rare and endemic animals and plants. Each species is indicator of lake Baikal state. That is why it is essential to conserve all of them. This initiative will help to develop systems cross-sectoral partnerships, meaning SDG 17 on partnership for the sustainable development.

Goal:

  • to promote the sustainable development of the Baikal ecosystem through the study, conservation and restoration of the unique flora and fauna of the Baikal natural area.

Tasks:

  • to support underfunded research on the wellbeing and numbers of endangered, rare and endemic species of flora and fauna of Baikal;
  • to prepare practical recommendations on the rational and sustainable management and environmental activities for the government authorities at the federal and regional levels, administrations of the specially protected natural areas and scientific community;
  • to raise awareness of the importance of responsible attitude towards unique flora and fauna of the Baikal natural area among tourists and locals;
  • to popularize scientific knowledge about Baikal, its flora and fauna.

Directions of support:

  • restoration and support of wellbeing of species, subspecies and populations of rare, endangered and endemic plants and animals;
  • conservation and restoration of habitats for species, subspecies and populations of rare, endangered and endemic plants and animals;
  • study and monitoring of species, subspecies and populations of rare, endangered and endemic plants and animals.

Geography of the grant program:  

  • The Baikal natural area within protected area and beyond, if there is an appropriate justification.

The study of species selection methodology, as well as the amount of support grants, will be confirmed with expert community. The duration of the project that received support is 1 year with the possibility of extension up to 3 years. 

Documents:



Biodiversity Conservation