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27.07.2019 | Original Article

Greenhouse gas fluxes and mitigation potential for managed lands in the Russian Federation

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Anna A. Romanovskaya, Vladimir N. Korotkov, Polina D. Polumieva, Alexander A. Trunov, Victoria Yu. Vertyankina, Rodion T. Karaban
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This work aims to assess the dynamics of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals, as well as analyse the mitigation potential for managed lands in Russia, the country’s contributions to global GHG fluxes and global mitigation in agriculture, forestry and other land use required under the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (Paris Agreement). Russia is the fifth-largest GHG emitter in the world, yet information on its ecosystem-based emissions and related mitigation potential remains insufficient. In order to estimate annual GHG emissions and removals, the adapted methodologies and parameters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) methodological reports were applied. Managed land in Russia exhibits a steady trend of increasing net GHG absorption from 1990 to 2016, reaching an absorption value of 553 Mt carbon dioxide (CO2-eq) in 2016 (compensating for about 4.6% of the current global net GHG emission from land use) from a net loss of 343 Mt CO2-eq in 1990 due to the decrease in forest harvesting rates and reduction in the organic and mineral fertilisation of croplands. The results obtained in our work are in accordance with the carbon fluxes (per hectare) of other countries, taking into account similarities and differences in climatic conditions. The total mitigation potential of managed land in Russia is estimated at about 545–940 Mt CO2-eq year−1, which may compensate for an additional 4.5–7.8% of current global net GHG emissions from land use. Major mitigation measures in Russia comprise sustainable land management activities, such as land protection from fires, insect outbreaks and other natural disturbances, the reduction of carbon losses due to harvesting and wood production, the replacement of existing extensive agricultural management with intense farming, the prevention of soil erosion, reforestation and reclamation activities. Our research demonstrates that implementing these activities can provide general insights into land mitigation strategies and affect land management in other countries, particularly in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the global scale mitigation recommendations informed by our study include improved forest management, reforestation, cropland nutrient management and wetland restoration.

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