An EU/CoE Joint Programme of identification of potential Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCI) of the Emerald Network in the European part of the Russian Federation identified about 28,3 mln hectares of areas which could become part of the Emerald Network.
The Emerald Network helps to identify and conserve core areas of the Pan-European Ecological Network and facilitates the establishment of national networks of protected areas. A joint programme between the Council of Europe and the European Union was launched in 2009, for a period of three years, in order to develop the Emerald Network in seven countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the European part of the Russian Federation.
During the project implementation period (2009-2011), 740 potential Emerald sites were identified in the European part of Russia. They are distributed among the site types as follows:
- 4 potential ASCIs of the type A (important for bird species);
- 232 potential ASCIs of the type B (important for other species or habitats);
- 504 potential ASCIs of the type C (important for birds and other species or habitats);
There are examples of 89 habitat types of European importance in the identified ASCIs out of 95 occurring in European Russia. The information was entered in the Emerald Database relying as a rule on expert judgement, since there is no previous data. Based on the results, proposals for additions to the list of habitat types and species of European importance (Bern Convention Resolution No.4 (1996) on threatened habitat types and Resolution No. 6(1998) on threatened species) were prepared.
Set up under the Bern Convention, the Emerald Network started operating in 1996 with a view to supplement the Natura 2000 Network. The implementation of the Emerald Network represents a tool for preparing the target countries to comply with internationally agreed commitments, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Bern Convention, and the Habitats Directive (for accession countries).
For more information on the Emerald Network consult the Council of Europe (Bern Convention) webpage.
A video presenting the results of the EU/CoE Joint Programme in all seven targeted countries can be seen here.