Olga Ilina, Russia, Karelian Regional Northern Environmental Coalition:
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2016 Profile: Olga Ilina, Russia
Organization name: Karelian Regional Non-governmental Organization “Northern Environmental Coalition” (Karelian Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK - KRNC SPOK)
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): 186026 Petrozavodsk, Karelskiy prospekt, 16-31
*-Organization full mailing address, if different:
*-Work phone with country and area code: +79602151166
*-Work fax with country and area code:
*-Main email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any: http://spok-karelia.ru/
I'm member (and recently leader) of regional Karelian nature-protection NGO in Russia. Now that I'm a leader of organization and my main task is to promote nature-protection task in interaction with other stakeholders (governmental bodies, forest business, local people and others). I and my colleague Elena are responsible for biological part of SPOK's work, GIS and interaction with stakeholders. We are quite active for almost 20 years in field of protection primeval forest in our region. We work together with other Russian NGOs (Greenpeace, WWF, Transparent World and some regional ones). GIS is important tool which help to interact about nature protection effectively. I want to improve my GIS level and this should help me and my organization go further to protect Karelian primeval forest and make forest-use more sustanible.
describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: I suppose that most unique thing is that we are not only activist we are also professional biologist (not only biologist) that collect, produce and implement data in forest protection. Usually scientific organization only produce data, but not implement. We work much with many stakeholders and try to find ways and decisions suitable for all sides. Such kind of decisions have better chance to become reality. We not only make suggesting, we implement them in practice and verify in field with stakeholders.
Also challenge is that scientific data is not available and applicable for nature use, and we try to move this situation to create free access and applicable data which will help to protect nature and make forest use more sustainable. Also we try to make forest values and forest use more understandable for people. Maps with free access help a lot in this. Also important to make actual maps and we try to track changes and renovate our maps regularly. It helps to show changes in understandable way. I can say that challenge is that we should be very well educated and experienced in different direction, in GIS also. Only in this case we can get reliable reputation to taking into account in decision making according nature use. Also it is necessary to do a lot of work with limited time and other resources. Other challenges are connected with low value of nature and miss of governmental tasks to protect nature. Usually officials are not personally active to protect nature, they just do what are in plans (but plans is quite poor).
describe the work that your current organization does: Karelia (Karelian Republic) is subject of Russian Federation in the North-West, it border with Finland. SPOK is abbreviation from “Northern Environmental Coalition” in Russian. SPOK is NGO, Karelian Regional Nature Conservancy. We are not department of any organization. But I can't say that we are grass-root organization, cause nature protection ideas still are not so popular. We are coalition of biologist and some others who understand values of wild nature and want to work to protect it. The aim of SPOK is to be ministerial to find out, conserve valuable forests and stable forestry in Karelia. Forest is main ecosystem in Karelia, which contain rivers, lakes, mires and swaps. So if we can protect enough forest we will protect great part of nature. Also main threats in Karelia is logging. So that is why we work particular with forest.
SPOK work from 1996. It start as students group and later become an NGO.
During these period SPOK work both as part of common Russian nature-protection NGO movement and itself work to find out low-disturbed forests and to protect them. Organization reached agreements with the largest renters of forests for a moratorium on commercial exploitation of the primeval taiga. Nowadays more than 100 000 of ha of low-disturbed forests in Karelia are being saved according moratoriums.
Under the guidance of SPOK practically all low-disturbed forests are included in the scheduled protected areas (PAs) in Karelia according to the regional land-use planning scheme. SPOK took part in the preparation of argumentation for creating several regional PAs (both federal national park "Ladoga's skerries" and regional "Voinitsa", "Karbozerskoe-Vargachnoe" and others. They all are situated in Karelia).
With a Ministry of forests in Karelia and pulp and paper factories “SPOK” prepared “Methodic recommendations for saving biological variety during cutting operations in the republic of Karelia” , which have become among the first regional methods in Russia to save biological variety during cutting operations.
We work much both with Russian NGOs (Greenpeace, WWF, Transparent World) and with foreign (mainly Scandinavian, but not only - Finnish Society for Nature Conservation, Finnish Nature League, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Protect The Forest, Taiga Rescue Network and others). Also we work with Russian and foreign scientific organizations in nature protection projects and doing analytic work (http://www.transparentworld.ru/ru/environment/oopt/regional/gap/, http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2006/mwp022-en.htm http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2007/mwp056-en.htm, http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2008/mwp087-en.htm and others).
Big part of our GIS work is to prepare maps and other analytic documents about nature use and protection. It is very important because in Karelia (and Russia at all) there is a big gap in such kind information available for public. Using GIS we prepare maps of valuable nature areas, planed and existing PAs, forest rent, ecotrails, maps for new PAs substantiations and many others (http://spok-karelia.ru/?id=3&lang=1, http://spok-karelia.ru/c/medialog/maps/, http://spok-karelia.ru/uploads/f162.pdf)
2016 ABSTRACT "How GIS Helps to protect Karelian Forests"
GIS is an everyday tool which helps to make information understandable. With GIS we show to stakeholders different ways to achieve results in nature protection. We put all information together in GIS and we can estimate most valuable areas, their connections and perspectives to protect.