Project UNDP/GEF Improving the Coverage and Management Efficiency of Protected Areas in the Steppe Biome of Russia
ПРООН ГЭФ Минприроды России
This website was created and is supported by the UNDP / GEF / Ministry of Russia project "Improving the coverage and management efficiency of protected areas in the steppe biome of Russia"


Project “Improving the Coverage and Management Efficiency of Protected Areas in the Steppe Biome of Russia”

First large international project in Russia aimed specifically at securing the long-term conservation of Russia’s steppe biological diversity.

The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF); initiated, designed and implemented via the by the UNDP in the Russian Federation according to the Naitonal Execution modality with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation (MNER) acting as a national implementing agency.

Programme Period The project was approved by the GEF Council in November 2009, it is designed for 5 years
Start date May 2010
End date December 2015
Project objective To develop the capacity and ecologically based enabling tools and mechanisms for the consolidation, expansion and disturbance based integrated management of a system of protected natural areas at the landscape level within the steppe biome of Russia
Budget and Source of Funds US $ 5,304,545 (GEF; UNDP)

The Project is based on the 4 pilot regions and 4 SSNT (zapovedniks):

  • Kursk Region – State Central Chernozem Biosphere Zapovednik (ССZ). In 1978 it was included in the system of biosphere reserves of the global net UNESCO. Core: 6 plots of 5287 ha, buffer zone: 28 662 ha.
  • Republic of Kalmykia – State Biosphere Zapovednik “Chernye Zemli” (CZZ). In 1993 it was included in the system of biosphere reserves of the global net UNESCO. Core: 2 plots of 121 482 ha, buffer zone: 91 170 ha.
  • Orenburg Region – Orenburg State Nature Zapovednik (OZ). Core: 4 plots of 21 653 ha, buffer zone: 12 208 ha.
  • Zabaikalsky Krai (Daurian steppes) – Daursky State Biosphere Zapovednik (DZ). It was included in the system of biosphere reserves of the global net UNESCO since 1997 and in the China-Mongolia-Russian «Dauria» International Protected Area (CMR DIPA) since 1994. Core: 9 plots of 45 790 ha, buffer zone: 163 530 ha.

The three main Components of the Project are:

Consolidation and expansion of the system of steppe protected areas (SPA); US$ 6.660.000 (GEF US $1 560 000; co-financing: US $5 100 000).

Strengthened operational management capacities for PA site management US $6 450 000 (GEF US $1 650 000; co-financing: US $4 800 000).

Strengthened institutional management capacities for managing an expanded PA system (US$ 5 064 545; GEF: US$1 564 545; co-financing: US$ 3 500 000).

Indicators at the level of Objective

General project indicators

  • 867 400 ha of newly protected or consolidated steppe area within SPA network.
  • Indirect impact on improved management effectiveness in 1.9 million hectares of SPA. The Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) Scores of all federal steppe protected areas (SPA): increasing in estimates by 40-50%.
  • Stable or growing populations of indicator species of plants and animals.

Indicator species

  • Feather Grass (CCZ)
  • Adonis vernalis (CCZ)
  • Little Bustard (CZZ, OZ)
  • Steppe Eagle (all-over except CCZ)
  • Saiga antelope (CZZ)
  • Mongolian gazelle (DZ)
  • Steppe cat / Manul (DZ)

Indicators on the Component 1: Consolidate and expand the system of PA in the steppe biome.

  • Total area created SPA and area of SPA in the process of establishment.
  • Total area/share of regional-level SPA processed correctly documented per the Land Code: not less than 723 000 ha.
  • Total area of steppe ecosystems conserved under contractual conditions or other obligations without direct government involvement: not less than 36 000 ha.
  • The number of possessors of landownership rights that have undertaken voluntary obligations to conserve steppe sites: not less than 5.
  • The number of draft regulatory acts submitted to a legislative branch and the number of standard-setting initiatives formally entered on govenmental agenda: not less than 4.

Indicators on the Component 2: Strengthen the operational management capacities for PA site management in the steppe biome.

  • Direct impact on improved effectiveness in pilot sites = improved management in 489,782 ha through METT Score.
  • The number of integrated fire management plan adopted by the SPA – 4 +3.
  • Reduction in area swept by ecologically & economically destructive grassland fires within pilot PA during hazardous seasons April/May– Sept/Oct. – 50%.
  • The number of SPA incorporating sustainable grazing best practice into their management regime for steppe areas – not less than 2.
  • The total area involved in rehabilitation and restoration activities in / around SPA – 10 000 ha.

Indicators on the Component 3: Develop the institutional capacities for managing an expanded system of PA in the steppe biome.

  • The number/ share of the SPA with management regime updated to include steppe ecosystem conservation priorities – 7 PA.
  • Potential assessment of the SPA – formal assessment.
  • Percentage of SPA staff understanding of key steppe issues after training under the project – not less than 25% trained.
  • Size of circulation for key steppe conservation such as Steppe Bulletin – not less than 2000 addresses.

Project Outputs

Component 1

1.1. Steppe Landscape Conservation Plan (SLCP) for Consolidating and Expanding the SPA network.

1.2. Steppe Protected Area Expansion Strategy and Implementation Plan.

1.3. Steppe Protected Areas establishment and consolidation process completed.

1.4. Strengthening the institutional capacities for coordinating and implementing the SLCP.

Component 2

2.1. Integrated fire management plan adopted by the SPA.

2.2. Cost effectiveness of different rehabilitation and restoration measures for grassland habitats tested and best practices documented.

2.3. Species management and conservation plans for key endemic grassland species.

2.4. PA staff competence levels cover key skills required for the operational management of SPA.

2.5. The NGO-operation of a new type of SPA is tested and best practices captured.

Component 3

3.1. Capacities for co-management of SPA are developed and strengthened through training and the development co-management frameworks.

3.2. Collaborative, steppe-specific SPA management plans.

3.3. Collaborative agreements between SPA and other sectoral government agencies.

3.4. Collaborative steppe conservation agreements developed or improved and implemented in transboundary areas.

3.5. National SPA knowledge management and development program.

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