Thematic Focus: Resource Efficiency, Harmful Substances and Hazardous Waste,
Disasters and Conflicts,Environmental Governance, and Ecosystem Management
The recent drought and associated fires destroyed 20 per cent of Russia’s wheat crop, which represents a 1.6 per cent decline in the global wheat supply
The Russian meteorological agency has noted that the number of dangerous climate events, including heat waves, has doubled over the past 15 years (InfoRussia EU 2010). Climate change and increased climate variability could make such wildfi res more common and extend their spread (UNEP 2010). Some areas could also continue to dry out, preventing forests from growing back and leading to the encroachment of grasslands, which are more vulnerable to wildfires. New legislation in 2007 making local regions responsible for forest management, and the lack of capacity of these agencies to protect forests and peat lands may have had a role in the fire severity (WWF 2010).
(Gilbert 2010). As a result, Russia froze the export of grain, including wheat, barley, rye and corn, from 15 August to 31 December 2010. Forecasts suggest a 38 per cent decline in the 2010 harvest compared to 2009 (Hernandez and others 2010), with likely implications for food security in some regions.
Gilbert, N. (2010). Russia counts environmental cost of wildfires. Nature News, 12 August. http://www.nature.com/ (Accessed on August 23, 2010)
Hernandez, M., Robles, M., Torero, M. (2010). Fires in Russia, Wheat Production, and Volatile Markets: Reasons to Panic? IFPRI 6 August 2010. http://www.fire.uni-freiburg.de/ (Accessed on August 23, 2010)
InfoRussia EU. (2010). RIS Novosti – Russia may have to import 5 m tons of grain in 2010-2011. InfoRussia EU, 19 August. http://www.inforusia.eu/ (Accessed on August 23, 2010)
NASA. (2010). Smoke over Western Russia : Natural Hazards. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/ (Accessed August 11, 2010).
UNEP. (2010). Russian forest fires pose major threat to bats. UNEP News Centre, 18 August. http://www.unep.org/ (Accessed on August 23, 2010)
WWF. (2010). Wildfires, bad forest laws linked in Russia. WWF News, 2 August. http://www.wwf.ru/ (Accessed on August 23, 2010)