ASU takes part in research of environmental changes in Siberia

24 March 2017 Faculty of Geography

At the beginning of 2017 Altai State University signed an agreement on establishment of consortium – Siberian Environmental Change Network (SecNet). The participants include 10 leading scientific and educational centers of Siberia: Tomsk State University, Yugra State University, Institute for Water and Environmental Problems of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biological Problems in Cryolithozone of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Institute for Monitoring of Climatic and Ecological Systems of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, V.N. Sukachev Institute of Forest of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Surgut State University, Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture and Peat and Altai State University.

SecNet is an open community of universities, research institutes and other organizations, teams and individuals that are united by a common goal to support sustainable development of the North, including the Arctic, by accumulating experience and knowledge on Siberian environments and society to understand and predict societally important changes so that negative anthropogenic consequences can be minimized. The consortium’s work is aimed at coordination of educational, scientific and industrial organizations’ activity, development of cooperation with governmental authorities and business communities that operate on the territory of Siberia and the Arctic. The function of the Board of Directors of SecNet is entrusted to Tomsk State University. Scientific supervisor is Terence Vincent Callaghan, the British scientist and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

From the scientists’ perspective, the northern territories of the Earth have encountered unprecedented changes of climate, environment and society. Occupying a great part of the Northern hemisphere, Siberia plays an essential role in these processes. Siberian landscapes, including continental shelf, regulate many natural processes on the global scale by having effect on carbon balance and influencing global climate changes. Siberia still remains the most untapped region of our planet and one of the major places for biodiversity conservation. In the historic and ethnographic context, Siberia had been an immense arena for migration and building of different ethnic groups and nations.

At the same time, resource potential of Siberia establishes unique prospects for its social and economic development. The main scientific objective of the network resides in detecting, modeling and forecasting of climate-driven changes of Siberia’s environment in order to provide ecologically friendly management of natural resources, create new materials and technologies for improving people’s quality of life both in and out of the region. Scientific agenda consists of several parts lining up with global challenges, which people have faced: climate changes, water supply deficit, biodiversity conservation, ecologically friendly land use and improvement of the population quality of life and health.

As explained by Vice Head of ASU Laboratory for Geosphere and Biosphere Processes N.F. Kharlamova, in order to solve the above-mentioned scientific challenges the consortium has placed a unique mega-transect on the vast territory of Siberia. It has a developed cluster of field stations for research, monitoring and natural experiments with the length of over 3,000 km from south to north – from Altai Mountains to the Arctic. SecNet is also going to establish an even larger mega-transect with the length of 7,000 km from west to east, which will include the basins of such major rivers as Ob, Yenisei and Lena.

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