Vadim Gennadievich, is the carbon farm in the Sakhalin region really the first such project not only in the Far East, but also in Russia?
Vadim Moskvichev: This is true, and here it is important to understand what exactly he is the first in. There are forest climate projects in the Russian Federation, but they are more related to the preservation of existing forests from deforestation, fires and various pathologies. We are dedicated to forest cultivation, and in those territories where there was no forest for more than ten years. Such projects are the most attractive, including for our foreign partners, because there are no doubts about their real benefits and functionalities. In this case, the validity of carbon credits is exactly the same as that of renewable energy.
You work in the Khabarovsk Territory, however, it was decided to create the first carbon farm in the Sakhalin region. Because?
Vadim Moskvichev: We considered several sites, including in Primorye, where the climatic conditions of the forest are better, and in the Khabarovsk Territory, where it would really be more convenient for us to start based on the logistics and costs of exploring new territories. But the status of the Sakhalin Oblast as a pioneer, pilot of federal importance in the climate agenda, determined the location of the project. The region turned out to be ready in terms of legislation and competence of the government team, and we – in terms of technology.
So that it is understood: previous forest climate projects on Sakhalin assumed, for example, planting along pipelines, however, swamps, mari, etc. were not considered. We said we can use those territories. In addition, they demonstrated it by making test plantations on 60 hectares. This year, the area was measured – it turned out that the buds on the trees were swollen, everything is growing, that is, there is already a positive practice.
What area is allocated to create a carbon farm on Sakhalin?
Vadim Moskvichev: Six thousand hectares. Over 50 years, the project will produce approximately two million carbon units, two million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. These are the calculated figures. Of course, a lot depends on the climate, the survival rate of plants.
How many trees will be planted in all?
Vadim Moskvichev: There are 3.5 thousand plants per hectare. Overall, in the next four years we plan to plant more than 21 million seedlings.
This will be the Daurian larch, a species that forms forests for Sakhalin. That is, a real forest will appear. After all, it is important not only to fix carbon, but also not to release it into the atmosphere as a result of combustion or decomposition. Therefore, now it is necessary to consider the future fate of the forest. It is desirable that the wood in the future be used for the construction of houses, the creation of building materials and sawing, that is, it is fixed for as long as possible. And the process of preparation, processing in this case is very important.
When will the project be released?
Vadim Moskvichev: At the moment, conciliation procedures with Rosleskhoz are being completed in terms of concluding a main agreement on implementation. With the government of the Sakhalin region, all the nuances of the regulatory framework have been worked out and a project reporting and documentation block has been formed. In the near future, we will determine the terms of the signing, after which we will go through the stage of registration of carbon units at the Kontur company and enter the EEF-2023 with a ready and packaged project in legal terms.
Planting will begin this year: in the fall it is planned to plant about 100 hectares, in the next stage 400, and then reach a thousand. The six thousand hectares will be planted in four years.
What is the economic component of the project?
Vadim Moskvichev: We have calculated our capabilities and determined that for the first two years we will be able to carry out the work on our own. We want to show the survival rate, efficiency, legal component, which fully complies with the regulatory framework. During this time, we plan to obtain international accreditation, that is, register the project in the register of international carbon units. And already in this state we will look for partners.
Large companies have taken an active interest in the subject. After all, now that the Asia-Pacific market is becoming more “green”, there is cross-border carbon regulation. Of course, companies begin to study processes, look for operators with real experience, their nurseries, technologies.
Carbon farm: a territory created for the purpose of depositing (binding) carbon dioxide and having measurable data on the volume absorbed
When the Asian market is strictly regulated and mandatory emission quotas with penalties start in Russia, the demand for carbon credits will increase many times. And long-term intensive projects related to forest cultivation will play an important role. That is why we are now actively considering new sites for the location of such projects. The next stage is, of course, the Khabarovsk Territory.
What is planned to be done in this region?
Vadim Moskvichev: In April, a working meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Economic Development of the Khabarovsk Territory, Viktor Kalashnikov. We reviewed the characteristics of our forest climate project on Sakhalin, as well as the preparation of a roadmap for Khabarovsk Krai to enter the carbon regulation experiment by 2026. It was determined that the Vanino forestry center will prepare a suitable project. It will be larger than the one on Sakhalin – about ten thousand hectares.
In the summer, we will carry out the selection of the area, we will study the soils, the necessary approvals of the forests, we will determine the logistics and already at the beginning of 2024 we will start working with validators, registrars.
The government of the Khabarovsk Territory has taken an active position and is rapidly accumulating powers, even taking into account the Sakhalin experience. We are cooperating very productively with the regional Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Forestry, where a person responsible for a number of issues related to the selection of areas and the necessary approvals has already been identified.
What advantages, besides the obvious ones, will the Khabarovsk Territory receive from the implementation of the project?
Vadim Moskvichev: It is planned to use the roadside areas that have not been covered with forests for more than ten years. These measures will also reduce the risk of fire. Every year, as part of the project, we will make protective strips, gaps, and the densely planted larch itself is a barrier to the spread of fire.
The Khabarovsk Territory will receive an additional impetus for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, new types of activities related to the harvesting and processing of wild plants and medicinal herbs will appear. In turn, this will create additional jobs in small settlements in the region.
I repeat, the Khabarovsk Territory, represented by the government, is very interested in this. Already today changes to the regional forestry plan are required, and work is underway, which is confirmed by the Forestry Ministry.
A powerful center of competence has been formed in the region – the Forest Protection Center with its laboratory, DalNIILKh, Dallesproekt. Such a synergy of efforts of people on earth, the scientific community, authorities and supervisory bodies makes it possible to work effectively and achieve results.
Will other regions of the country be able to take advantage of your experience?
Vadim Moskvichev: Our team of experts participates in the All-Russian competition “Solid Ideas for New Times” organized by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. The community of experts not only highly appreciated our project, but, which is very important, confirmed the possibility of scaling this model to the territory of not only the Far East, but all of Russia.
The Sakhalin region and the Khabarovsk Territory were the first in the country to start the carbon relay race, and our experience will be an example for other regions.