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The Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy (SPOK)


The Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK was established on November 10, 1996, as the Petrozavodsk State University Nature Conservancy Corps, later becoming The Karelia Collegiate Nature Conservancy (ROO SPOK), a regional NGO. It was legally registered in Petrozavodsk (Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation) on February 14, 2001.

Currently, there are 11 employees working at SPOK, and a number of concerned citizens regularly volunteer in the activities of the organization.


ROO SPOK promotes the preservation of valuable forests, sustainable forest management, and public support for preserving biodiversity.


  • The Administration Department maintains the organization’s records and provides administrative and logistical support.
  • The Forest Department promotes responsible forest use, the preservation of the intact forests and valuable natural resources of the Republic of Karelia, as well as sustainable management of the forests of the Petrozavodsk Municipal District and the preservation of a favorable urban environment by identifying and preserving valuable natural and recreational areas in the forests of the Petrozavodsk Municipal District.

  • The Office of Public Affairs handles SPOK’s public‑awareness program to promote the preservation of valuable forests and ecologically responsible forest use.

Main accomplishments (1996-2009):

  1. SPOK participated in identifying of all main stands of intact forests in the Republic of Karelia and helped to prove scientifically their ecological value.

  2. We fulfilled the analysis of restrictions on forest use in the Specially Protected Natural Areas (SPNA) and intact forests of the Republic of Karelia, the Vologda Oblast, and the Arkhangelsk Oblast.
  3. Cooperation with the forest industries operating within the Republic of Karelia was established. As a result, 250,000 hectares of intact forests (1.4% within Karelia) under lease to businesses were voluntarily preserved. Agreements to preserve intact forests were made with “Investlesprom” Holding, JSC “Karellesprom”, “Swedwood” Ltd, JSC “Pyaozersky lespromkhoz”, JSC “Ladenso”, and others.
  4. Through SPOK’s efforts, practically all identified intact forests were included in the official “Scheme of Land-Use Plan for the Republic of Karelia” as planned SPNA.
  5. We have worked out scientifical documentation for establishment of 3 new Special Protected Natural Areas.
  6. We elaborated the project of borders and functional zoning for the planned national park “Ladoga skerries” on request of “Rosgiproles” (Russian Research and Development Institute for Forest Management).
  7. In cooperation with the Ministry of Forest Industry of Karelia and private forest companies we worked out “Guidelines for biodiversity conservation during logging operations in Karelia”. The manual became one of the first regional methodologies for forests preservation in felling areas.
  8. Our experts organize practical trainings in key habitats conservation for forest industry companies since 2007.
  9. SPOK participated in organization of regional public movement “Zaonezhie”, that works for preservation of natural and cultural heritage of Onego lake region (Medvezhiegorsk region), and establishment of special protected nature area there.

Plans for 2009–2011:

  1. To take part in elaboration of the concept, strategy and action plan of the regional SPNA development in the Republic of Karelia.
  2. To develop methodologies for identification and preservation of valuable forests.
  3. To contribute to new SPNA establishment.
  4. To participate in elaboration of methodologies for sustainable forest use.
  5. Contribute to ecologically responsible forest use and management in Karelia and Petrozavodsk.

Main accomplishments in 2011

  • One of the main accomplishments of ROO SPOK in the past year was developing proposals for managing five Specially Protected Natural Areas (SPNAs) with regional significance: the Polyarnyi Krug Scenic Reserve (Loukhsky Region), the Kuzova Scenic Reserve (Kemsky Region), the Muromsky Scenic Reserve (Pudozhsky Region), the Zaozersky Scenic Reserve (Prionezhsky Region, Petrozavodsk municipal district), and the Chelmuzhskaya Kosa Natural Monument (Medvezhegorsky Region).
  • With SPOK’s participation, a regional SPNA Administration was created, and one new Specially Protected Natural Area, the Vottovarra Natural Monument, was created in Karelia.
  • In 2011 ROO SPOK filmed the first documentary about the ecology and structure of the intact taiga forests, The Disappearing Taiga. (At the end of the year, the organization won the EcoWorld National Environmental Award for this film in the Environmental Policy category.) Additionally, during an expedition into the forests of northern Sweden and Finland, staff members from ROO SPOK filmed a documentary entitled Intensive Forest Use in Scandanavia.
  • Last year the Karelia Forest Portal was created and launched as a forum for dialog between government authorities, forest companies, and the public.
  • Under municipal contracts with the Petrozavodsk Municipal District Administration’s Commission for Health, Ecology, and Social Development, ROO SPOK analyzed the landscape between the residential districts of Drevlyanka and Kukkovka in the floodplain of the Lososinka River and compiled and recorded data from a detailed study of public‑use green space–the natural recreational area bounded by Pitkyarantskaya Street, Torneva Street, Rovio Street, and Karelsky Prospekt. ROO SPOK staff members also took part in the commission’s study of the landscaped areas in the Petrozavodsk Municipal District.
  • Additionally, last year a Gap Analysis of the valuable natural areas in northwest Russia was completed and
    Conserving Valuable Natural Areas in Northwest Russia: Analysis of the SPNA Network in the Arkhangelsk, Vologoda, Leningrad, and Murmansk Oblasts, the Republic of Karelia, and the city of St. Petersburg (multiple authors, edited by K. N. Kobyakov, St. Petersburg, 2011) was published.

Objectives for 2012

  • Preserving intact forests by transferring them from planned SPNAs to existing SPNAs
  • Preserving valuable forests outside of the SPNA network
  • Including existing and planned SPNAs in the regional economy and encouraging the local community to become involved in managing the SPNAs
  • Encouraging sustainable forest management (optimizing intensive forest use, bioenergetics, etc.).
  • Promoting conservation biology
  • Developing forest utility services