At a March 28-29 workshop in Pushkino, Russia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Russian Engineering Academy of Management and Agrobusiness convened Russian and U.S. scientists, Russian government officials, and agribusiness and NGO representatives to address the problem of Black Carbon deposition in the Arctic as a consequence of agricultural burning in Russia. This workshop was a component of USDA’s Black Carbon Initiative project, which is supported through an agreement between the Department of State and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and jointly implemented by three USDA agencies: the Agricultural Research Service, USFS, and FAS. It was also part of a larger, multilateral and multiagency U.S. government program to reduce climate impact in the Arctic from Black Carbon emissions.
Workshop participants noted that agricultural burning in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere is a particularly egregious source of Black Carbon in the Arctic region. The participants reviewed scientific methods and findings during their search to better understand the amount of agricultural burning taking place, when and where most of the burning occurs, and the options most feasible for Russian farmers to burn differently, burn less, or not burn at all. Overall, the workshop was successful in raising awareness of agricultural burning and defining steps to minimize the Black Carbon impact on the Arctic environment. As the Black Carbon Initiative continues through 2012, USDA will continue collaboration with Russian implementing partners to help advance the steps reduce Russia’s agricultural Black Carbon emissions.