Green Infrastructure


Steppe biodiversity in Ukraine and Moldova

The Eurasian Steppe is recognized as a unique ecosystem that still exists in Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. It is predominantly grassland, but over the years much has been converted into arable land for intensive agriculture. Unfortunately, many parts of the Eurasian Steppe suffer from soil depletion and degradation, with typical humus levels in the soil decreasing year by year.

The project ‘Enhanced economic and legal tools for steppe biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation (Steppe biodiversity)’ followed in part from the EU-funded project ‘Sustainable integrated land use of Eurasian steppe’, which helped to identify many of the problems and issues facing the steppe land, as well as some opportunities for reversing current trends. The current project built on the findings of the earlier work, identifying key areas that link closely with the aims of the Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, including energy (ENRTP). It is a multifaceted project, dealing with five different steppe systems, so the activities in each were tailor-made, responding to local conditions and how these may change as climate change introduces new challenges to steppe-land management.

The project was implemented in Lugansk and Odessa Kherson oblasts and the Autonomous Republic of Krym in Ukraine, and in the Cahul Region in the Republic of Moldova.


The overall aim of the project was to contribute substantially to efforts within Ukrainian and Moldovan steppe regions in the key areas of:

  • understanding and being prepared to respond to climate change issues, including local adaptation;
  • restoring depleted or abandoned steppe lands, in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner;
  • maintaining and enhancing steppe biodiversity through careful management of land and, where necessary, nature protection (through the establishment of protected areas);
  • supporting the reduction of global CO2 emissions, thus mitigating the impact of climate change, through carbon sequestration in depleted soil and biomass and through the development of local renewable energy sources.

Time frame

The project ran from January 2011 to December 2013.



This project was funded by the European Commission's external aid Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, including energy (ENRTP).