Saturday, January 3, 2009


Dear readers,
This first post’s role is to present my project: its objectives and scope, background information, and more precisions on the planned trip.

1. Show case the ecological threat of species extinctions through the example of fur trade.
2. Discover in depth Russia, its language, culture, and geography.

- Travel through Russia for 4 months, following the main fur trade centers from Vladivostok to Novgorod, presenting every region through the history and situation of an endangered specie part of the official IUCN Red List:, starting with the Siberian tiger during my stay in Vladivostok and the natural reserve of Sikhote Alin.
- Take part in an ecological project at Baikal Lake in March, with Great Baikal Trail team, working on the design of a website for cooperation between the eco-tourism clubs of 15 local schools:

1. Why species extinctions?
The 2005 Millenium Ecosystem Assessment forecasts the extinction by 2100 of 12% of birds, 25% of mammals, 32% of amphibians, and one third of conifers. And we know how important species, or more generally biodiversity, are to:
- Help adapt to environmental changes using knowledge on genetic diversity,
- Supply nourishing products from under-exploited species,
- Provide raw materials including natural medicine like scrub mint that is proven to contain an antifungal agent and a natural insecticide,
- Preserve ecosystems, e.g. with the phytoplankton in the ocean absorbing CO2,
- Continue building immaterial wealth like knowledge and culture.

2. Why Russia?
Anyone has heard the peasants' chorus in the first act of Piotr Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, has been moved by the classic realism of forgotten literature Nobel Price Ivan Bounine, or has admired one of Kramskoy's portraits at the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow, understands what brought me to be interested in the Federation of Russia.

3. Why the fur trade?
After having read many sources on the multi-faceted Russian culture, I discovered the stories of these fur dealers, who were travelling thousands of kilometers to hunt and sell their goods. What better way to discover Russia than by following their footsteps through Oural, Siberia and the Far East.

Visualization of the planned trip

Planned timetable