The sanctity of the earth’s land, water and air is under severe challenge from many man-made phenomena, including global warming, the spread of disease and contaminants across borders, the despoiling of clean water supplies, destruction of rain forests, and the demand for a higher standard of living from the growing world population. An important and related issue is environmental crime: the illegal harvesting of valuable forest resources; unregulated industrial pollution; the poaching of wildlife; and the illegal construction of roads and structures which destroy natural habitats (flora and fauna.) Environmental crime frequently involves toxic and radioactive materials and can directly harm human health, one of most valuable assets the state may have. Other consequences of environmental crimes include: low life expectancy; contamination of food and water undermining health; lack of proper control of disposable wastes and organized crime operating with a natural resource model, disposing of resources without thought to the future and their replacement
TraCCC funds several grants to Russian consultants on many topics about environmental crime. Some of the past and current research topics include indigenous ethnic minorities living in areas with an abundances of resources, the effects of the illegal agro-chemicals use on the environment, poaching as a form of organized crime, environmental terrorism, and the corruption in environmental licensing and pollution permits.
TraCCC had a joint project with the World Wildlife Fund that funded Aleksei Vaisman, of TRAFFIC–WWF Russia and his colleagues, Sergei Matveichuk and Sergei Min’kov of the Zhitkov Research Institute for Hunting and Animal Husbandry,to produce a first rate 2012 training manual, “The Меrits and Drawbacks of Legal Regulation and the Fight against the Misuse of the Environment and Poaching of Wild Animals,” for use by law enforcement practitioners, scholars and students on the laws that supposedly protect wildlife and the practices used by criminal actors to trap (and often kill) wildlife for nefarious purposes. Russian laws on poaching are scrutinized and suggestions for improvement are made in the first part of the manual. Methods for locating, documenting and investigating poaching crimes are analyzed in the second half.
In May of 2010, TraCCC hosted a Russian Delegation through the Open World Program which focused on Environmental Crimes. The delegation held a Panel entitled, “Environmental Crimes and Resource Protection in Russia.” Anatoly Kabanets, Coordinator of Forest Projects with the World Wildlife Fund presented on “Experience in Countering Illegal Logging in Primorskii Krai.” Gennady Zherebkin, Legal Adviser for the World Wildlife Federation Russia, Amur Branch presented on, “Ecological Crime in Primorskii Krai.”