The Fourth International Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Mapping (CAVM) Workshop was held in Moscow, 10-12 April 2001. The leader of the CAVM project is Skip Walker, University of Alaska. The workshop was organised and hosted by Evgeny Melnikov, Natalia Moskalenko and the Earth Cryoshere Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch. Twenty-eight participants from Germany, Iceland, Russia, and the United States took part in this meeting.

The focus was on presentation of integrated vegetation maps for Alaska, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and Russia; presentation of vegetation legends; development of a plan for the final map synthesis (June, 2002); and possibilities for publication. Soils, surficial and bedrock geology, and percent water cover were considered in preparing the map. The International Symposium on Conservation and Transformation of Matter and Energy in Earth Cryoshere was held on 1-4 June 2001, in Pushchino. Approximately 160 scientists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States and others attended the symposium. Russian participants represented 35 different organizations (both academic and industry) from 20 cities. The symposium consisted of seven sessions: 1) Modern microscopic methods for studying microorganisms in permafrost as well as their bio-diversity, metabolic activity at low temperatures, and interaction with unfrozen water; 2) Formation and dynamics of gas hydrates and natural gases including the metastable status of gas hydrates, conditions of formation and evolution of hydrates in ice covers, experimental study of the formation of hydrates of natural gases in the dispersing deposits, and methods of determining physical properties of ground changes due to hydrate formation; 3) Physical and chemical bases of behavior of matter in heterogeneous media; 4) The value of experimental and natural data in our understanding of processes of heat and mass transfer in active layers including the existence of subaerial taliks; 5) Influence of cryogenic processes on morphology and properties of modern soils of tundra and taiga zones; 6) Interaction of various artificial buildings with permafrost, and the pollution of the environment by petroleum and radionuclides; 7) Exchange of matter and energy between land and ocean in the Arctic areas.

The Second Russian Conference on Geocryology was held on 6-8 June 2001, at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The conference attracted 284 participants from 58 scientific, educational and industrial organizations across Russia, and scientists from Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United States. A wide range of problems of modern geocryology was discussed on five sessions: 1) Physicochemistry and mechanics of frozen ground: Among the reports presented were specific topics devoted to the investigation of a genetic nature of durability, new methods of determination of the mechanical characteristics of frozen grounds, gashydrate- containing deposits, and the determination of heat conductivity of large volumes of frozen grounds. 2) Lithogenetic geocryology: Among the reports presented were specific topics on the composition and the structure of cryolithogenic and frozen ground, and the genesis of massive ice sheets of the Arctic cryo-lithozone. 3) Dynamic geocryology: Of 28 reports most attention was given to modern and past, long- and shortterm fluctuations of climate and various methods for forecasting these phenomena. 4) Regional and historical geocryology: The 35 reports were divided into two groups of presentations; actual conditions and theoretical generalisations. 5) Engineering geocryology: the 25 reports covered topics of management of permafrost conditions in developed territories; safety of natural-technical systems; ecology and protection of the environment; new ways in the building on frozen grounds; new building technologies.

A total of 186 reports were submitted, and 103 of these were presented. The conference concluded that the following problems are most urgent in geocryology: 1. Development of the physicochemical theory of mass transfer in the frozen, freezing and thawing grounds, and the development of appropriate mathematical models; 2. Investigation of mass exchange properties of frozen grounds and the electrokinetic phenomena in freezing and frozen grounds; 3. Development of techniques for the determination and study of physicomechanical properties of frozen macrogeoterogenic and detritus grounds; 4. Development of ecologically safe physicochemical methods for the stabilization of frozen ground in order to prevent undesirable exogenous processes and to strengthen foundations; 5. Improvement of methods for palaeo-reconstruction of temperatures of the ground surface and thickness of cryolithozone; 6.Study of interrelations between climate warming and development of destructive processes in cryolithozone; 7. Development of the scientific bases for new construction methods on the frozen grounds; 8. Improvement of engineering protection for the environment and buildings from destructive geocryological processes; 9. Development of the legal regulations of the complex approach to the development of the North and to the creation of a system of ecological safety.

The Conference on the Results of Geocryological Research in Yakutia and Prospects of their Further Development was held 9-11 October 2001, in Yakutsk. This conference was organised by the Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Permafrost Department of the Yakutsk State University (R. M. Kamensky, chair of the organizing committee; A. N. Kurchatova, secretary). Post-graduate students of the Institute and the Department were active participants. Of the 69 submitted reports, 50 were presented (five plenary and 45 in sections). The plenary reports were devoted to summarizing studies of: thermal fields in cryolithozone of Yakutia (V. T. Balobaev); geocryological investigations (V. V. Kunitsky); physico-chemical processes on the migration of elements in the frozen grounds (V. I. Fedoseeva); engineering geocryology (R. M. Kamensky); and mountain geocryology (Batutin,S.A.).The reports were presented in the following five sessions: 1. General and regional geocryology, geocryology and hydrogeology of cryolitozone (co-chairs: V. V. Shepelev and V. V. Kunitsky); 2. Geothermal, thermophysical, geophysical and heat balance researches (co-chairs: V. Y. Balobaev and M. N. Zheleznyak); 3. Geoecological research and problems of rational management of the cryolithozone (co-chairs: V. N. Makarov and M. M. Shats); 4. Engineering-geocryological problems of buildings and engineering structures on the permafrost (cochairs: A,. N. Tseeva and R. V. Chzhan); 5. Development of deposits of minerals in the cryolithozone (co-chairs: S. A. Batugin and G. P. Kuzmin).

Over the past three years, integrated cryolithological- isotopic investigations were undertaken at sites on the Yugorsky, Yamal and Chukotka peninsulas within the framework of the INTAS project. Analyses of isotopes, macro- and micro-elements, and ice petrography are leading to publications on the reconstruction of the origin of tabular ground ice. Six teams from Russian and European institutes participated in the field and laboratory investigations: Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research-Potsdam (H.-W. Hubberten); Earth Cryosphere Institute (M. O. Leibman, A. A. Vasiliev); Lomonosov Moscow State University (I. D. Streletskaya); Shirshov’s Institute of Oceanology (A. Yu. Lein); VNIIO kean-geologia (B. G. Vanshtein); and the Earth Science Center, Gothenborg University, Sweden (O. Ingolfsson and H. Lokranz). The Melnikov Permafrost Institute published four books on permafrost engineering in 2001 in Russian: - V. V. Torgashev. Piles in Conditions of High-temperature Frozen Grounds; - I. E. Gurianov. Beginning of Permafrost Engineering; - G. P. Kuzmin. Underground Structures in the Permafrost Area; - V. I. Makarov et al. City Norilsk (Experience of Construction) The Pushchino conference in 2002 is planned to be held on 12-15 May in honor of the 70th birthday of Evgeny Melnikov.

David Gilichinsky (