Campaigners win huge new nature reserve in Russia

By agency reporter
October 3, 2019

Russia has established one of its largest old-growth nature reserves: a 300,000 hectares area larger than the size of Luxembourg and almost as big as Maryland State in the USA, after two decades of campaigning by Greenpeace Russia and other environmental NGOs.

The Dvinsko-Pinezhsky regional nature reserve, a boreal forest wilderness that has survived for centuries, will be one of the largest in Russia. 

“We’re so happy, that after decades of campaigning, this area will be protected for generations to come and for the good of all our planet. Old-growth forests are essential habitat for many threatened species and essential for mitigating climate change because they accumulate much more carbon than secondary forests”, said Tatiana Khakimulina of Greenpeace Russia.

“We want to acknowledge the Arkhangelsk regional government for working with environmental groups to protect this area and see this as a good starting point for future improvements in the forest management of Arkhangelsk region, where nearly 60 per cent of the Dvinsky forest, as well as many other precious forests, still lack formal protection.”

Today, only 700,000 hectares of the Dvinsky Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) remains. The new reserve will protect around 42 per cent of the remaining IFL, with the other 58 per cent having no formal protection. In 2000, the size of the Dvinsky IFL exceeded 1,150,000 hectares and by 2019, nearly 40 per cent of that area had been fragmented by logging companies.

The Arkhangelsk regional government finally signed an official decree establishing the reserve, following an agreement made on April 19, 2018 between the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Arkhangelsk Region, the relevant logging companies, WWF and Greenpeace.

The nature reserve is important for mitigating the impacts of climate change, as old-growth boreal forests accumulate several times more carbon than secondary forests. Old-growth spruce forests are also capable of retaining and regulating moisture during severe droughts, making them resistant to catastrophic fires.

* Greenpeace International https://www.greenpeace.org/international/

[Ekk/6]

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