• 57% percent of world's boreal conifer forest

  • 23% of of the world's forests

  • 11 per cent of the world’s biomass.

  • 25% of Russia's forest are STILL intact.

The taiga forests are made up of mostly normal size and stunted pines, birch, hemlock, spruce, alder and Siberian larch. These are the largest remaining stands of timber in the world. They provide good shelter for black bears, musk deer, squirrels, lemmings, voles, and mice. There are also moose, reindeer, sable, weasels, otter, beaver, lynx, wolves, swans, eagles and other animals.

Since the year 2000 Russia’s forests have declined in size by 45 million hectares, some 6 percent of the country’s total. The shrinking forest cover has been the result of the spread of uncontrolled forest fires (80 percent) as well as increased harvesting (20 percent), much of that for export to China.

Russian taiga forests represent the largest forested region on Earth (approximately 12 million km2), larger than the Amazon. These forests have relatively few tree species, and are composed mainly of birch, pine, spruce, fir, with some deciduous species. Mixed in among the forests are bogs, fens, marshes, shallow lakes, rivers and wetlands, which hold vast amounts of water. They contain more than 57% of the world’s conifers, and 11% of the world’s biomass.

Protection Status

The 1995 Russian federal law defines protected areas as “areas of land and water surface and the air space above them, where natural complexes and objects of special nature conservation, scientific, cultural, aesthetic, and recreational importance are located. These areas are fully or partly withdrawn from economic use on the decision of state authorities, and a special regime of protection is established for them”. Protected areas (both federal and regional) cover around 190 million hectares, or about 11 per cent of the whole territory of Russia.

The Russian national protected area system includes:

• Approximately 100 zapovedniks – strict nature reserves meeting the category 1 criteria of the IUCN classification of protected areas – covering about 330,000 km 2 (about 1.4 per cent of the country’s total area)

• 36 national parks, totaling over 6.8 million hectares

• 69 federal zakazniks, or wildlife refuges

• more than 3,000 regional zakazniks

• more than 10,000 nature monuments, including 28 of federal importance

• more than 40 regional nature parks

• hundreds of other protected areas ranging from a forested area in the middle of Moscow to large tracts of Siberia and the Arctic. These range in size from 2.31 km 2 (570 acres) to 4,692 km 2 (1,876.8 mile 2). The state plans to create 15 new areas by 2010.

Massive carbon storehouse

Thawing permafrost could also potentially increase emissions as a huge amount of carbon stored in Russia’s forests is locked in peat that is currently frozen within the permafrost. Thinning of the permafrost can trigger the release of CO2 and methane, another greenhouse gas 20 times as potent as CO2 . Already, scientists have reported the world’s largest frozen peat bog in western Siberia, is melting. One of nature’s best defenses against climate change, the sudden melting of this million square kilometer bog (the size of France and Germany combined), could unleash billions of tonnes of methane into the atmosphere. The permafrost of the west Siberian peat bog alone is reported to contain 70 billion tonnes of methane a quarter of all the methane stored on the land surface worldwide. If all of it were released, its warming effect would equate to 73 years of current man-made CO2 emissions.


The Komi Forest consists of an area of ​​3.28 million hectares of tundra and mountain tundra in the Urals, and is one of the largest areas of virgin boreal forest in Europe.

The Komi part of the Ural Mountains taiga ecoregion. Dominant tree species include Siberian Spruce, Siberian Fir and Siberian Larch, while the most prominent mammals are the reindeer, more than 40 mammal species, 204 bird species and 16 fish species are in the forest.

The site corresponds to Russia's Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve and Yugyd Va National Park. Its UNESCO World Heritage Site status was recognized in 1995, making it the first natural World Heritage Site in the country. This recognition brought the site additional funding from abroad and saved it from imminent logging. However, conservation threats remain, illegal logging and gold-mining in particular.


Taganay National Park was established in 1991, with its south-western border reaching down to the outskirts of Zlatoust. Total area of the park is about 568 square kilometres (219 sq mi), with the distance of 52 km (32 mi) from north to south and width of about 10–15 km (6.2–9.3 mi).

The vast majority of the park is covered with forests of Siberian spruce, pine, larch, aspen, willow, lime and alder. Over 750 species of plants have been recorded, some of which are listed in the Red Book. This is also home to many animal species, wolves, lynxes, brown bears, martens, moose and otters. The park is also home to about 180 species of birds, 55 species of mammals and 10 species of fish. Some of them are also recorded in the Red Book.