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Why Russia’s extensive boreal forests can contribute to a greener world

Did you know that Russia has 80% of Europe’s forests? The EU refers to the Russian forests as the “green lungs of Europe”. And Brussels keeps an eye on how we’re protecting them. It also periodically puts forward new demands for ecological safeguards for managing them and for preserving biodiversity.

Because these boreal forests are the largest in the world, they’re uniquely placed to solve the major ecological, economic and social problems of our century---how to stabilize climate change, how to protect watersheds, how to conserve habitats, and how to maintain the supply of forest resources and products.

Unfortunately, Russia will not have an easy time transitioning to a green economy. Many of you will already know that we are burdened with long-standing domestic problems. We have cumulative environmental damage, especially in the industrialized regions of the extreme north of European Russia, Siberia and the Far East. We also have depopulated areas in Siberia and the Far East; and we have lost much of our previously created scientific and technological potential.