“Eye on the Taiga - How paper industry’s claimed 'sustainable forestry' in Russia is destroying the Great Northern Forest". This is the message of the report released today by Greenpeace after months of investigations, documenting the risks for the intact forests in the Arkhangelsk region and highlights the role of a key number of companies linked with this environmental crime through their supply chains. In the spotlight, the "Arkhangelsk" paper company and the impacts of its massive expansion plans.
The boreal forest landscape that rings the subarctic, also known as the Great Northern Forest, represents nearly one-third of the forest left on Earth. Yet, only 2.8% of the Great Northern Forest is formally protected, compared with 27% of the world’s tropical forest and 11.0% of its temperate forest.
The Great Northern Forest includes nearly half the world’s Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) area. Areas of IFLs are lost when the forest is clearcut, deforested or burnt but also when it is fragmented or degraded, since in the latter cases it ceases to be a continuous area of primary forest and so no longer counts as IFL. Between 2000 and 2013 the rate of IFL loss in the Great Northern Forest was around 2.5 million hectares (ha) per year.
The scale of this crisis in the Great Northern Forest can be judged from fact that this rate of IFL loss was over one-and-a-half times the average annual rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest for most of the same period.
Some 60% of the Great Northern Forest is located in Russia, where it is known as the Taiga. However, in 2013, less than a quarter of the Taiga remained as IFL. The forest is being carved up into ever smaller fragments by industrial exploitation and wildfires.