Map of Russia

At 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with over 144 million people at the end of March 2016. The European western part of the country is much more populated and urbanised than the eastern; about 77% of the population live in European Russia. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. There are 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia, 40 UNESCO biosphere reserves, 41 national parks and 101 nature reserves. Most of Russia consists of vast stretches of plains that are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast. Russia has a wide natural resource base, including major deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal, ores and other mineral resources. Russia possesses 10% of the world's arable land. Russia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. Its lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's liquid fresh water. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake. Baikal alone contains over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water. From north to south the East European Plain has sequentially Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but is largely taiga. Russia has the world's largest forest reserves, known as "the lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs. There are 266 mammal species and 780 bird species in Russia. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
1,637,687,000 hectares
Area of forest
49.8% of land area
Area of agriculture
13.3% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
0.1% of land area


144.1 million
Population growth
0.2% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP from agriculture
GDP per person
9092.60 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
12.50 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
12,972,400 hectares
Sixth National Communication to the UNFCCC (in Russian) (2014)
  • State program of the Russian Federation & Development of Forestry Economy 2013 – 2020
    • Provides for the implementation of measures to maintain the balance of logging and loss of forests from fires, pests and diseases with the pace of reforestation.
    • Optimize the reproduction of forests provided for the maximum use of their natural reproductive capacity
    • Intensification of activities to promote natural regeneration
    • Production of forest crops in clearings
    • Creation of highly productive forest plantations on forest lands vacant and unused agricultural land
    • Increase the volume of work on afforestation on non-forest lands, especially in the southern (sparsely forested) regions of the country
    • Set up environmentally sustainable productive agroforestry landscapes in sparsely wooded and treeless areas
    • Implementation of the planned measures intended to ensure not only the adaptation of the forest sector to the ongoing climate change, but will also help increase the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Summary of climate-oriented policies and measures in the agricultural and forestry sectors of the Russian Federation (Table 4.9.2)
    • State program of the Russian Federation: Development of Forestry Sector 2013 – 2020
      • Goal: Ensuring a balance between reforestation and logging, and diminution of the fires, pests and diseases. Optimization of reforestation. Afforestation on non-forest lands and the creation of environmentally sustainable agro-forestry landscapes in the treeless and sparsely wooded areas.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
CBD 5th National Report (in Russian) (2014)
  • National targets for biodiversity conservation
    • National target for Aichi Target 7: By 2020, at least 50% of the operational and protective forests under sustainable forest management, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
  • Preliminary data on the performance of the Russian Federation a number of global Aichi targets.
    • Target 7: In terms of forest management by 2014, starting in 2010, the area of ​​forest certified by the FSC system in Russia has increased from 25 to 38 million hectares, accounting for about 20% of all forests leased.
  • English Summary:
On the Environmental Situation in the Russian Federation in 2014 (in Russian) (2014)
  • As Russia has still not ratified Nagoya Protocol to the Convention, it is currently only making the review of legislation, facilitating genetic diversity conservation.
United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Restoration target
841,000 hectares
Voluntary National Report to the 1th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (2014)
  • Does your government’s national forest policy/strategy or national forest programme contain time-bound or quantified targets related to the forest area? YES
    • Describe: The State Programme of the Russian Federation on the Forest Sector Development, 2013-2020: ensuring at all the stages of the implementation of the programme (until end of 2020) that 46.6% of the territory is covered by forests
  • Since 2007, what activities has your government undertaken to reverse the loss of forest cover and/or to enhance the area and quality of forests?
    • Reforestation: 841,000 ha
    • Restoration: Yes (no hectares specified)
    • New legislation and actions aimed at conservation and protection of forests
  • UNFF10 – no submission
  • UNFF9 – no submission
Other (National Strategies and Plans, Rural Development Programs, Natura 2000 areas, projects, and goals)
Restoration target
12,131,400 hectares
Principles of the state policy on environmental development of the Russian Federation for the period till 2030 (2012)
  • *Unofficial English Translation
  • Main tasks of State policy in the area of environmental development
    • The achievement of the strategic goal of State policy in the area of environmental development is ensured by the realization of the following main tasks:
      • Including: recovery of affected natural ecological systems 
  • Main mechanisms of realization of the State policy in the area of environmental development
    • In addressing the task of rehabilitation of disturbed natural ecological systems the following mechanisms are used:
      • Conservation and restoration of protective and habitat-forming functions of natural ecosystems outside protected areas.
The government's policy on the use, protection and reproduction of forests in the Russian Federation for the period till 2030 (in Russian) (2013)
  • In addressing the problem of increasing productivity and improving the species composition of forests on lands provided for various purposes:
    • Development of regional standards for reforestation;
    • Implementation of technical modernization of reforestation;
    • Development and implementation of financial and economic mechanisms to encourage reforestation and afforestation to ensure the continuity of forests and enhancement of forest areas in the sparsely wooded areas;
    • The development and adoption of protective afforestation strategy in the Russian Federation;
    • Development and implementation of a set of research, design and production measures for the maintenance and preservation of existing and creation of new state shelterbelts and protective forest plantations;
    • Development of regional programs for protective afforestation, providing resource support work at the expense of subjects of the Russian Federation and the agricultural producers.
Strategy of the Forest Sector Development in the Russian Federation until 2020 (2008)
  • Adopted by the order of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation on October 31, 2008 No 248/482.
  • The cumulative target value for 2016-2020:
    • Reforestation: 1,000,000 ha
    • Natural Regeneration: 4,000,000 ha 
  • Combined Natural Regeneration and Planted Forests: 8,745,000 ha (2012-2020)
    • Planted Forest (Reforestation): 1,703,850 ha (2012-2020)
    • Natural Regeneration: 7,041,150 ha (2012-2020) 
  • Biodiversity conservation activities are aimed at maintaining and restoring the diversity and sustainability of the forests to the level which is needed to maintain the self-regulation ability of forest ecosystems and to compensate for the consequences of natural calamities and anthropogenic impact. Such activities will help to:
    • Preserve natural intact (virgin) forest ecosystems and restore forest landscapes
    • Mainstream up-to- date biodiversity conservation approaches into forest use practices (to prevent illegal cutting of endangered and high-value tree species, mitigate the risk for forests from industrial and energy-generating facilities, rehabilitate contaminated/polluted forest areas and take other measures)
    • Improve the methods for biodiversity conservation monitoring. The FFA has established region-specific optimal levels (benchmarks) for the forest cover and area of protection forests, and is developing region-specific indicators for forest biodiversity assessment.
State programme: Forestry Sector Development, 2013-2020 (2012)
  • Four subprograms including one for ‘reforestation’
  • The state programme addresses the following key tasks including ‘ensuring balance between forest loss and reforestation’
  • Programme’s target indicators include 100,000 ha of plantations of quick-growing forest
  • Main measures of programme aimed at creating favourable socioeconomic conditions include conducting reforestation and forest cultivation
  • Expected results of the programme include ‘Preserving wooded areas of Russia at 46.6%
The State Complex Program on Biotechnologies development until 2020 in the Russian Federation (in Russian) (2012)
  • Adopted by the Order of the Head of the Government of the Russian Federation on April 24, 2012 №ВП-П8- 2322 substantiates the abovementioned Programme on the Forest sector development
  • Target indicator of 100,000 ha of plantations of quick-growing forest will be facilitated by development of the relevant technologies and management approaches. (Appendix 3, pg. 84)
State programme: Environmental Protection, 2012-2020 (2012)
  • One key objective is ‘preserve and restore the biological diversity in Russia’
Strategy of development of protection forest breeding in the Russian Federation for the period until 2020 (in Russian) (2012)
  • Adopted at the Scientific-Technical Council of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency on February 21, 2012.
  • Priorities
    • The area of protection forests will be approximately doubled in the country by 2020
    • The highest priority will be given to anti-erosion and water protection forests.
    • One of the key priorities – restoration of forest strips in the steppe and forest-steppe zones.
    • Development of economic and landscape-environmental methodologies for protection forest breeding.
    • Agroforestry: 1,903,000 ha
    • Watersheds: 2,108,000 ha
  • Strategy of Protective Afforestation in the Russian Federation until 2020 
    • Acronyms: Protective forest plantations (ZLN) & Shelter belts (PZLP)
    • Strategic Development Framework protective afforestation in Russia
    • The purpose and objectives of protective afforestation (pg. 15)
    • Section 5: Scientific substantiation of the scope and volume of forest reclamation works
  • Environmental situation in agroforestry land fund necessitates the predominance of anti-erosion plantations destination. The need for them is about 3 million. Ha in the presence of 1 million. Ha. Shelter belts (PZLP) are designed to protect the fields and other arable land by adverse climatic factors of the environment, industrial and other anthropogenic pollution. (pg. 17)
  • The total demand for PZLP is about 2.5 million. Ha. In view of the existing plants for allocation of arable land under them will be about 1.2 million. Ha, of which 1 million. Hectares of sloping lands (PZLP flow control), 0.2 million. Ha of irrigated arable land. (pg. 17) 
  • The need for protective forests by Federal Districts and by region (pg 36)
    • Shelter belt forests: 1,306,300 ha (strips in the fields) -- Agroforestry
    • Protective forests on pastures: 682,600 ha (strips in arid pastures) – Agroforestry
    • Anti-erosion forests: 1,988,300 ha -- watersheds
    • Bottomland forests: 150,200 ha -- watersheds
Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects
4795: ARCTIC: Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) for Major Arctic Rivers to Achieve Multiple Global Environmental Benefits (GEF Project Grant: 1,743,162 USD; Co-financing Total: 7,890,000 USD; Total Cost: 9,724,862.00 USD)
  • One of the activities is “Demo-scale local action implemented, including in basins with melting ice and to restore/protect coastal “blue forests”.
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