A recent incident at Lumber Liquidators highlights how alleged ties to illegally harvested woods can negatively impact business. Moreover, it shows that the U.S. Lacey Act—which bans trafficking of illegally sourced wood and paper products—is continuing to crack down on suspected illicit activity. It’s important that companies take note—and take action.
Many nations struggle with how to manage and protect their natural resources—resources that are frequently the source of significant biological and economic value. Russia can better protect its important nature conservation areas, thanks to a new map and data set developed by WRI and Global Forest Watch Russia. This map provides the most comprehensive view of all of Russia’s federal-level protected areas. Now, the Ministry for Natural Resources can better monitor activities where logging and mining is allowed, and stop activities in pristine and protected areas. Already, Megatron, a Russian oil company, has changed the boundaries of its drilling concession where they overlapped a protected area.
WRI’s international Global Forest Watch (GFW) network now maps ninety percent of the world’s primary forests. Companies, governments, and environmental groups worldwide use our maps and expertise to reconcile conservation and development needs. The Russian environmental group SPOK, for example, relied on WRI’s boreal maps in its negotiations with Karellesprom, a major logging company, to spare an unprotected section of one of Europe’s last remaining primary forests. The Forest Stewardship Council–a globally recognized label for sustainable forest management—is using GFW maps across Canada and Russia to ensure that certified companies take proper account of large forests. Forest companies doing business in boreal forest regions are now guided by GFW maps.
Russia’s forests are the largest in the world. Stretching from the Baltic to the Sea of Japan, they encompass the last wild forests of Europe, make up the vast wilderness of Siberia, and provide habitat for the highly endangered Siberian tiger.
In recent decades, road-building, logging, and wildfires have increasingly degraded these ancient and previously largely intact forests. To protect some particularly valuable forests, the Russian government used data provided by Global Forest Watch Russia, a partnership between WRI and several Russian forest conservation groups.
Dr. Lars Laestadius leads WRI’s work in Russia. “The Russian government’s attitude toward non-governmental organizations is very cautious, but, at the same time, it realizes they have unique biodiversity data and maps on the country’s forests. Using satellite imagery and field visits, the Global Forest Watch Russia network mapped conservation values in Russia’s forests and made the results publicly available.”
These maps influenced the Russian government as it prioritized new areas for protection and drew the boundaries of three new national parks. Similarly, the forest-rich Republic of Karelia bordering Finland relied on Global Forest Watch Russia maps and data for its new forest plan, which outlines thirteen new protected areas and identifies future areas for protection.
In Eastern Europe and Latin America all measured countries show a top-heavy BOP spending pattern, illustrated here by Russia.
Mapping less disturbed forest tracts, floodplain and bottomland ecosystems of intact river basins, naturally rare and unique forest communities, and rare and endangered plant species habitats -- to aid regional conservation strategies.
Carbon Inventory and Mitigation Potential of the Russian Forest and Land Base
Assesses the forest carbon situation in Russia and makes the data available to researchers and policy makers.
The first-ever, detailed map of intact forest landscapes in Russia, and can be used to flag areas where special precautions must be taken before development decisions are made.