Assesses the forest carbon situation in Russia and makes the data available to researchers and policy makers.

Executive Summary

This report represents the culmination of a joint effort by Russian and American scientists, nongovernmental organizations, and U.S. organizations to assess the forest carbon situation in Russia and to make the data available to researchers and policy makers. It was drafted in English on the basis of a longer technical report tentatively titled "Carbon Budget and Climate Mitigation Potential for the Russian Forest and Land Use Sector," which was translated from Russian. Both reports will be published in English and Russian versions - this report as a WRI report and the longer technical report by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The importance of the Russian forest estate to the global carbon cycle is widely recognized. Russian forests are estimated to contain 776 million hectares of forestland, or nearly 23% of the total forestland in the world, providing one of the largest land-based carbon storage.

Historically, policy makers and scientists outside of Russia have had little access to data and information on the forest resources of Russia. The State Forest Fund Account (SFFA) collects and assembles forestry data since the 1960s and makes it available to the Russian speaking community from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

In light of discussions to adopt carbon credits and trading systems, it is important to verify the credibility of the Russian national forestry data. The report compares SFFA data to independent information from the Nothern Eurasia Ecosystem map based on data from the VEGETATION system on-board the French Satellite, SPOT. Then, bottom-up and top-down analyses are used to assess the current size of the Russian carbon sink, potential sequestration in the future, and options for mitigation projects in Russia to contribute to solving the global warming problem.

The estimates in this report indicate that above-ground forest biomass contains approximately 35.1 Billion Tones Carbon Equivalents.