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How Paper Products Are Destroying Russia's Last Remaining Intact Forests

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Major western European and American companies are connected to logging companies expanding their operations into one of the largest tracts of undisturbed primary forest in Arkhangelsk Oblast of northwest Russia, a Greenpeace report reveals.


The report, Eye on the Taiga: How industry's claimed sustainable forestry in Russia, is destroying the Great Northern Forest, shows that three-quarters of the proposed Dvinsky Forest Reserve is licensed to three major logging companies. It lists the names of companies, some of which are household names that are buying from mills linked to these logging companies.

Companies highlighted in the report—such as Swedish owned paper manufacturer Arctic Paper, tissue company SCA, the paper giant Stora Enso and Irish packaging producer Smurfit Kappa—have a unique opportunity to help save this last remaining intact forest. In addition, companies such as Auchan, Nestlé, PepsiCo and McDonald's—also highlighted in the report as linked with this case—can influence their suppliers to support the protection of the Dvinsky Forest.

In 2011, regional authorities planned to establish the Dvinsky Forest Reserve. This proposed reserve covers almost two-thirds of one of the largest remaining intact forest landscapes, covering 835,000 hectares of critical habitat for a number of threatened species in Arkhangelsk Oblast in northwestern Russia.

"Since 2000, the Dvinsky forest has lost 300,000 hectares—an area larger than Luxembourg—of unique intact forest landscape," said Anton Beneslavsky, forest project lead for Greenpeace Russia.

"This critically important and beautiful forest is ending up as saunas and tissue products and packaging that can be found in stores and homes all over the world."

Between 2000 and 2013 the rate of loss of intact forest landscapes in the Great Northern Forest was around 2.5 million hectares per year. Russia accounts for more than half of this loss. Logging continues despite Russia promising to deliver its part on achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Target 5 requires by 2020 a minimum 50 percent reduction in the rate of loss of primary forests and other high biodiversity value habitats. Where it is feasible, this loss should be brought close to zero.

"Russia has declared 2017 as the Year of the Protected Area. It has already been years since the Dvinsky Forest Reserve was first earmarked for protection by the Arkhangelsk authorities" said Beneslavsky.

"If the government is serious about establishing new protected areas this year, it should start walking the talk by fully protecting this forest without further delay. Failing to act is not an option."

Greenpeace has written to companies named in the report highlighting the fate of the Dvinsky Forest, and has called on them to join in the efforts to save this magnificent forest and other critical regions of the Great Northern Forest. The companies are encouraged to phase out any suppliers involved in the destruction of these valuable forest areas.

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