The area of protective forests in Russia from 2015 to 2020 increased by 5.5 million hectares, which is slightly less than the territory of Croatia.
Since 2015, the areas of protective forests have increased in Privolzhsky (by 778 thousand hectares, 6.8%), Central (by 204 thousand hectares, 2.1%), Ural (by 445 thousand hectares, 2%) and North-West (by 191 thousand hectares, 0.5%) federal districts. The increase is mainly due to the transfer of commercial forests with active logging to the category of protective forests.
In accordance with the Forestry Code, all forests are divided into protective, operational and reserve ones. Such a division is necessary in order to clearly know which forest is intended for what, in which it is possible to conduct intensive timber harvesting, which one is designed to protect the environment and ensure environmental safety, and which one can be used only in emergency cases.
The total area of forests in Russia is 1.146 billion hectares. Of these, 594.5 million hectares are operational, 284.6 million hectares are protective and 266.2 million hectares are reserve. That is, the ratio of forests where it is possible and not possible to harvest timber for the purpose of making a profit by the method of clear felling, one to one
The name “protective” speaks for itself. They are located within the boundaries of specially protected natural areas, in water protection zones, they also include valuable and urban forests, as well as forests whose function is to protect natural objects. Protective forests prevent the drying up of water bodies, waterlogging of the territory, and promote fish spawning. Protective forest belts are designed to protect fields from air erosion, to retain moisture in the soil. Forest park zones, referred to as “protective”, are a traditional place of recreation for the townspeople. Recreational activities are actively developed here – sports and health tourism.
If we talk exclusively about the lands of the forest fund, then in Russia there are several subjects with exclusively protective forests. These are Moscow, Kaliningrad, Orenburg, Samara, Belgorod, Voronezh, Kursk, Lipetsk, Oryol, Tambov, Tula and Saratov regions, Nenets and Chukotka autonomous districts, South and North Caucasian federal districts.
There are 266 million hectares of forests classified as reserve in Russia. Including forests in which it is not planned to harvest timber for 20 years. Often they are located far from the transport infrastructure, and, from the point of view of economic feasibility, it is unprofitable to harvest timber there. The exception is geological exploration of the subsoil and the procurement of timber by citizens for their own needs. At the same time, in them, as in operational and protective forests, work is carried out to protect and protect, but mainly with the help of aviation
The largest of all forest categories is commercial forests, whose area in our country is 594 million hectares. Harvesting timber for profit is carried out here. In addition to harvesting timber on an industrial scale, harvesting of other gifts of forest – resin (resinous mass obtained from coniferous trees), collection of fruit, berry, ornamental and medicinal plants is gaining momentum in commercial forests.
The forests of Russia are the largest lungs of the planet and the main regulators of the climate.
To preserve them is one of the goals of the federal project “Preservation of Forests”, which is part of the national project “Ecology”. The priority task is to balance deforested as well as dead forests with forest plantations planted in their place by 100% by 2024. We remind you that all forest users are obliged to restore the forest by law.