The international day of forests

Photo by Konstantin Tolokonnikov
Photo by Konstantin Tolokonnikov

The 21st of March there is being celebrated an International day of forests. The main objective of this festival is to attract attention to the problem of maintaining of the lungs of the planet.

Forests perform an important ecological function. Here lives a lot of animals. Trees contribute to a balanced oxygen content, carbon dioxide and moisture in the air. Forests provide food, medicines and fuel. Wood is the main source of renewable energy in the whole world.

However, despite all these invaluable environmental, economic, social and medical properties, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest annually.

According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2015), the total area of the world's forests is 3 999 million hectares, that corresponds to 30.6% of the land area, whereas forests covered up to 31.6% of the land area in 1990, or about 4 128 million hectares.

The biggest forest on the planet that is situated on the territory of Russia – is the Siberian taiga. Taiga forests begin in the European part of Russia and, growing from the upper reaches of the Volga and the Gulf of Finland to the East, cover the Urals, Altai, the whole of Western and Eastern Siberia, making their way into the steppe latitudes and capturing the Far East. The taiga zone occupies more than 79% of the area of the forest fund of the country and stretches for 9 thousand km. You can see taiga forests, visiting Barguzinsky, Kostamukshsky, Pinezhsky and other reserves of our country.



Photo by Sergey Ivanov
Photo by Sergey Ivanov

One of the oldest trees in Russia is considered to be Grunwald Oak, growing in the Kaliningrad Region, the tree is more than 800 years old. The Oak in Chuvashia, aged 480 years old, 400-year-old oak on the Don and a 700-year-old plane tree in Dagestan are considered to be in quantity of the two dozen of the oldest trees in Russia. Besides, there was found by the scientists a whole section of Larch Cayender, among which more than a dozen trees are more than 750 years old.

The scientists suppose as well that the longest surviving of all the trees on earth are the yews. In the area of Khosty near Sochi on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, there is a yew-boxwood grove, in which 600-1000-year-old trees grow.

Russia accounts for more than one fifth of the world's forest resources. The ratio of forest cover to the total land area of our country is 46.4%. The highest levels of forest cover were recorded in the Irkutsk region (83.1%), the Republic of Komi (72.7%), Permsky Krai (71.5%).