WWF Russia, Greenpeace Russia and the forestry company Titan have made a moratorium agreement on 70,000 hectares of high conservation value old-growth forests belonging to the planned Dvina-Pinega nature reserve (zakaznik) in the Arkhangelsk Region. The agreement preserves the area from loggings and road construction, thus, providing important support for official establishment of Dvina-Pinega nature reserve.
In Northwest Russia, many planned protected areas are leased for forestry companies with rights to conduct loggings. The status of planned protected area does not provide regulations for land use. Moratoriums are concluded between nature conservation NGOs and forestry companies to agree on excluding areas of high conservation values from loggings.
The territory of the planned Dvina-Pinega nature reserve, 480,000 ha, is one of the largest remaining intact boreal forests in Europe with many rare habitats and endangered species. Over the years, WWF Russia has organized expeditions to study the general state of forest ecosystems, biodiversity, individual groups of flora and fauna, and changes in ecosystems after loggings. As a result of the comprehensive surveys of the territory, the need for a regional nature reserve became apparent.
Unique natural areas such as Dvina-Pinega watershed should be protected according to the requirements of Russian legislation as well as standards of the voluntary forest certification FSC. Currently, the entire area is leased by several logging companies and without establishment of a legally binding protected area the forest will be cut down in a few years.
Ecologists have managed to sign a moratorium agreement excluding loggings with almost all companies having leased areas within the boundaries of the proposed nature reserve. The establishment of the Dvina-Pinega nature reserve will depend on the decision of the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region.
Planned Dvina-Pinega nature reserve is prioritized in the BPAN project. Centre of Nature Management and Environmental Monitoring of Arkhangelsk Region and the Arkhangelsk section of the WWF Barents Sea office implement the BPAN regional pilot project in the area in 2012-2013. Documentation which is needed for establishing the protected area, including ecological and economic justification, is now being finalized. Public hearings and activities related to raising awareness on the values and regulations of the future protected area are carried out as a part of the project in the beginning of 2013.