As the largest country in the world by surface area, Russia and its more than 17 000 000 sq km touch the Pacific Ocean in the East and the Arctic Sea in the North.
However, the work on the Emerald Network in the country so far only targeted the European Part of Russia, from its borders with the European Union to the Ural Mountains. The elevation in the country ranges from -28 m at the Caspian Sea to the heights of Mount Elbrus, 5,642 m, in the Caucasus, which is the highest mountain in Europe.
In addition to Russia's numerous waterways, from streams to mighty rivers, the country boasts inland bodies of water such as Lake Ladoga. Such a large country understandably enjoys a wide range of geographical features, climates, habitats and flora and fauna.
Russia is well known for sweeping plains, from the tundra of Siberia to the grassland steppes and also large stands of forest, with the climate warming as one moves from north to south. With that many habitats, the country's biological diversity is vast, and protecting it is vital for biodiversity all over Europe.
Russia is not a signatory party of the Bern Convention, but as a member country of the Council of Europe, it cooperates on its implementation.
Russia has listed a staggering total of more than 85 habitats for protection. In these habitats, smaller creatures such as the blue butterfly species Maculinea teleius, the stag beetle, Lucanus cervus, and the freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera, make their home.
Natural preserves also make room for larger animals like the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber, or the magnificent brown bear, Ursus arctos.
1548 sites have been identified as suitable to join the Emerald Network in the country (by February 2016), 1267 of which have already been officially nominated as candidate Emerald sites by the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention (in December 2015).
The 1548 potential Emerald sites cover 492510.55 km2, around 10% of the country territory.
Mr Rustam Sagitov
RCPO "Biologists for Nature Conservation" (Baltic Fund for Nature)
Universitetskaya emb., 7/9,
St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia
Tel.: +7 (812) 328-96-20
Fax: +7 (812) 328-97-53