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WWF-Russia presents a film-expedition through the intact forests of Arkhangelsk Region

20 january 2021
"Leshukonye. Elusive Beauty" is the title of a documentary about WWF-Russia’s expedition to a remote corner of Arkhangelsk Region, where the wild primeval taiga, clean rivers, rare plants and animals are still preserved.

Scientists are exploring unique sites to protect them from possible logging. In case of failure, the documentary footage could be all to be left from intact forest Leshukonye after a couple of decades.

From the first frames of the film, the viewer can see magnificent views of the taiga forests that have never been developed on an industrial scale. With a bird's eye Leshukonye seems uninhabited. We see here the forest as it was conceived by nature itself thousands of years ago. Local people say the name of this place comes from the word "forest spirit", which is popularly considered the host of the taiga.

To conserve the places and assign them a protected status, WWF-Russia’s team, which includes botanists, zoologists, ornithologists, landscape and soil scientists from several regions of the North-Western Russia, goes on a long and complex expedition.

"These are absolutely wild places, almost non-existent on the planet. The majestic beauty of nature is amazing: untouched dense forests, canyons and cliffs, rock outcrops of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic times: nowhere else within the Russian Plain you could see that, " says Nikolay Larionov, a member of the expedition, the head of WWF-Russia Barents Branch in Arkhangelsk. “The importance of this taiga is not only in its beauty and intact nature, but its ecological functions are much more important: climate regulation, maintaining the fullness and purity of rivers, and biological diversity. The task of the expedition is to study the territory and collect evidence of the natural value of these forests."

Together with the experts, the audience will go along the Chetlas River on flatboats, walk along forest trails, see plants preserved from the Ice Age, observe endangered animals and birds, learn how scientists work, and hear many interesting facts about the amazing world of the northern taiga.

The voice-over text for the film was voiced by Konstantin Byshevoy, director, producer, host of the TV channels "My Planet" and "Living Planet" and a great friend of WWF-Russia.

"When I first saw this film, I was simply fascinated by the harsh beauty of these wild places and the enthusiasm of specialists who are ready to travel hundreds of kilometers through the forest wilds to find rare plants and animals, to explore the most secluded corners. Most of us have never been in such forests and do not even realize how important they are for the well-being of the entire planet. And I very much hope that those unique places will be able to conserve," says Konstantin Byshevoy.

The funds for the field study, conservation of the intact forests of Leshukonye and for the film production were collected during campaign held of the Karusel retail chain (X5 Retail Group) and WWF-Russia in Karusel hypermarkets.

What secrets does the intact boreal forest keep and who is hiding in its wilds? Take a look into the heart of the pristine taiga.
Watch a movie 

What are intact forests?

Intact forests are the last corners of the wild nature, where natural processes are not disturbed, and rare species of plants and animals are not threatened yet. They help regulate the planet's climate and water regimes, keep rivers flowing, and protect the soil from degradation. Only 1/5 of all forests in Russia (247 million hectares) are preserved in their original form. Russia is among the top three in terms of the volume and speed of their loss: due to fires, logging and infrastructure construction. According to WWF-Russia’s research, every year Russia loses more than 1.6 million hectares of intact forests and the rate is growing rapidly. According to WWF estimates, in 80 years we may lose them all in Russia. Unique ecosystems of ancient forests have been formed for centuries, but this fragile balance can be destroyed very quickly. The loss of ecosystems of intact forests cannot be compensated for by planting young trees. Therefore, it's so important to keep what we have left! Learn more and stand guard over the intact forests of Russia: https://forest.wwf.ru/


For additional information please contact
Head of Arkhangelsk Ecoregional Office