Open new site version
What we do
Премия рунета 2017

A new photo project of Igor Shpilenok tells about the intact forests of Russia

08 july 2019
The expedition of a famous Russian nature photographer Igor Shpilenok to the intact forests of Arkhangelsk Region finished. The Dvina-Pinega Northern taiga became the first step in a new large-scale photo project dedicated to the oldest forests in Russia.

As part of the new photo project "Intact forests of Russia", in the expedition car provided with the support of WWF-Russia and Foundation "Beautiful Children In a Beautiful World", Igor Shpilenok will capture the oldest forests of our country to draw attention to their conservation. The photo project will tell about the life of old trees, the important ecological role of intact forests and the need to conserve such forests, for instance, through creation of protected areas. The expedition will cover many territories: from oak forests in Bryansk Region to stone-birch forests of Kamchatka.

The first shooting in the framework of the new project was made in the forest landscape between Northern Pinega and Dvina rivers in Arkhangelsk Region. It is no coincidence that those places have become part of the project. The Dvinsky taiga forest is the largest area of intact thousand-year forests in Europe, home to the wild forest reindeer and many other Red Data Book species of animals and plants. WWF-Russia, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has been working for many years to explore this territory and create a regional landscape reserve here to protect the intact forest and its inhabitants from logging. The photographer Igor Shpilenok and WWF expert Andrey Shchegolev spent several days in the wilds of the Arkhangelsk taiga, going by a rowboat along the Yula river, and along forest paths to take pictures for the project.

The Yula River is the water-way to the heardt of Dvinsky taiga
(c) Igor Shpilenok
"Most of all I was struck by the scale of destruction of wildlife outside the area of planned reserve. Logging is almost close to the territory of the future protected area and when shot from above, the border between the untouched intact forest and the surrounding felling is clearly visible. When you see it with your own eyes, you understand how important it is to conserve the remaining areas of wildlife. I hope that I will be able to contribute to the creation of the reserve as soon as possible," shared Igor Shpilenok.

Environmentalists do not hide the fact that those forests have survived only because of their remoteness and inaccessibility. However, today the logging front is moving further and further into the forest area that remained undisturbed by human activity. Scientists call such forests intact and their area keeps decreasing every year. If we do not create a reserve in the Dvinsky forest now, in 10-15 years there will be nothing to conserve here.

Logging sites on the border of planned nature reserve
(c) Igor Shpilenok
"As it is an absolutely wild territory, there is no one here, except animals, local hunters and fishermen. Igor Shpilenok is the first professional photographer to visit the area. His photo project will help us to tell about the importance of these forests, show the beauty and uniqueness of the Northern taiga, as well as indicate the current threats," says Andrey Shchegolev, WWF-Russia’s Forest Program Director.

WWF has been guarding the intact forests of Russia for 25 years. During this time, thanks to the support of our individual and corporate partners, we have achieved a lot. You can learn more about the importance of intact forests and help WWF-Russia to preserve the last corners of wildlife on "Forest Guards" website.


Igor Shpilenok (b. 1960, Bryansk Region) is a nature photographer, devotee of conservation, traveler, author of books, and blogger. He is the founder and first director of "Bryansk forest" nature reserve, where he has lived and worked for 15 years.  Member of the International League of Nature Conservation Photographers, winner of Russian and international nature photo contests. Igor Shpilenok’s Russian blog in LiveJournal:

Igor Shpilenok


WWF-Russia is the largest independent environmental organization engaged in the conservation of nature in Russia. In 2019, WWF-Russia celebrates its 25th anniversary. During a quarter of the century, WWF-Russia has successfully implemented more than 1000 field projects in 47 regions of the country. WWF's mission is to prevent the increasing degradation of the planet's natural environment and achieve harmony between man and nature. The main goal is to conserve the earth's biological diversity.

Foundation "Beautiful Children In a Beautiful World" was established in 2013 and implements two charity programs: "Beautiful children" and "Beautiful world". The first task is organizational and financial assistance in the treatment of children with problems in the maxillofacial region. The program "Beautiful world" is aimed at preserving the nature of Russia. The Fund finances a wide variety of projects in nature reserves and national parks. Over the past 6 years, many projects have been implemented to save brown bears, Amur tigers, bison, reindeer, white-tailed eagles and Red Data Book listed bats. The Fund supports the restoration of unique broad-leaved forests, lake natural complexes, contributes to the fight against poaching and to environmental education of the Russians.

Headline and cover photos: (c) Igor Shpilenok

For additional information please contact
Head of Forest Program Office