The Great Northern Forest has stood tall for thousands of years. It stores more carbon in its trees and soils than all the tropical rainforests put together and therefore its survival plays a crucial role in preventing climate chaos.
But its continued destruction could turn this carbon store into a carbon bomb.
In 2010, world governments agreed to take immediate action to prioritise the protection of the world's remaining forests (1). Despite this promise, the governments of Canada, Russia, Finland and Sweden still allow companies to destroy huge parts of the Great Northern Forest.
We call upon the heads of these governments to keep their promise and take action to save the Great Northern Forest.
Also called boreal forest or taiga in Russia, the Great Northern Forest is a unique global ecosystem circling the planet like a green crown. Stretching from northwest of Canada, through Sweden and Finland all the way to the Pacific coast of Russia, it includes the traditional territories of many Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded these landscapes since time immemorial.
Though separated by oceans, the forest acts like a single ecosystem playing a crucial role in regulating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It is also the single largest terrestrial carbon store on the planet. Yet its continued destruction of the Great Northern Forest could trigger a 'carbon bomb', releasing huge amounts of carbon stored in the trees, permafrosts and soils. We simply cannot afford to let this happen.
If we don't act to protect the Great Northern Forest, we will lose the battle against climate change - what happens to this amazing forest will affect us all.