Russia now ranks first in the world for its amount of protected natural areas, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia data.
Official statistics state that Russia has 63.3 million hectares of specially protected natural areas, WWF had previously reported. These figures do not take into account natural territories including cultural heritage sites and territories of traditional use, Mikhail Stishov, an Arctic biodiversity conservation coordinator, was quoted as saying by RIA.
Combined with these territories, the amount of protected land increases to 209.5 million hectares. As a result, protected natural areas cover 25-40 percent of the country's land area — 3.3 times more than previously thought, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited WWF data as saying.
Russia's protected areas include national and natural parks, state nature reserves, monuments and botanical gardens.