Russia has joined over 100 countries in promising to end deforestation by 2030, in the first major deal of the COP26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow this week.
The pledge, to be announced Tuesday, includes around $20 billion in funds for protection of woodlands worldwide, according to summit hosts the British government.
Felling forests accelerates climate change by releasing vast reserves of greenhouse gases absorbed by trees.
Experts say that halting and reversing deforestation is key to a successful struggle against climate change.
Russia’s recently announced goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2060 rests on large increases of greenhouse gas absorption by its vast forests, a plan some experts have met with skepticism.
The COP26 deal’s signatories account for around 85% of the world’s forest cover, including Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil.
Russia, with around 800 million hectares of forest land, is the most heavily forested country in the world.
However, a series of record-breaking forest fires that experts say are driven by climate change combined with illegal logging have seen a reduction in Russia’s forest cover in recent years.
The COP26 deal will also see over 30 of the world’s biggest corporations renounce investment in activities that lead to deforestation.
A similar anti-deforestation deal in 2014 failed to halt forest destruction, with tree felling worldwide reaching record highs since.