Paanajarvi: Ancient Wilderness
Hidden in the far northwestern corner of the Karelian Republic is a Russian natural treasure: Paanajarvi National Park. Paanajarvi’s cornucopia of falls, mountains, ridges, lakes, forests, flora, and fauna, combined with its extreme climate and topography, has created a harsh and rugged terrain of exquisite natural beauty.
Paanajarvi National Park’s 258,100 acres contain the highest peaks, the deepest lake, and the fastest flowing waters in Karelia. Paanajarvi also lies at a biological crossroads: flora and fauna from the East, West, North and South have intersected here, creating a high species diversity, including 108 ancient and endemic plant species. Altogether, 543 species of vascular plants have been identified in the park. Nine of these species are listed in the Russian Federation’s Red Data Book. Old-growth taiga forests cover two-thirds of the park (making unauthorized logging in and near the park one of its greatest threats).
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