The Barents Euro-Arctic Region, (see map) Europe’s largest region for interregional cooperation, includes the northernmost parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Northwest Russia. The nature is unique and the environment vulnerable, with wide tundra areas in the north and extensive boreal forests zones in the south. The wealth and diversity of natural resources, e.g., biotopes, forests, fish, minerals, diamonds, oil and gas, poses great opportunities and challenges.
This is a vast region with approximately 5.23 million people; it is an area as large as Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France (mainland) and Spain (mainland) together, totalling 1,75 million km2, of which 75% of the territory and population is Russian. Several indigenous peoples and minority groups live in the region, e.g., the Sami, Nenets,Vepsians and Komi.
The majority of the Barents Region belongs to the temperate conifer zone whereas the Scandinavian mountain chain, the northern parts of the Kola Peninsula, the Nenets Area and Novaja Zemlja are part of the Arctic tundra. The location mainly north of the Arctic Circle gives a period of exotic midnight sun and also long and dark polar nights.