An introduction is given to the geography of Russian forests and to the specific conditions of the study sites located along the 60° latitude east of Moscow (Fyedorovskoe) near the Ural Mountains (Syktivkar) and in Central Siberia near the Yennisei river (Zotino). The climatic conditions were similar at all three sites. The main ecological parameter that changes between European Russia and Siberia is the length of the growing season (230 d above 0 °C NE Moscow to 170 d above 0 °C in Central Siberia) and to a lesser extent precipitation (580 mm NE Moscow to 530 mm in Central Siberia). The experimental sites were generally similar to the regional conditions, although the Tver region has less forest and more grassland than the central forest reserve, and the Komi region has slightly less wetland than the study area. The Krasnoyarsk region reaches from the arctic ocean to arid central Asia and contains a significant proportion of non-forest land. The boreal forest of west and east Yennisei differs mainly with respect to wetlands, which cover almost half of the land area on the west bank. All sites are prone to disturbance. Heavy winds and drought or surplus water are the main disturbance factors in European Russia (a 15–20 yr cycle), and fire is the dominating disturbance factor in Siberia (220–375 yr for stand replacing fires).