(AGI) London, Oct 22 - The taste for pesto, an iconic Italianpasta sauce, is threatening Russia's pine forests, ecologistssay. Global demand for pine nuts, one of the main ingredients,is causing hundreds of hectares of Korean pine trees insouth-eastern Russia to be razed to the ground.Environmentalists from the International Union for Conservationof Nature have pointed the finger at the thousands of pine nutpickers who sell the nuts to Chinese traders who then exportthem all over the world. European pine nuts are traditionallyused, along with basil, to make the sauce, but demand hascaused prices to soar, leading in turn to a market shifttowards less expensive Asian varieties, of which Korean pinenuts are the most important. Jonathan Slaght of the Russianprogramme of the Wildlife Conservation Society, has said: "Theglobal demand is making this harvest unsustainable. The entireKorean pine ecosystem could collapse if it continues." The newswas reported in the British Daily Mail newspaper. (AGI).