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Progressing sustainable forestry in Russia


Intensive sustainable forestry

The transition to more intensive sustainable forestry, the necessity of which is recognized at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation and which serves as the basis of the forest policy in Russia is aimed at improving the efficiency of use of forest land, obtaining higher profits from forestry, and providing sustainable forest management in the most productive forests that will ensure sustainable raw material supplies to the forest industry. The effects of intensive forestry in developed forests will preserve intact forest landscapes, protective and other valuable forests. To switch to intensive forestry it is important to provide economic and legal incentives for forest businesses, to enhance the role of forest users and the public in making forest management decisions and to create guarantees for protection of investments into the forest fund and forest transport infrastructure. This will allow logging and wood processing enterprises not only to obtain a significant economic gain in the long term (savings on procurement and transportation of raw materials, comprehensive utilization of resources, production of the target assortments of the required quality), but also to become more responsible and to invest more in sustainable forestry.
All forest sector stakeholders are interested in the intensification of forestry: businesses, which need guaranteed wood raw material procurement, reducing transport costs and self-cost of harvesting; the ecological community, which is interested in conservation of forests with high conservation values including the old growth ones; the public authorities, which need to raise the profitability of the forest sector; local communities, which need new working places and the development of their settlements. Currently on behalf of the Federal Forestry Agency the concept of intensification is being developed, it is currently being actively discussed. Forest businesses conduct experiments on the introduction of intensive forest management at the model plots. Some regions have adopted regulations on conservation of biodiversity during the timber harvesting, which were developed in cooperation with the regional forest authorities, nature conservation organizations, and representatives of science. These documents are an integral part of the environmental component of the forestry intensification.
However, the introduction of the forestry intensification is causing some concern of part of forest sector representatives. The participants of the forest sector need to come to a common understanding of intensification, clearly defining, what it includes, what prospects has, what additional responsibilities imposes. Will it be possible to protect private investments in the state forest fund in the long term, will they pay back over time? What should be the forest management standards so that the forest management would be the most effective? Is it possible to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, integrity of forest ecosystems, other important environmental, social and cultural values in intensively managed forests? How to combine “incompatible”, timber harvesting and biodiversity conservation, the interests of businesses and the local population within a single forest landscape? An open dialogue of all stakeholders on forestry intensification issues will help to find, using the best domestic and foreign experience, the answers to these questions, consider different interests and avoid conflicts, identify the best opportunities to encourage timber companies to move to the intensive model, establish exchange of experience in intensive forestry, which has already been accumulating in Russia thanks to yet unconsolidated efforts of individual forest industry companies and public organizations.

What is intensive forestry in the Russian context?
Income maximization from a forest plot while preserving sustainability by:
• Effective reforestation with target aboriginal species
• Due care and thinning, especially in young stands
• More opportunities for decision-making on spot
• Management of forest fires and pathogens, prevention of illegal forest use
• Identification, preservation and enhancement of high conservation values
• High quality forest management plan for at least 2 rotations, the landscape approach and stakeholder participation

The transition to more intensive sustainable forestry is aimed at improving the efficiency of use of forest land, obtaining higher profits from forestry, and providing sustainable forest management in the most productive forests that will ensure sustainable raw material supplies to the forest industry. The necessity of this approach is recognised at the level of the Government of the Russian Federation and it serves as the basis of the forest policy in Russia.

The effects of intensive forestry in developed forests have been proven to preserve intact forest landscapes, protective and other valuable forests.
This will allow logging and wood processing enterprises to not only obtain a significant economic gain in the long term (savings on procurement and transportation of raw materials, comprehensive utilization of resources, production of the target assortments of the required quality), but to also become more responsible and invest more in sustainable forestry.

Why Intensive sustainable forestry is important:
All forest sector stakeholders are interested in the intensification of forestry: businesses, which need guaranteed wood raw material procurement, reducing transport costs and self-cost of harvesting; the ecological community, which is interested in conservation of forests with high conservation values including the old growth ones; the public authorities, which need to raise the profitability of the forest sector; local communities, which need new working places and the development of their settlements

Current situation
Currently on behalf of the Federal Forestry Agency the concept of intensification is being developed, it is currently being actively discussed. Forest businesses conduct experiments on the introduction of intensive forest management at the model plots.
Some regions have adopted regulations on conservation of biodiversity during the timber harvesting, which were developed in cooperation with the regional forest authorities, nature conservation organizations, and representatives of science. These documents are an integral part of the environmental component of the forestry intensification.
However, the introduction of the forestry intensification is causing some concern of part of forest sector representatives. The participants of the forest sector need to come to a common understanding of intensification, clearly defining, what it includes, what prospects has, what additional responsibilities imposes. Will it be possible to protect private investments in the state forest fund in the long term, will they pay back over time? What should be the forest management standards so that the forest management would be the most effective? Is it possible to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, integrity of forest ecosystems, other important environmental, social and cultural values in intensively managed forests? How to combine “incompatible”, timber harvesting and biodiversity conservation, the interests of businesses and the local population within a single forest landscape?

How does the BFP platform aim to make a transition to Intensive sustainable forestry
An open dialogue of all stakeholders on forestry intensification issues will help to find, using the best domestic and foreign experience, the answers to these questions, consider different interests and avoid conflicts, identify the best opportunities to encourage timber companies to move to the intensive model, establish exchange of experience in intensive forestry, which has already been accumulating in Russia thanks to yet unconsolidated efforts of individual forest industry companies and public organizations.
In order to switch to intensive forestry sucessfully, it is important to:
• provide economic and legal incentives for forest businesses,
• enhance the role of forest users and the public in making forest management decisions;
• create guarantees for protection of investments into the forest fund and forest transport infrastructure.

© 2018 Boreal forest platform