Russia and Canada have launched a forest dialogue
On 2-5 October 2017, on the eve of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) General Assembly the field tour entitled “Sustainable Forestry – a Dialogue between Canada and other Countries,” took place in Alberta, Canada.
The organizers of the field tour were Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. – one of the largest North American forestry companies, FSC® Canada and The Boreal Forest Platform, established by WWF-Russia as an independent discussion forum.
Dr. Elston Dzus, an ecologist at Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., said: “It is important to discuss issues around the use of boreal forests on both a national and international level, as the boreal zone has both regional specifics and many common features on a global level. I believe The Boreal Forest Platform and FSC® offer good prospects for international dialogue, including the opportunity to compare the situation in the boreal forest zone in different countries. The variety of topics relating to the boreal zone that were put forward for discussion during this tour is quite striking. Countries with boreal forests are very different from each other, but nevertheless we have some shared problems and challenges. It is therefore important and useful for us to pursue this dialogue and learn from each other regarding both issues we have in common and those that relate to a specific region.”
The main aim of the field tours run by The Boreal Forest Platform is to gather organizations and people interested in boreal forest issues from a range of countries to share experience and best practice and to discuss the latest technologies for managing our activities in the forests. The work of the Platform is currently focused primarily on Russia, however it has the potential to develop further. Representatives of FSC®, forestry companies, environmental organizations and the scientific community from Russia, Canada, Finland, the USA and other countries took part in the field tour in Canada.
Alexander Kostenko, the coordinator of The Boreal Forest Platform, said: “Canada and Russia are the largest two countries in the world, accounting for two-thirds of the world’s boreal forests and around half of the intact forest landscape, which are particularly rich in wildlife. Preserving this wildlife is one of the key global conservation challenges. During the recent field tour participants of the forestry sector from Canada and Russia had a unique opportunity to share their experience of sustainable forest management of boreal forests in their own countries. An international dialogue has begun between representatives of the forestry sector companies, scientific and environmental organizations of the biggest boreal countries, which will facilitate the further development of sustainable forest management and the conservation of valuable forest ecosystems in the boreal zone.”
During the field tour participants discussed many aspects of boreal forest ecology and all stages of the forest industry cycle – from logging to the preparation of the final product (commercial cellulose). The comprehensive presentation on all aspects of forest management in Canada – including logging, industrial production, conservation and social aspects – ensured the programme was both interesting and practical. Meetings with representatives of Indigenous people, local contractors and scientific research institutes illustrated how companies are seeking to take into account the interests of all forest stakeholders. Maintaining the balance of interests of all parties is fundamental for sustainable forest management, and the successful experience of other countries in this area can be applied by Russian companies.
The topics covered by the Canadian experts included: Canada’s forest legislation system; ecosystem-based forest management approaches inspired by the forest’s natural dynamics, the logging companies’ approach to strategic and operational planning; comprehensive land management; and aspects of collaborative scientific research and monitoring.
“The Scandinavian approach to forest management is relatively well-known in Russia and the first phase of The Boreal Forest Platform showed that Russian companies are taking active measures to implement elements of the Scandinavian model, but only in a few parts of the country. However, there is too little knowledge in Russia of techniques for managing large boreal forests, and the Canadian experience is undoubtedly interesting and valuable. Alongside providing the Russian view these international field tours are particularly important to allow us to align our views on global challenges facing boreal forests. Work on these challenges must be an integral part of the future agenda of The Boreal Forest Platform,” said Denis Popov, the deputy natural resources manager at the Mondi group, which is one of the most active participants in The Boreal Forest Platform.
All the materials are provided by Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. for informational use only.