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Progressing sustainable forestry in Russia


THE DISCUSSION WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF BOREAL FOREST PLATFORM GAINS MOMENTUM


Open platform to share experience in intensive sustainable forestry has expanded its scope and geography of participants

The field practical workshop “Intensive sustainable forestry: forest management in protective forests” brought together 28 representatives of large forest businesses, government and forest management entities, scientific and non-governmental organizations of Russia and Finland. For the first time the platform raised one of the most complex and controversial forestry issues: specifics of protective forest management.

“We have expanded the scope of the platform and considered issues of increasing forest management efficiency in protective forests, says Alexander Kostenko, deputy head of GFTN Russia. The current regulations do not always allow the forest businesses efficiently and responsibly run forestry in protective forests. At the same time the target functions of this forest category are not met”.

Representatives of federal and regional level state bodies took active part in the discussions.

“To intensify forestry in protective forests at the legislative level it is required to amend the regulatory documents, Timber Harvesting Regulations, regulations for forest tending and reforestation, and this applies not only to the protective forests, but also to the commercial ones, comments Alexey Klochikhin, Deputy head of administration, head of Department of forest use of the Administration for use and reproduction of forests in the Federal Forestry Agency. This will allow us to change the model of traditional forestry, which today is moving towards intensification through selective, voluntarily selective, and gradual logging. It will be possible to harvest in protective forests, but it should be done so that they could properly perform their environmental function, as it was the very purpose of identifying them. Their end functions are clearly defined by the law, and clear-cutting, from the point of view of the legislation, does not meet those functions.”  

The functions of the protective forests is the preservation of biodiversity and other ecosystem services, therefore, intensification in the protective forests should be conducted with great care”, states Annuka Valkeapaa , WWF Finland project coordinator. Especially it concerns the preparation of the soil and planting, as it could lead to the loss of the water protection function of these forests. Finland, for instance, has negative experience of excessive soil salinity due to water drains. It is necessary to learn from such mistakes’.

Seven constituent entities of the Russian Federation have already started pilot projects for which there is a possibility of making changes in the existing regulations: forest model plots are being arranged; the situation is being analyzed and new standards for each forest district, adapted to specific conditions, are being developed, which will make the forestry intensive. The Republic of Karelia, the venue of the field workshop, is one of such regions.

“Karelia has been dealing with the issue of protective forests for a long time, both at the Ministry level and at the level of NGOs, local forest management authorities, and at the level of businesses”, says Boris Romanyuk, head of Scientific and research forest inventory department of Saint Petersburg Forestry research institute. – The impressions from the seminar are very positive. The protective forest issue has been discussed for a long time only in general, and now we have started to speak about details. A balanced approach is needed, taking into account regional and local specifics (that is, each region should have its own approach) and determining what share of protective forests should be harvested, and what share should be left intact”.

The workshop allowed all stakeholder representatives to express and justify their position in order not only to identify the fundamental differences, but also to determine the options for finding optimal solutions.

“World Wildlife Fund believes that in the categories of protective forests with prevailing intact forest landscapes (sub-tundra forests, protective zones for spawning grounds, nut-bearing areas, mountain forests), industrial logging should be completely banned, comments Nikolai Shmatkov, Head of WWF Russia Forest Program. ‘In other forests one can consider different forms of forestry, including intensive methods, but the target function of protective forests should be maintained by all means”.

The agenda allowed the participants to quickly become acquainted with the experience and problems of forest management in protective forests at the sample plots of JSC “Ladenso”, and also to draft proposals to improve forest management to be further systematized and submitted to the Federal Forestry Agency, Ministry of natural resources and environment and all stakeholders.

“Dialog with all stakeholders, i.e. representatives of forest business, government, science, environmental organizations, and forestries, due to the Boreal Forest Platform turned out to be very informative”, says Terhi Koipiyarvi, Director of Forest Sector Resources in Russia Department, Stora Enso. ‘It was especially useful that specialists from different countries of the world were presented; they could share their experience in forest conditions. By joining forces with our Russian colleagues, we will be able to faster move forward towards intensive sustainable forest management, while balancing economic, environmental and social issues.”

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