The field workshop “Intensive and sustainable forestry” marked the start of the platform, which is an expert site for experience exchange and development of the legal base required to promote intensive forestry and is also an information resource. A fundamentally important point of the event was that the perspectives of forestry, its opportunities and risks were discussed not in offices or conference halls, but in the forest, at the sites where the best intensification practices are already being implemented. More than 30 experts from various regions of Russia and Finland took part in the workshop.
They were representatives of major forest industries, public and scientific organizations, state forest management bodies. During the discussions were raised critical, controversial issues of intensive forest management development, from economic feasibility of new approaches to safeguards of long-term investments in their implementation.
“We are sure that the Boreal Forest Platform will become a practical tool and an efficient venue to discuss the most crucial issues of intensive and sustainable forestry development, – says Nikolay Shmatkov, head of the WWF Russia Forest Program. – In particular, all active participants of the platform in the nearest future should discuss the new thinning standards, which are currently being developed by request of the Ministry of Nature of the Russian Federation”.
The WWF experts claim that the economic goals of forestry intensification must be addressed in parallel with the environmental ones, and that the intensive model requires the development of appropriate environmental standards.
“If we fail to do that, there will be a serious risk that the economical component will “outweigh”, – insists Nikolay Shmatkov. – In this case, Russia will encounter the crisis, similar to that experienced by the Scandinavians at the first stage of intensive model implementation. This scenario must be avoided by adopting a uniform principle – “Do no harm!”
During the field workshop the participants visited not only the production and demonstration sites to get acquainted with the existing production intensification methods; they also visited Mondi forest nursery to see the pine seedlings and spruce with closed root system. The stakeholders continued the dialog within the framework of the Boreal Forest Platform.
Further steps were discussed to promote intensive forestry in Russia; and involvement of further stakeholders and international representation as the boreal forest problems are not being properly addressed all over the world.
“After the workshop we particularize all the discussed topics to develop comprehensive proposals, – says Denis Popov, Head of Certification and Ecology Department at Mondi SLPK. – The boreal platform will allow us to consolidate the positions of the business, science and society, and subsequently bring it up to the state forest management authorities notice. We don’t only want to generate new ideas, but also offer alternatives for their implementation”.
However, one of the main objectives of the Boreal forest platform is still a clear formulation of the intensive forestry concept in Russia. As of today, the experts offer different interpretations: some replace ‘intense’ with ‘correct’, others are convinced that it is impossible to talk about anything else but single intensification elements…
“Intensive forestry is perceived as a number of events detached from the system such as thinning, reforestation, fertilization, irrigation, – comments Yuri Pautov, Director of Silver Taiga Fund. – To make sound decisions, we need to acknowledge that intensive forestry is a competent, long-term planned growth of forests over rather vast areas, ranging from a few tens of thousands of hectares”.
In the nearest future, on the website www.borealforestplatform.org a detailed interview with the workshop participants will be posted. They will share their understanding of intensive forest management and the hopes connected with the activity of the Boreal forest platform.
A resolution is drafted based on the Komi workshop results. Based on the above resolution decisions will be taken concerning the intensive forestry development in Russia. It also reflects the plans of the Boreal forest platform for the nearest future. In particular, it is planned to be more involved in the dialogue with the regional and federal forest management authorities, hold new field workshops, and study the best practices in Canada, Sweden, the Baltic States and Belarus.