What we do
Премия рунета 2017

Planting forest

Many companies and volunteers are turning to WWF Russia with proposals to organize planting of trees on the site of logging and burning, as well as in places where trees died as a result of outbreaks of insects and various diseases. This position is designed to determine priority areas of WWF Russia’s activities in this field.

Preservation and enhancement of safety and resource potential of forests, prevention of deforestation and degradation is the main objective of sustainable forest management. Forest regeneration is an obligatory part of forestry cycle in forestry production and should ensure the preservation of ecological and social functions of a forest. Like any forestry activity, reforestation must be thought through, scientifically sound and purposeful.

Every year forests in Russia disappear on significant areas as a result of economic activity (logging, construction of roads and other infrastructure, expansion of settlements, fires, reduction in resistance of secondary forests to insects, diseases, etc.) [1]. Therefore, the most important task that forest management authorities and forest users are entrusted with is reforestation, designed to prevent the reduction of the area covered by forest vegetation and deterioration of forest plantations. Public organizations are also actively involved in forest restoration.

Significant budget resources are allocated for reforestation. A lot of money is invested by tenants of the forest fund, which are responsible for the restoration of forests on felling. Despite this, the efficiency of reforestation work is often very low, and most of the funds are unfortunately spent only on the first phase of reforestation — planting (without further care and other necessary measures) [2]. As a result, even according to official statistics, more than half of created forest plantations perish. As a rule, felling is overgrown with low-value breeds from an economic point of view, which stimulates wood harvesting in intact forest areas and in protected forests.

WWF Russia believes that the provision of reforestation on lands that are under the management of forestry authorities is the task of these authorities, and the efforts of public organizations and active citizens should be primarily aimed at ensuring that they carry out quality work of planting forests and care for and protect young plantations from fires and other damages. To invest additional funds that are raised from other sources, including sponsors, and also to involve volunteers in these works is only useful when it comes to the restoration of forests with particularly valuable environmental and social functions, for example, protected forests that are not used for industrial wood harvesting. Restoration of forests on sites of the forest fund leased for timber harvesting purpose is the responsibility of tenants.

WWF Russia considers it possible to support only such reforestation and afforestation projects that will not compensate for the ineffectiveness of existing reforestation system, but will develop new approaches and methods aimed at increasing biological, ecosystem and landscape diversity of forests, improving their sustainability, protective, climate-regulating functions, quality of other ecosystem forest services, restoration of particularly valuable forests and forest landscapes, as well as projects aimed at the introduction and popularization of best practices in reforestation, creation of areas of intensive and sustainable forest management based on landscape approach and other basic principles of biodiversity conservation and social functions of forests.

WWF prioritizes reforestation projects that are:

  • on non-forest lands (including those that recover from agricultural exploitation in cases when creation of forests there is ecologically and socially justified), where forest previously grew, but for some reason its natural restoration is restricted;
  • for restoration of valuable in terms of biodiversity conservation forest landscapes in priority ecoregions, natural species composition and age structure of valuable forests, which was lost as a result of anthropogenic influence (including creation of under canopy forest growth);
  • for restoration of forest ecosystems of particular value from biodiversity conservation point of view, including perished forests in specially protected natural areas (if this does not contradict their regime and purposes of establishment), where for some reason natural restoration of forests is restrained, and their speedy recovery is critically important for rare and endangered species of flora and fauna;
  • to create examples of intensive forestry management based on landscape approach, including plantation of wood (unless the lands where the plantations are to be created are covered by natural forest or non-forest vegetation);
  • creation of demonstration sites for popularization and advertisement (especially in professional community: among employees of forest management authorities, forest companies, non-governmental organizations, and the public) of best practices and examples of restoration of natural forest landscapes and creation of forest stands that are resistant to adverse effects and possess increased capacity to provide ecosystem services.

We do not support reforestation projects that are:

  • in place of natural non-forest vegetation (steppe, meadow, etc.);
  • on timber logging sites, on sites of violations during construction, exploration and mining, except for old (over 20 year old) violations;
  • where a forest can recover in natural manner within reasonable time;
  • in areas with high risks of loss of planted forest stands, deterioration of their further condition as a result of fires, illegal logging, pest damage, lack of quality care, or other similar reasons (if appropriate care and protection measures are not provided for).

WWF Russia calls on all those who are not indifferent to the fate of Russian forests, to support our reforestation projects!

[1] In some regions of the country, the area covered with forest increases due to an overgrowth of abandoned agricultural lands, nevertheless, parallel to this there is a process of disappearance of especially valuable forests, primarily intact forest landscapes. Each year, the area of intact forests in Russia is reduced by an average of 1.6 million hectares as a result of fires, logging and mining.

[2] Currently, the ratio of cared for seedlings in logged areas to total area of seedling stands is only 0.35%.