WWF: SUPPORTING THE CONSERVATION OF VALUABLE FORESTS IS PROFITABLE FOR THE FOREST INDUSTRY
On November 22-23 Arkhangelsk hosted an international scientific conference entitled "The contribution of protected areas (PA) in the Arkhangelsk region to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage". The main discussion topics included the current status of protected areas, and special issues and problems associated with the creation of protected areas in the Arkhangelsk region.
In his speech at the plenary session of the conference, Andrey Shegolev, the Head of Forest Programs at the WWF-Russia Barents Branch in Arkhangelsk, raised the question of the role that protected areas play in the economic development of the region.
This is a pressing issue, as the interests of the forestry industry often come into conflict with conservation priorities in the region. Decades of extensive forest cultivation based on the logging of ranges that have naturally developed, have led to the exhaustion of the forest resources of the Arkhangelsk region The last areas of intact forests with high conservation value, which are globally recognized as a priority conservation target, are being cut down. The conflict between the demands of the timber industry and the need to conserve the protective and social aspects of the forests has become particularly evident in the forest landscape between the Northern Dvina and the Pinega rivers.
At the same time, in the current economic context it is becoming more profitable for forest companies to contribute actively to the creation of protected areas.
According to WWF, one of the main reasons why these unique areas are under threat of extinction and forestry in the region is at a standstill, is the lack of strategic documents that define the region’s development goals in the field of ecology and environmental management, such as environmental policy, a strategy for forestry development and protected areas; and effective dialogue between all concerned parties as well.