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The first FSC-certified forest company appeared in the Russian Caucasus

14 october 2019
The largest lease holder of Adygea forests was FSC certified. Now logging in his leased area will comply with international standards of environmentally and socially responsible forest management, and forest areas of high conservation value will be saved.

WWF supports voluntary forest certification under the FSC scheme both globally and in Russia, as it helps prevent forest degradation and depletion of our planet's forest resources. More than 47 million hectares of forests have already been FSC certified in Russia, but outside the Russian Caucasus.

"Getting FSC certificate by JSC «Forest» is an important stage for development of the Adygea forest industry. It’s an opportunity to work in new markets and it also increases environmental and social responsibility of enterprises. At the moment we are considering the possibility of preparing other forest companies in the Republic of Adygea for FSC certification," said Rashid Belmekhov, the Head of Forestry Administration of the Republic of Adygea.

Representatives of forest companies from Russian Caucasus get to learn what is FSC certification for the first time - Kirov, 2015
Representatives of forest companies from Russian Caucasus get to learn what is FSC certification for the first time - Kirov, 2015
Ruslan Zaichenko, head of JSC "Forest"
Discussion of FSC-certification in Adygea, 2016
(с) WWF-Russia

Development of FSC-certification, within the framework of "WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests" began in the Russian Caucasus in 2015 when forest companies fr om Kirov Region shared their experience with forest companies from the Republic of Adygea and Krasnodar Region. Later biodiversity conservation during logging and HCV identification were discussed on several meetings with local forest companies, regional forestry authorities, environmental NGOs and FSC-certification experts fr om other regions of Russia. 

As the result, the largest forest lease holder of the Republic of Adygea - JSC «Forest» - agreed to start preparing for FSC-certification in August 2016. WWF-Russia supported JSC «Forest» and provided the company with information and expert assistance throughout the preparation process. Independent certification audit procedure took place in summer 2019. Now this company is owner of the first FSC-certificate in the Russian Caucasus. It means that JSC «Forest» works according to the international standards. 

"FSC-certification is an important tool for biodiversity conservation in the Russian Caucasus. We would like to see this positive experience applied by other responsible forest companies in the Republic of Adygea in future," said Elena Cherkasova, forest project coordinator at WWF-Russia’s Northern Caucasus Regional Office.

«The Russian Caucasus is a unique forest region that has some complex problems. Hundreds of rare species of flora and fauna could be found here, almost all forest ecosystems of the Russian Caucasus have great ecological value. On the other hand, many tree species are economically valuable and very important for forest business. For example, the only areas in Russia wh ere beech grows are the Russian Caucasus and small area in the Kaliningrad Region. At the same time, the Russian Caucasus is in focus for many environmental organizations due to illegal logging here. It’s very difficult to find a balance between social, ecological and economic functions of forests in the Russian Caucasus. We believe that FSC certification will help to find such a compromise and will contribute to responsible forest management in the region,» explained Nikolay Shmatkov, the Director of FSC-Russia.

FSC audit at JSC "Forest" leased ared
(c) WWF-Russia

WWF-Russia, FSC Russia and IKEA hope that first FSC-certificate in the region will contribute to sustainable management of forests in the Russian Caucasus and to finding a balance between conservation of ecologically valuable forests and cost-effective forest business.

«We are pleased with the successful FSC certification in the Republic of Adygea within the framework of WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests. This is the first step for implementation of sustainable forest management in the southern Russia where lots of valuable tree species grow. World forests are limited, and we believe that through sustainable forest management the number of illegal logging cases will be reduced, local economy will be supported and new jobs will be created. Responsible forest management is critical for protection of world ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and mitigation of climate change impacts. Our consumers and our employees are concerned about forest management all over the world.  IKEA is one of the major wood consumers,  we feel responsible for it, and we have opportunity to have a positive impact on forest management. 35 million hectares of forests have already been FSC certified within the framework of WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests,» said Konstantin Agapov, Forestry Manager at IKEA Purchasing Services Russia LLC.

Headline and preview photos: (c) WWF-Russia

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