The State Duma supported WWF’s proposals on reforms in non-timber forest resources management
On 16 November 2017, the State Duma held parliamentary hearings “10th anniversary of the Forest Code of the Russian Federation. Results, problems, prospects”. One of the important issues discussed at the hearings was legal regulation of harvesting edible non-timber forest products and collection of medicinal herbs.
of edible non-timber forest products and medicinal herbs is a large sector of forestry
management so called non-timber forest use. Hundreds of thousands people in
Russia from the regions with taiga forests are employed in this sector. Often,
this is the only source of their income. Social aspect of this type of forest
use is very important and discussed at the federal level.
WWF-Russia and the experts of non-commercial partnership “Union of processors of wild herbs” many times pointed out at the gaps in the legislations concerning this sphere that lead to environmental, social and economic problems. Similar hearings were held in the State Duma in April 2016. Most of proposals were prepared and submitted that time, however, they have not yet implemented by the Duma.
situation with harvesting Korean pine nuts is very complicated. There are a lot
of cases of confrontation between the harvesting groups as well as between local
people. Both of them extract this resource basing on the existing right for
harvesting for own needs. Thus, neither federal no provincial budgets receive
funds from this activity, but have only commercial interest. As a result,
harvesting of Korean pine nuts is carried out in industrial scale and not
limited by the law.
On the other hand, with the existing system, legal processors – forest fund leasers are restricted in their rights. They have no right to stop “wild” harvesters from entering their lease, because the law does not imply such regulations for non-timber forest products, and the supervision over introducing these norms is not delegated to provincial level.
Priority measures suggested by WWF-Russia :
- To fix 15 September - 31 December as the exact period of harvesting Korean pine nuts;
- To delegate the rights to introduce the norms on harvesting for own needs to the provincial level;
- To create the working group in Primorsky province to elaborate the final proposals;
- To initiate on the federal level the elaboration of legislative acts necessary for regulating the sphere of non-timber forest products use.
Unfortunately, in the current situation the sphere of non-timber forest products use is not developing in the right direction. In fact, thousands of tons of the product harvested for own needs is exported to China exceeding in volumes the turnover of other spheres of regional economy (in 2014 rich in crop in Primorsky province it is estimated at 4,5 billion rubles). As a result, the turnover of Korean pine nuts brings profits to the corrupted dark business, but not to the provincial budget.
Headline photo: (c) Ivan Egorchev / WWF-Russia; Preview photo:(с) Frank Moerschel / WWF-Russia.