What we do
Regions
Премия рунета 2017

WWF research determined Russian regions which actively disclose forest data

18 may 2022
WWF-Russia and ACRA RM present the results of the "Study of the openness of the forest data in Russia".

In recent years, the amount of the forest data available to the public has increased significantly. However, even today, a significant part of the information that by law should be publicly available remains closed to the public or is presented in a form that makes it difficult to find and process. At the same time, the Forest Code of the Russian Federation and a number of other regulations require the disclosure of the forest data, since public access to such information guarantees respect for citizens' rights to reliable and timely environmental information, and also contributes to improving its quality through public monitoring and open independent assessments. Moreover, it also helps ensure effective control and supervision of forest management, including preventing illegal logging.

In the course of the study conducted for all the regions of the Russian Federation, only publicly available information about forests for 2017-2021 posted by the regional executive authorities on their websites and on the Open Data Portal of the Russian Federation was analyzed. The study aims to increase the level of openness of the forest data and involve society in forest management.

"With this study, we want to draw the attention of the federal and regional authorities, as well as the general public to the need for public access to open, high-quality, and up-to-date information about the forests at the regional level. The disclosure of these data will contribute to the sustainable management of Russian forests and development of the forest industry, as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between the state and society. Of course, not all the issues related to improving the quality of the forest data can be solved at the regional level. However, this does not negate the need for gradual improvements both through the development of the federal legislation and through efforts at the regional level," says Andrey Shegolev, WWF-Russia's Forest Program Director.

"Improving the quality of the forest data disclosure within the framework of the current regulation is the main goal set by the study. The openness of such data is an important tool for informing the society about the state of the forests and the activities of the forest management authorities, and also contributes to improving the effectiveness of public control and the possibility of independent assessments," notes Alexey Mukhin, General Director of ACRA RM.

The organizers of the study are confident that further improvement of the measures to ensure the openness of the forest data, both public and state, is of paramount importance for the whole society.

RESULTS

Total score. The results of the study are shown on the schematic map. The lowest value of the final assessment shows the highest quality of filling the websites of the regional authorities with the forest data.
(c) WWF-Russia

Ten regions received less than 2 points, which means the maximum quality of the information content of the sites. The first places were taken by Primorsky, Khabarovsk and Arkhangelsk Regions, and the Republic of Kalmykia, which, according to experts, make significant efforts to ensure the rights of the citizens to access high-quality and up-to-date forest data in these regions. The quality of the information content of the sites in these regions can assessed at the moment as very high. The Republic of Khakassia, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Tambov Region and the Republic of Adygea are at the end of the list, as they do not even post most of the information required by the law.

"The Website for a regional forest management authority is not only its "face" or representation on the network, but also an important mechanism for informing and involving citizens in forest management. Unfortunately, not all the subjects fully use the potential of the Internet. Correcting the situation does not require too much effort, since the data that is not publicly available is collected by the regional forest management bodies without fail. The lack of the data on the sites, most likely, indicates only a lack of attention to this issue. We hope that the conducted research will help both the regions themselves and the Federal Forestry Agency to improve this important mechanism of informing and involving society in the process of forest management," notes Andrey Shchegolev, WWF-Russia's Forest Program Director.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The main problem highlighted by the study is the lack of the forest data in some regions, the public availability of which is mandatory in accordance with the requirements of the legislation. This applies not only to the spatial data, the absence of which can be explained by the relatively recent adoption of the requirements for their availability, but also the data such as the templates of the state forest register and open data sets. The obligation to post the latest ones has been in effect for many years, however, many regions still do not post it in full and up-to-date.

WWF-Russia calls on the Federal Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia to strengthen control over compliance with the requirements of the legislation by the regions and improve the regulatory framework of openness of the forest data. The full list of WWF-Russia’s recommendations is published in the text of the study and submitted to the relevant forest management authorities.

THE STUDY

The study was conducted by ACRA RM based on the data aggregated by WWF-Russia Forest Program during February 2022. The experts analyzed the templates of the state forest register and open data sets related to the forests, geodata (spatial or cartographic data), forest planning and design documents, as well as additional information about the forests.

The study includes the forests data (the obligation to place them on the websites of the regional executive authorities is directly stipulated by law) as well as the information posted on the initiative of the regional authorities on a voluntary basis. The study did not take into account any confidential data or data provided on request, as well as the data posted on the websites of the federal authorities, including the website of the Federal Forestry Agency and the websites of its subordinate institutions.

Preview photo: (c) Konstantin Kobyakov \ WWF-Russia. Headline photo: (c) Oleg Kabalik \ WWF-Russia.

Full text and results of the study (in Russian)

For additional information please contact
Forest Program communication coordinator
Project coordinator of High Conservation Value Forests