Russian Forest Sector is Learning to Manage Forests Properly
The field workshop of the Boreal Forest Platform, launched by WWF-Russia and other partners as an open discussion platform for the exchange of experience in the field of sustainable forestry, was held in Arkhangelsk Region and the Komi Republic from 24 to 28 June. The partners of the workshop were JSC Ilim Group and Mondi Group, the leaders in the application of the best practices in the sustainable forest management in Russia, who showed the participants their forest sites, and shared their own experience of efficient and sustainable management in secondary forests, taking into account the new regulatory legal framework.
The field workshop “New approaches to sustainable forest management and their practical implementation within the forestry regulatory framework” was attended by the forest sector experts from Russia and Sweden, representatives of the largest Russian timber companies, scientific community, Russian and international non-governmental environmental organizations, as well as the federal and regional authorities from the Republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk and Tomsk Regions.
«It is not the first time for Mondi Syktyvkar to be actively involved in organizing workshops of the Boreal Forest Platform. The first such workshop in 2014 was also held at similar facilities of Mondi Syktyvkar and Ilim Group. However, there is a fundamental difference between them. During the field trip in 2014, just first uncertain attempts of application of certain practices of sustainable intensive forest management of secondary forests were considered. Now both host companies feel very confident in this area, are developing rapidly, and are quite good at all aspects of sustainable intensive forest management of secondary forest, as now we are already sharing our extensive experience and best practices with other companies and forestry units. It is also very important that such environmental organizations as WWF-Russia, WWF International, Greenpeace Russia, and Silver Taiga attended the workshop. I would highly appreciate to see more active participation and involvement of the authorities in solving problems,» says Denis Popov, Group Natural Resources Manager at Mondi.
he participants discussed the best examples of practical implementation of the sustainable forestry, as well as some legal and regulatory barriers that prevent its productive development in Russia, and the ways to overcome them. Attention was also paid to the most efficient methods of biodiversity conservation during logging. Following the discussions, some recommendations and proposals are to be prepared for the decision makers in the Russian forest sector. However, in order to scale up the existing experience, it is essential to provide the necessary incentives from the forest owner – the state.
«Our company believes that it was the right step to create Boreal Forest Platform as a platform for discussing all aspects related to the implementation of the sustainable intensive forest management of secondary forestss. The Platform's field workshops are certainly very useful. The facilities and forest sites that the participants visit during these field trips allow all the stakeholders to take a comprehensive look at every aspect of the transition to the sustainable intensive forest management of secondary forests, discuss complex, problematic issues and find the best ways to solve them. This all creates a basis for further changes in the legal and regulatory acts that should be more consistent and dynamic. The first steps in the transition to the sustainable intensive forest management model in secondary forests have already been made, but in the future I would like to see some progressive development,» says Ilya Verveiko, Head of forest policy department of Ilim Group.
Some working discussions and practical exercises were devoted to the Swedish experience of the sustainable forest management, presented by the experts of the Swedish Forest Agency. The Russian participants got acquainted with the international experience of forest zoning – Green Targeting, and experience in the planning of best management practice for forestry along small streams – Blue Targeting, which was developed within the EU Interreg project Water Management in Baltic Forests, WAMBAF.
«It is important that the sustainable forest management will consider the natural values of the water. It is essential that the operator in the forest has a good knowledge about the water system and can plan the forestry so that it will not harm the stream or the life beneath the surface. Experiences from Sweden suggests that the Blue Targeting tool can be of help when designing a riparian forest sufficient enough. Therefore, we have come to Russia to explain the impact of forestry activities on the state of forest streams and to share our experience. And not only with the participants of the Platform field workshop, as on the eve of June 21, we also held a separate workshop with WWF-Russia on this topic in Arkhangelsk. In the field conditions, of course, we had more opportunities, as we did not just talk about the methodology, but also together with the participants performed several illustrative practical exercises in the forest. This is very convenient and efficient, as the whole system, both Green Targeting, and Blue Targeting, is built on field data collection and analysis,» says Linnéa Jägrud, Swedish Forest Agency expert.
The data obtained in these field check-list tests is used in Sweden for competent planning of forest activities and they help preserve aquatic ecosystems in the forest.
The objective of the Boreal Forest Platform is to provide a discussion site for participants to exchange experience and discuss the best practices in the field of the sustainable forest management that help not only achieve high efficiency in wood production, but also preserve biodiversity and social values of forests.
«We call on all participants of the forest sector to cooperate, launch an open dialogue, discuss topical issues, and search for constructive solutions. Every year the Platform grows, today it has 22 participants. We regularly invite leading foreign experts to participate in our workshops so that the Russian timber industry can get acquainted with the best foreign practices of the sustainable forestry,» says Alexander Kostenko, Boreal Forest Platform coordinator, WWF-Russia.