WWF: Industrial forests can even grow in the North
The event brought together over 50 experts from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Karelia, Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk region, and Finland. The roundtable fostered an open dialogue of FSC, forest industry, science, environmental organizations and government agencies. All stakeholders were involved in the discussion on developing a national standard for FSC and learned about the experience in the conservation of intact forest landscapes in the Arkhangelsk region, Komi Republic, Siberia and the Far East.
“For the first time, Russia is introducing clear indicators: what area of intact forest landscapes timber producers are required to save,” says Andrey Schegolev, head of WWF Arkhangelsk office. “It is important to understand that the more efficiently they save the natural environment when planning forestry activities and timber production, the smaller can be the area of intact forest landscapes that they have to completely exclude from forest use.”
The conservation of intact forest landscapes is one of the main requirements for the voluntary certification under the FSC scheme, and now Russia is developing its national standard that will require all current and potential certificate holders to comply. The participants voiced their recommendations at the roundtable, in particular:
- Ensuring the conservation of most valuable parts of the Dvina-Pinega forest;
- Giving the status of a National Forest Heritage to the most valuable intact forests;
- Involving government agencies in the negotiations to find compromise solutions related to the conservation of intact forest landscapes, especially when creating specially protected nature areas;
- Assessing economic opportunities for the conservation of intact forest landscapes when conducting the inventory of the forest fund;
- Developing landscape ecological plans for areas of intact forests that have not been excluded from forest use;
- Developing plans to shift forest leaseholders from extensive to intensive forest use in order to decrease the dependence on the resources of intact forests.
In addition, the participants of the roundtable pointed out that the strengthening and specification of FSC requirements on the conservation of intact forest landscapes are not an obstacle for the export of Russian timber due to the voluntary nature of the FSC forest certification. At the same time, if a business cannot comply with these requirements, it may lose the certificate and have to search for new sales markets, which can have negative socio-economic impacts.
After the roundtable the experts visited the Kholmogorskoye forestry and the sites where a big timber producing enterprise logged native forests and conducted forest restoration with alternative technological methods in the 1970s. The efficiency of the forest restoration implemented with different methods demonstrated that even in the Arkhangelsk region it is possible to have an efficiently and intensively run forestry as opposed to the extensive development of intact forests. The participants pointed out that the current approaches to developing intensive forest use don’t stimulate businesses to make long-term investments in the forest fund, especially in conducting high-quality young forest thinning, which can lead to even further depletion of forests.
The participants included the conclusions of the roundtable in the resolution that will be sent to the Russian Federal Agency for Forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia and FSC-Russia.