WWF is alarmed by the potential increase in mandatory logging
The official letter of the Federal Forestry Agency claims that a bill is being drafted to oblige forest area lessees to log at least 70% of AAC. WWF-Russia has prepared an explanation why the adoption of this law without first addressing the deeper problems of the forest sector will lead to negative consequences for all Russian forests. WWF-Russia sent to the Federal Forestry Agency the analytical note on the potential danger of adopting the law.
The AAC is the amount of wood a lessee can log annually on their forest sites without depleting them. According to the experts, on average, over the past decades, this amount in leased forests is used by less than 60%.
"It is obvious that the legislators believe that the main reason for this situation is either the low efficiency of individual loggers, or unfair competition: situations when companies lease more forests than they can effectively manage, that is, on the principle of not using them themselves and of not giving them to others," says Evgeny Chuvasov, Head of the sustainable forestry department at WWF-Russia Amur branch.
The new law, as the lawmakers think, should remove inefficient managers from the market and attract more interested businesses to their place, which in turn will lead to an increase in budget revenues by increasing the collection of VAT, and will also contribute to the creation of new jobs.
"This law would really be the right decision if low efficiency and unfair competition were the main reason why loggers use only 60% of the AAC. But in reality, this is due to much more serious reasons. When calculating the AAC, large areas of inaccessible forests are included in the calculation, which leads to an increase in the permitted volumes of logging. There is an inexplicable paradox: logically, with such a chronic "under-cutting" of forests, there should be more and more of them, but in reality, most of the accessible forests have been depleted and the transport shoulder of 300-400 km becomes common practice for loggers. In other words, the current approach to setting the permitted amount of logging only creates the appearance of underutilization, while in practice it is overstated, " explains Evgeny Chuvasov.
The adoption of the new law without solving the above-mentioned problems will only accelerate the depletion of the Russian forests, lead to the undermining of the raw materials of the forest complex, which in turn will put under even greater threat the rapidly disappearing pristine forests that have not yet been developed by people and are home to many rare species of animals and plants. In this regard, WWF-Russia calls to abandon the consideration of this bill and start developing new approaches to calculating AAC, which would guarantee a truly sustainable use of the forest, and conservation of HCVs.
Preview and headline photos: (c) WWF-Russia