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10.04.2011
The Arkhangelsk Forestry Forum (April, 6-8) extend its limits

The International Forestry Forum is one of the major events in the timber industry complex of the North-Western Federal District. This event coincided with the International Year of Forests proclaimed by the resolution of the United Nation's Organization.

During the first day of event the research conference «The sustainable Forest Exploitation: challenges, solutions, outlooks» took place. For the first time a solid research background was prepared for such event. The representatives of the Northern Arctic Federal University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Saint-Petersburg Forestry Research Institute took place in this conference. The forest exploitation has been developing for a long time in Arkhangelsk Region. That is why the timber harvesting shall be planned for years to come. The reforestation is also of a high importance.

Yury Trubin, the Minister for Natural Resources and the Timber Industry of Arkhangelsk Region, told that many regional companies undertake a voluntary certification according to the international system of Forest Stewardship Council, moreover, the project of the model forest «Taiga Belomorskaya» (taiga is a boreal coniferous forest) is going to be implemented. The model forest implies the conduction of different types of forest exploitation activities at the same territory, such as timber harvesting, recreational jobs and other types of exploitation taking into account the principles of sustainable forest exploitation.

According to Per Angelstam, the professor for the forestry industry and management of natural resources at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, it is a challenging task to combine the timber harvesting and reforestation. Nevertheless, the both sectors shall establish the close cooperation. The expert has named several tools of the sustainable forestry exploitation among them are the forestry certification and model forests that create favorable conditions for inexhaustible and well-balanced forest management.

Marin Elbakidze, the associate professor (docent) at the Swedish School of Forest Management, has supported the ideas of her colleague: «Presently, only two countries - Sweden and Russia - have legally declared the principles of sustainable forest exploitation. At the same time each country has its advantages and disadvantages». Marin Elbakidze has named the advantages of the Swedish concept being an economical part and the Russian as an ecological constituent. For example, Russia has developed more strict indicators for reforestation and preservation of biological diversity.

According to Vasily Tsvetkov, the professor of the Chair for Silviculture and Soil Sciences of the Northern Atctic Federal University, the North-West Region of Russia shall remain for a long time the timber harvesting and timber processing region. «The northern dwellers are predesigned to develop the forest exploitation by the mother nature itself».

According to him, the potential of the forestry lands is presently used less than for a half. The timber raw stand is deteriorating fast. The actual expenses for reforestation remain insignificant. The woodworking companies and exporters are not interested in reforestation though the raw materials constitute the majors funds for the timber processing companies. All other sectors of economy are taking care of their capital assets making considerable investments in them, but the timber industry complex has not yet developed such approach, noted the scientist.

A considerable loss to the sustainable forest exploitation is made by illegal timber harvesting, acknoweledged the participants of the round table seminar «The countermeasures to the illegal timber turnover. The FLEG process implementation in Russia». Both developed industrial countries and emerging economies experience the same concerns regarding the crimes in timber industry complex, connected particularly with illegal timber harvesting, illegal timber trade and bribes, noted Marina Smetanina, the coordinator of ENPI FLEG programme implementation in Russia from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The fighting against the illegal forest explotation is considered as one of the priority national tasks.

The specialists of Rosleshoz have presented the Concept of the State System for Record-Keeping and Control of the Legality of Roundwoood, the development of such programme is a logical consolidation of the work conducted during many years and aimed at the amelioration of the system of record keeping of harvested wood and the control of round wood turnover. The introduction of this system is aimed at enhancement of export of wooden items, the use inside our country of legally harvested roundwood, the non-admission of their confusion with illegal wooden items during harvesting, processing and its export.

From 2008 Arkhangelsk Region has been conducting a solid work on fighting against the illegal wood harvesting. The most challenging districts regarding this aspect are Plesetsk and Velsk districts. «The joint efforts have resulted in either closing of small woodworking and harvesting companies that worked illegally or their legalization, - explained Roman Kabanikhin, the Vice-Prime Minister for Natural Resources and Forestry Resources of Arkhangelsk Region. - The tax assignments to the budgets of different levels have increased». The number of illegal cuts in Plesetsk District in 2010 decreased by a factor of 2,5.

Alexander Savkin, the Head of the Regional Committee of Trade-Unions of employees working in timber industry sector, has commented that the fighting with the illegal timber harvesting and «illegal timber harvesters» is one of the priority tasks. The illegal timber harvesting companies are, as a rule, the shadow short-living companies, that employ a cheap labour force. In such organizations the major part of salary is paid in "white envelopes" (without payment of any taxes), the safety and the culture of labour are not observed and this have negative implications on the well-being of the workers. Moreover, the illegal companies displace from the market the law-abiding timber harvesting companies, cause huge losses to the regional budget.

Business Support Bureau "Runa"

10.04.2011

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