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POBEDITELI  Soldiers of the Great War

How we see sustainable forestry in Russia?

Adopted at the meeting of nongovernmental
organizations representatives in town of
Pushkino, Moscow Oblast, July 11 2000

Position of nongovernmental organizations on key criteria of sustainable forestry in russia

1. Compliance with the Russian Legislation

All requirements of the laws of the Russian Federation On Environment Protection, On Protected Nature Areas, On Environmental Impact Assessment, On Wildlife, Forest Code and Water Code shall be obligatory fulfilled. All contradictions between the requirements of special instructions or other administrative regulations and the above laws shall be considered in favor of these laws.

2. Allowable Cut Level

Allowable cut level shall practically provide sustainable forest yield in long run. The overuse of allowable cut level and officially approved allowable annual cut is not allowed for a whole forest under consideration as well as for each of forest categories, for which these levels should be determined separately according to the forest legislation.

Official allowable annual cut and overall planning yield by all logging operations and by each management section shall not decrease with time if completely used during several revisionary periods all together exceeding half of the rotation period for a particular management section or during the whole period of lease (for long-term lease). The formula used for calculating the allowable cut should be the same in the beginning and the end of the period. At the same time, this level shall provide such allocation of plots within the allowable cut that the time of coupe contiguity, distribution of harvesting by winter and summer seasons, area infrastructure development and economic accessibility of forest resource during the whole period or lease time are taken into consideration. The only exception is management sections, whose area shall decrease in accordance with long term goals of forest management.

Official allowable annual cut and overall planning yield by all types of logging shall be calculated separately for a whole area and for economically accessible forests. Economically accessible forests are forests of commercial resource (Forest Fund) except forests with low standing timber reserves (from 60 to 90 cbm per ha depending on region) as well as isolated remnants (less than 25 ha in area) of mature forests among areas cut down by logging enterprises more than 10 years ago. The overuse of allowable cut level is not allowed for a whole forest as well as for economically accessible forest.

All forests, in which forest use is prohibited by legislation, shall be excluded from calculation of allowable cut level (Thus, all protected areas, in which final felling is prohibited by their regime, shall be excluded from calculation of allowable final cut).

3. Forest use planning

All logging should be completely prohibited in the following areas:

  • large tracts of old-growth forests greater than 50 thousand ha - roadless intact natural ecosystems - which do not contain functioning roads and other communications and permanent settlements, which were not clear cut during the last 60 years and were unaffected by land clearing and other essential human impacts;
  • tracts of old-growth forests from 3 to 50 thousand hectares in size, whose conservation value is proved by relevant onground surveys;
  • fragments of old-growth forests as identified during special onground surveys (criteria to be developed at regional level);
  • key habitats of rare, threatened and endangered species, which may suffer from logging activities;
  • other forests of special conservation, scientific, cultural and environmental value when confirmed by relevant scientific research and whose value can be lost because of logging;
  • subtundra forests and forests proposed for inclusion in this category as recommended by Northern Forestry Institute, beside the use of their timber by local population exclusively for local needs.

All protected nature areas (PAs) shall be accounted for in forest management plans for the area managing by enterprise and in other plans for forest use. It is not allowed to plan and perform any logging operations, forest management and other activities if prohibited by a regime of the respective PA.

Areas officially planned under establishment of PA shall be reserved (temporarily excluded from forest use) unless a decision will be taken in accordance with order established by the legislation on organization or on refusal from organization of PA on the area under consideration.

Water protective zones with width no less than it is prescribed by the Water Code of the Russian Federation and the decision by the Government of the Russian Federation no. 1404 of November 23 1996 shall be established along all streamsides, lakes, ponds and high bogs. Restrictions on forest use in these zones should no weaker than it is prescribed by the above documents.

4. Logging methods

Selection logging, which provides continuous maintenance of forest cover at logging sites, shall be used always when it is permitted by stand conditions. When selection cut methods cannot be used in required volume because of management or technical problems, a special program approved at the level of a forest managing enterprise shall exist clearly aimed at transition to selection logging methods during no more than 5 years.

If stand conditions do not permit selection logging, small-size strip clearcuts shall be used to promote natural forest regeneration with seeds derived from neighboring forest walls. In a case when a forest managing enterprise is unable to perform strip clearcutting by economic reasons, a special program approved at the level of forest managing enterprise shall exist clearly aimed at transition from ordinary clearcuts to selection logging methods during no more than 5 years.

The size of clearcut shall not exceed 10 ha (except cases when the necessity of larger size of a logging site is convincingly proved). If the logging site borders a nonforest area or forest under the age of seed production along one of its long sides, the size of logging site shall not exceed 5 ha.

The time of contiguity of coupes shall guarantee formation of closed stands and forest restoration throughout the logging site before a new coupe will be established next to it. Logging of this coupe is possible next year after the area of neighboring logging site will be officially transferred into a category of forest, or later.

Trees at logging sites, which do not suit for production of merchantable assortments (whose felling and hauling is economically inefficient) and, when left standing, cannot seriously worsen the sanitary situation in neighboring forest, while being capable of reduction of adverse environmental consequences of logging, shall be left standing. Particularly, the following elements of forest (or their parts) shall be left standing if their logging and hauling are unworthy with respect to economic and sanitary conditions:

  • overmature (old) trees of deciduous species, primarily, asps;
  • long standing dead trees;
  • trees of deciduous species (e.g., oak, linden, maple, elm etc.).

Destruction of slash residues and stumps is permitted only when this measure is unavoidable with purposes of fire prevention or pest control. In all other cases, slash residues shall be dispersed over the logging site - to be used as natural organic fertilizers.

Tree hauling over lakes and streambeds as well as through floodplains of small rivers and springs as well as storage of fuel and lubricants and technical means in floodplains and on ice of lakes should be prohibited.

5. Forest plantations and forest regeneration

Areas under plantation forestry - artificially established stands with intensive tending - shall not exceed 30% of area under consideration

Forest plantations shall alternate with forests of natural origin taking into consideration natural landscape features.

The priority shall be given to polydominant forest plantations with participation of deciduous species as compared to monodominant plantations.

Beyond the limits of areas used under plantation forestry, the priority shall be given to natural regeneration as compared to artificial regeneration, except the following cases:

  • when natural regeneration is failed long ago because of human disturbances or natural peculiarities;
  • when original species replaced by secondary ones are being restored (e.g., deciduous forests).

Only aboriginal species shall be used for artificial regeneration, including establishment of forest plantations. Introduction of alien species (except urban forests) and genetically modified species is not allowed. The only exception is reintroduction - restoration of species earlier occurred on this area (e.g., deciduous species, which disappeared in some regions).

6. Forest land reclamation and use of chemical and biological preparations

Drainage of bogged lands with purpose of forestry shall be prohibited, except when it is necessary for restoration of hydrological regime disturbed by human activity or natural disasters.

In fight against pest outbreaks, the use of biological control measures shall have priority over the use of chemical preparations. Application of chemical preparations is permitted on exceptional basis when the inefficiency of biological control measures is proved. Such proofs are the subject of environmental impact assessment procedure.

Any use of pesticides (including biological measures) to fight against pest outbreaks shall pass environmental impact assessment procedure.

If the use of chemical preparations is unavoidable, the priority shall be given to such compounds and methods of their application, which have minimum effect on environment and forest ecosystems. Comparison of various compounds and methods is the subject of environmental impact assessment procedure.

Application of any herbicides in forest management shall be completely and unambiguously excluded (beside forest nurseries).

The use of the following chemical preparations shall be prohibited:

  • World Health Organization Type 1A and 1B and chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides;
  • pesticides that are persistent, toxic or whose derivatives remain biologically active and accumulate in the food chain beyond their intended use;
  • as well as any pesticides banned by international agreement.

The use of fertilizers in forestry is allowable only in forest plantations and when reforesting nonforest lands as well as in exceptional cases when the necessity of their use is proved.

7. Public control and rights of local population

Information on forest use and forest management shall be transparent and available to public. Nongovernmental organizations as well as persons specially authorized by meetings of local communities shall have access to the following information concerning use of forest resources on area under consideration:

  • forest inventory data independently of the form of their storage;
  • logging plans (at short term lease) or forest management plans (at long term lease), including data on plot size and allocation and on forestry technologies;
  • copies of logging permits;
  • materials of logging claims;
  • materials justifying the transfer of forest lands into nonforest with purposes other than forestry and the decisions about such transfers;
  • revision of felling records;
  • materials justifying the use of sanitary logging.

At area under consideration there shall not be plots factually or formally closed for attendance by people.

Local people shall be informed about the borders of the leased area of a particular forest managing enterprise and on its activity plans as well as on people rights on use of forest resources within the leased areas.

If local individuals express their interest in knowing allocation of plots, on which the enterprise performs logging on the basis of short term use or which are destined or assigned to logging, the enterprise shall provide them of such information.

A mechanism for accounting for local public opinion on forest management and use shall be created.

If local people possess required qualifications, they shall have priority in employment for activities planned by a forest managing enterprise. If special training is required or planned by a forest enterprise, local people shall have priority in taking this training at the cost of this enterprise.

D. E. Aksenov, Taiga Rescue Network, Russian coordinator; Socio-Ecological Union, expert
V. A. Dmitriev, WWF RPO, Forest Certification Coordinator
A. C. Zakharenkov, Center for Forest Certification, Chair of the Council, Khabarovsk Krai
M. L. Karpachevskiy, Biodiversity Conservation Center, Forest Program Coordinator
Yu. A. Pautov, Komi Working Group on Forest Certification, Coordinator
A. V. Ptichnikov, WWF RPO, Forest Program Coordinator
R. V. Sungurov, Arkhangelsk Working Group on Forest Certification, member
V. A. Chuprov, National Working Group on Voluntary Forest Certification, Chair
A. V. Yakovlev, Center for Forest Certification, Novgorod Oblast, Director
A. Yu. Yaroshenko, Greenpeace Russia, Forest Campaigner

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