Arkhangelsk Forest Forum was organized on 3-5 April to discuss questions on forestry planning and establishment of new protected areas to conserve old-growth forests. Main theme of the annual forum was nature conservation since 2013 is the Year of Environment in the Russian Federation.
During the forum, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Arkhangelsk branch of WWF Russia organized round tables on forest resources as well as economic and environmental aspects of forestry planning. The round tables were attended by representatives from:
- federal and local forest management authorities
- timber companies
- nature conservation and scientific organizations.
Certification aims to secure intact forests
Many presentations discussed the fulfillment FSC requirements to protect high conservation value forests. All the major timber companies in the Arkhangelsk Region are FSC certified and according to the requirements of certification, they are obligated to secure intact forests.
Head of the Agency of Natural Resources and Environment of the Arkhangelsk Region Kirill Sinitsky stated that costs of establishment and management of new protected areas are significantly lower than the potential financial loss in the event of cancellation of the FSC certificate for companies with non-compliance with the certification requirements.
Cooperation to develop protected area network
Participants of the round tables agreed to establish a working group to develop the protected area network of regional significance on forest lands. The working group will include representatives of all related stakeholders. Among the priorities was also mentioned the development of the regional law on protected areas which should form the order of establishment and reservation of lands for regional protected areas.
WWF reminded that negotiations between timber companies and non-governmental nature conservation organizations have already produced a number of moratorium agreements to protect forests in the area between the Northern Dvina and Pinega – the territory of the BPAN pilot project in Arkhangelsk Region. The planned Dvina Forest protected areas cover 480,000 hectares and the area represents Europe’s largest old-growth spruce forest. According to WWF, it is the the key area for creation of new protected areas.