Local activists from forest districts of the Komi Republic (Priluzje, Udora and Kortkeros) together with the representatives of Silver Taiga Foundation took part in the training seminar organized by the Russian National FSC office in Ustja district of the Arkhangelsk region.
The first day of the seminar was devoted to the introduction of sustainable forest management principals, FSC activities and its office in Russia, Russian national forest management standard according to FSC, each of the forest stakeholders’ rights and possibilities. Round-table discussion “Forest sector of the north-west of Russia and participation of the population in forest management” was also held during the first day. The issue was mainly presented by the example of Ustja district. Nevertheless, all participants of the seminar took an active part in the discussion. There were representatives of the local communities, non-governmental organizations, timber companies, scientific institutions from Arkhangelsk, Leningrad, Vologda, Kostroma, Karelia and Komi regions.
It should be specially mentioned that the representatives of the local self-government such as the head of Ustja district and his deputy for social issues, heads of almost every village municipality were interested in the discussion.
The participants from other regions were surprised by the idea of Natural Park creation in Ustja district. This idea was presented by the local population and non-governmental ecological organizations and it is focused on conservation of ecologically valuable and important for the local population forest areas. The district administration has already supported the idea. Currently the negotiations are being held between the initiators of the Natural Park creation and representatives of timber companies which occupy the area of the potential Natural Park. The agreement has been reached with some timber companies having FSC-certificate. There are three FSC-certified companies in Ustja district – Dmitriev forest industry complex, JSC; Ustja forest industry complex, Ltd.; Ilim Group, JSC (branch in Koryazhma).
During the second day the participants of the seminar visited two different areas in the forest. One of them was a cutting area of the local entrepreneur. By the example of this area the participants discussed the consequences of cuttings including the mistakes of the logging company. Another area is still uncut and there were different points of view concerning the given area use, presented by the participants of the discussion. Despite of different opinions, there is a possibility to reach an agreement between the interested parties concerning the given area use.
The seminar was also important due to experience exchange in the field of forest management including the participation in the certification process. This issue was presented by representatives of WWF office in Arkhangelsk, Arkhangelsk environmental initiative, Silver Taiga Foundation, Vologda branch of Karelian ecological organization “SPOK”, eco-settlement “Grishino” from Leningrad region and others including the representatives of timber companies. The experience of cooperation between Mondi Syktyvkar and local population presented by Marina Severenchuk interested all the participants of the seminar.
Besides, the experience of the Komi Republic concerning different forest stakeholders’ cooperation in the field of forest resources management gained under Komi Model Forest project was very popular. Presentations made by Silver Taiga Foundation coordinator Valentina Semyashkina, head of indigenous people community “Udorachi” Albert Loginov, representatives of Community Forest Councils from Priluzje and Kortkeros districts of Komi Konstantin Serditov and Vasilij Mikhailov interested all the participants of the seminar.
As it is known the problems that worry forest stakeholders in different regions are similar but ways of solution of these problems may differ. For example, activists of eco-settlement “Grishino” have reached an agreement obliging timber companies to change their cutting system on important for the population forest areas. The indigenous people community “Udorachi” and Mondi Syktyvkar signed a voluntary Agreement concerning interactions in forest areas use in 2010. The situation is different in Ustja district. Natural Park is going to be created to the benefit of the local population. Probably, there are some other ways out coming from the cooperation of the parties. Under circumstances, where forest legislation doesn’t respect the interests neither of local population nor of local forest users (small business), FSC-certification gives an opportunity to take into account the interests of all the parties and to reach an agreement.
The participants of the seminar are thankful to the administration and community activists of Ustja district for hospitality and interested participation in the seminar. They are also thankful to National FSC office (first of all to Tatjana Yanitskaya and Antonina Kulyasova) for the seminar initiative. The seminar was well organized and useful.
Photo: Vyacheslav Alferov
Translated by Anastasia Popova