2012 / 05 / 15

ZAO Zapkarelles’ FSC Certificate Revoked.

One of the leading timber companies in Karelia, ZAO Zapkarelles, has lost its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) forest management and chain-of-custody certificates. The withdrawal of the certificates resulted from the annual audit of Zapkarelles’ forest management practices, which was carried out last year by the accounting firm NEPCon. As stated in the official auditors’ report, the Karelia company has systematically failed to abide by the principles and criteria of the FSC. During the forest management audit, 31 instances of non-compliance were found.

In particular, ZAO Zapkarelles has not monitored changes to the plant species, animals, and fungi that exist in the certified area, nor has it produced information on the scope of its biotechnical procedures. It also has not analyzed the social impact of its logging and other forestry operations, nor analyzed how effectively its forestry operations are being managed. Additionally, the company has not released the results of the annual monitoring of high conservation value forests, which makes it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s measures to preserve and improve the condition of High Conservation Value Forests. Moreover, ZAO Zapkarelles has not disclosed any concrete measures to protect objects of religious, cultural, ecological, and economic significance to the local population.

The field inspection revealed that, while for the most part, the company is allocating and preserving vital habitats, work on setting aside the habitats mainly is done when logging sites are cleared. However, during the inspection of one logging site, it was found that the allocation of habitats was unsatisfactory. In particular, on a logging site of 19 hectares, two tracts were designated as non-operational areas: an aging tract and a new-growth tract. Furthermore, the inspectors at this logging site noticed large-scale detritus and rocky outcroppings that at the time of the field inspection were deforested.  The contracting company’s harvester operator stated that he was not familiar with the instructions for detecting and preserving vital habitats.

Alexander Markovsky, director of  The Karelia Regional Nature Conservancy SPOK, considers “the withdrawal of ZAO Zapkarelles’ FSC certificate to be the proper course of action. Since the very beginning of the certification process in 2008, the company has given little attention to creating a sustainable forest management policy, and the company executives are not really interested in improving their operations. Despite the fact that since 2008, our organization has worked with the company on how to detect and preserve HCVFs, under the moratorium, the company has preserved only the valuable forests that were previously identified by SPOK. There have been virtually no subsequent efforts to disclose and preserve HCVFs and habitats. Thus NEPCon’s decision to revoke the FSC certificate was rational and justified. Overall, this is a good sign for the FSC system, because it signifies that, at least in Karelia, it isn’t possible to be an FSC-certified company while simultaneously destroying the biodiversity in our forests.”

Leave a comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.