2013 / 02 / 12

Greenpeace Russia and SPOK: FSC in Russia does not guarantee conservation of intact forests and sustainable forest use

Voluntary forest certification according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system in Russia does not guarantee the conservation of the most important high conservation value forests and sustainable forest use. This is stated in a joint statement by Greenpeace Russia and the Karelian regional public environmental organization SPOK to the executive director of the national FSC office, Andrew Ptichnikov. According to the opinion of the ecologists, the prevailing practice of using forest areas certified by the FSC system (including approaches for determining the volume of forest use, types and methods of cutting and reforestation), is only slightly different from the prevailing practice of using non-certified sites.

The reason for the appeal was provided by the results of field verification of whether the FSC certified companies followed the principles and requirements of sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation and forests of high conservation value, which environmental organizations had carried out in 2012 in Karelia, Arkhangelsk, Vologda and Leningrad regions, as well as, the results of surveys and expeditions of past years. From these studies, Greenpeace Russia and SPOK came to the conclusion that there are two main issues specific to the forest FSC certification in the Northwest part of European Russia – unsustainable forest use in the rent of certified companies and a large number of violations of the Russian forest legislation, FSC principles and criteria at the cutting-plots.

“In the areas of pioneer development of taiga, where the main volume of timber harvest comes from intact forest landscapes, FSC is actually certifying the destruction of high conservation value forests, – is stated in the appeal of the environmental organizations to the leadership of the Russian national FSC office. – Violations at cuttings include both “technical” (eg, incomplete information on the chopping pole, leaving of unbarked wood in the forest, litter on the plots), and serious violations such as clear-cuts in water protection areas, the use of rivers and creeks as timber trails, disturbances of soil cover and hydrological conditions during timber production, destruction of species and / or habitats of red-listed species, as well as, cuttings in protected areas”.

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