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FAO’s Russian Forest Sector Outlook Study Calls for Significant Investment and Reform

FAO25 September 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of the Russian Federation have released "The Russian Forest Sector Outlook Study to 2030," which covers the 20% of the world's forests located in the Russian Federation, projecting increased forest product production under all scenarios. However, in order to maximize sustainable forest management benefits, the report calls for significant investment, reform and protection.

The report features sections on: forest resources; forest industry trends; conservation and protection; forest resources and climate change; forest certification; illegal logging; forest ownership and policy and education; human resources; and science and technology. The main analysis offered by the report however, takes the form of three scenarios for continued forest sector activity: an inertial scenario, which assumes a continuation of past trends and activities; a moderate scenario, which assumes some further economic development in the forest sector; and the innovation scenario, which assumes significant growth and development.

The report points out the importance of moving towards the innovation scenario as Russian forests currently account for only 1.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Russian Federation despite covering 882 million hectares. Furthermore, Russia's forests currently act as a carbon sink sequestering between 500 and 700 million tones of carbon per year. However, these same forests may become sources if climate change, particularly as permafrost continues to melt. As such, the report states that the conservation and restoration elements of the innovation scenario are critical.

If the innovation scenario is to be achieved, however, the report states that significant government support is required along with increases in forest product consumption, improvements in the trade of forest products and increases in the share of advanced wood processing. [Publication: The Russian Forest Sector Outlook Study to 2030] [UN Press Release] [FAO Press Release]