Global perspective Human stories

Modernizing Russian forest sector has economic and environmental benefits – UN

Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano
FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Modernizing Russian forest sector has economic and environmental benefits – UN

Russia’s forest sector needs to be modernized using technologies to maximize its potential as a global mitigator of climate change and an important source of timber, according to a new study presented today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government.

The Russian Forest Sector Outlook Study to 2030 states that lack of governance, outdated equipment and under-financing are among major factors that impede the development of the forest sector in Russia – which has more than a fifth of the world’s forests, but whose share of the global trade in forest products is less than four per cent.

The report urges immediate action on modernizing the country’s forest sector, as well as increasing its investment attractiveness, stimulating domestic demand for forest products such as wooden housing and furniture, addressing the illegal logging issues and reforming forest public institutions and legislation.

“The study broadens our knowledge about the huge opportunities and possible development potential of the Russian Federation’s forest sector,” FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales stated in a news release.

“Modernizing Russia’s forests will have a positive impact on social, economic and environmental conditions in the Russian Federation and will contribute to the development of world forestry, forest industry, wood trade and the environment.”

FAO noted that forests in Russia – the largest forest country in the world – play a crucial role in stabilizing the globe’s climate.

The country provided more than 90 per cent of the carbon sink of the world’s boreal forests in 2000-2007. Estimates of the average carbon sink in Russian forests during the past 10 years are between 500 and 700 million tonnes per year.

There is a serious risk, however, that the carbon emissions from the permafrost lands of Russia are likely to exceed current emissions from tropical deforestation by several times, if global warming becomes a reality, added FAO.