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FSC refutes Greenpeace claims over forest destruction in Russia

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has refuted allegations made by Greenpeace that it has failed in certain areas of Russia. It maintains that one area referenced by the NGO, the Dvinsky Forest region, "is an example for effective stakeholder engagement processes that have resulted in strong and lasting solutions for threatened forest species and ecosystems".

The FSC came under fire from environmental campaign group Greenpeace last week over its failure to protect Russia’s remaining wild intact forest landscapes.

Tatiana Khakimulina, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Russia criticized the FSC’s lack of action over the Russian forest industry’s ‘wood mining’ practices: “Instead of endorsing sustainable forest management and protecting Russia’s irreplaceable intact forest landscapes, FSC is providing green cover for their destruction, including Dvinsky Forest - one of the largest unfragmented natural forests in Europe”.??Greenpeace says that its latest series of case studies highlight the FSC’s failures in Russia, specifically showing how the Dvinsky Forest intact forest landscape in the Arkhangelsk region, northwest Russia, is being destroyed, despite much of the area being formerly or currently FSC certified.

However, the official FSC statement reads: "Altogether, a total of 1.5 million hectares are recognized as intact forest landscapes under FSC certification in Russia and exempt from logging activities. The identification and protection of intact forest landscapes only happened due to consultations required by the Russian FSC standard, and the process involved key stakeholders such as environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace. It is fair to say that without FSC certification or under less rigorous certification schemes these forests might have been logged already. Contrary to what Greenpeace states in their report, FSC certification is currently the only effective instrument to protect intact forest landscapes in managed forests in Russia."

The FSC also points out that three of the five forest management certificates referred to in the Greenpeace report were suspended between December 2013 and February 2014 because they did not comply with FSC requirements; a fourth one had already expired earlier and was not renewed. It also asserts that most of the satellite imagery data shown by Greenpeace covers periods before the more rigorous standard was passed, and in a number of cases even before the areas in question were FSC certified.

In June, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Arkhangelsk Region established a special working group to help implement Dvinsky Forest protection and to address ‘wood mining’ issues.

Although the study focuses on the scandal of ‘wood mining’ in frontier areas of northwest Russia with high concentrations of FSC certificates, the problem is widespread throughout Russia, maintains Greenpeace.??Russia is second only to Canada in having the largest area of FSC certified forest in the world - almost 38.5m hectares.

Picture credit: © Egidijus Mika | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Europe | Environment


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