Russia must modernize forest management, promote sustainable practices, invest in R&D and foreign technologies to realize potential of its vast forests, notes federal forest chief; Russia's share of global forest products trade less than 4%

GENEVA , May 28, 2013 (press release) – Russia has more than a fifth of the world's forests, which makes it the largest forest country in the world. However, the considerable potential of Russian forests is underutilized and Russia's share of the global trade in forest products is less than four percent.

Referring to ongoing consultations on a revised forest policy for the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Lebedev, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment and Head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation, stated that “Russian forest management practices need to be modernized. We need to attract foreign technologies, invest in domestic research and development, and promote the ecologically sustainable and responsible use of forests.”

He was speaking at the 3rd International Scientific Conference on “Innovations and Technologies in Forestry”, which included a UNECE/FAO workshop on “ Forest products and technologies for the future”, and was attended by over 270 participants from 27 countries. The workshop was held in St. Petersburg at the Forestry Research Institute on 22 and 23 May 2013, thanks to the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation (Rosleshoz).

Participants discussed key policies and technologies that could support the modernization of the forest sector in order to maximize its potential as an important source of timber and respond to the growing demand for sustainable forest bioenergy. Delegates from Belarus and Central Asia highlighted the different contexts and potentials for growth in the bioenergy sector in their countries. They called for more public and private investment along the wood energy value chain, with an emphasis on feedstock mobilization. Investments in bioenergy supply need to be complemented by awareness-raising in order to inform stakeholders of the opportunities linked with bioenergy and develop market opportunities.

This workshop highlighted how the developing bio-based economy in the CIS region can help to fulfill the objectives of the ECE/FAO Action Plan for the Forest Sector in a Green Economy (see

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