Pulling together in the forests of Russian Karelia

Published 27 June 2016
​Forestry is a vital industry to the economy of the densely forested Republic of Karelia in northwest Russia, where Stora Enso procures wood while also working to ensure the region’s forests are managed responsibly to preserve their ecologically valuable features.
“To make sure that we look after environmental issues as well as the socio-economic benefits of our wood procurement for local businesses and communities, we have joined forces with local stakeholders including non-governmental organisations and research institutes as well as the authorities,” explains Terhi Koipijärvi, Resource Director at Stora Enso Wood Supply Russia.

In spring 2015 Stora Enso joined the new Boreal Forest Platform (BFP), a stakeholder forum organised by WWF to promote economically viable and ecologically responsible forestry across Russia by exchanging experiences and best practices – and by making proposals for the authorities to support the development of effective and balanced legislation on the utilisation of forests.

In June Stora Enso’s Karelian subsidiary Ladenso hosted a well-attended BFP workshop that brought together forest industry professionals, expert researchers, and representatives from environmental and governmental organisations. Participants were able to build consensus on the desirability of both flexible forestry practices and legislative reforms that will allow for intensive forestry in some areas, while also effectively supporting nature conservation in both protected and commercially utilised forests.

Close collaboration to everyone’s benefit

According to Terhi Koipijärvi, Stora Enso greatly welcomes such multi-stakeholder dialogues, since they help everyone find ways to balance the preservation of environmental values with the responsible use of forests. “Such workshops allow all stakeholder representatives to express their own positions, and then together examine options for optimal future solutions,” she says.

Nikolay Shmatkov, Head of WWF Russia’s Forest Programme, appreciates the chance to work closely with the forest industry through the BFP. “WWF believes that in the categories of protected forests with intact forest landscapes, industrial logging should be completely banned,” he says. “In other forests, however, different forms of forestry could be considered, including intensive methods, but the target function of protected forests should be maintained in all cases.”

Shmatkov believes that collaboration through forums like BFP gives companies like Stora Enso a good opportunity to adapt their practices to local needs, while also maintaining vital close links with the authorities. He emphasises that while striving to maximise income from forest plots, forest users must realise specific measures to ensure all areas are managed responsibly. Such measures include:
- creating high quality forest management plans for at least two rotations, applying the landscape approach and stakeholder participation
- identifying high conservation values and working to preserve and enhance them
- preventing any kind of illegal forest use
- carefully managing forest fire risks and pathogens
- taking due care during the thinning of young stands
- effectively reforesting harvested sites with native tree species.

Value added by certification

All of Stora Enso’s Russian subsidiaries, including Ladenso, have had their forests certified for responsible management under the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)* scheme for ten years.

“We also procure wood from external suppliers, and we’ve been actively encouraging these suppliers to join our FSC certification groups by providing training and initial support together with WWF Russia,” adds Terhi Koipijärvi. “This is quite a long process, but the response has been very positive, with suppliers realising that getting their operations FSC-certified will increase their market value and improve their forestry practices.”

* License code FSC-C022927

See also

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