Komi Model Forest

Country: Russia
Location: European North
Year joined IMFN: 2006
Area of Model Forest: 800 000 hectares

Forest and resource profile
The Model Forest lies on the flat forested terrain in the boreal (taiga) region. The forests are mainly composed of spruce (Picea abies and P. obovata, 36.2% of spruce dominant stands), Scotch pine (Pinus silvestris, 19.6%), birch (Betula spp., 32.2%) and aspen (Populus tremula, 12.0%). Pristine (old-growth) forests cover 11.4% of the area, while remaining forests have been logged and regenerated by various methods. The biodiversity-rich Model Forest harbors 208 threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna. No major human settlements are found in the Model Forest, and the area has a low population density (1.8 people/km2).
Economic profile
During the last decade, the forest industry in Komi Republic has been in a state of crisis. Rural society has experienced instability in the forest sector and a depletion of valuable resources. The local population suffered a reduced quality of life (out migration from forest dependent villages, high unemployment rates) and mistrust in governments and business increased. Recently, forest industry interest to gain access to the environmentally-concerned European markets have increased awareness of the sustainable approaches to economic development. Wood-processing industry development has become more stable and secured new investments.
Why a Model Forest?
The Model Forest approach is a platform for sustainable forest management requirements for the area. Because it reflects typical regional conditions (organizational, environmental, social and economic), results of the Komi Model Forest can be easily disseminated to other areas. The Model Forest can improve the management of old growth forests that are endangered by unsustainable forest practices, and also encourage forest managers in regenerated sites to consider their environmental values and services. The Model Forest can also help resolve conflicts between forest industry activities and traditional forest users.
  • State Forest Service – 30%
  • Other governmental agencies – 5%
  • Academia – 20%
  • Forest Industry – 15%
  • Forest Inventory Planning Bureau – 15%
  • Local population – 5%
  • Environmental NGOs – 10%
Strategic goal
Implementation of sustainable forestry in the Komi Republic and dissemination of new experiences in the Russian North-west.
Main accomplishments to date
  • Pristine forests and biodiversity: conducted an inventory of old-growth forests in Komi Republic and developed management strategies to protect biodiversity. The Model Forest also produced recommendations for timber harvesting in old growth forests that were approved by the State Forest Service
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification: acted a pilot site for FSC certification in Komi Republic, developed a regional FSC standard and encouraged others to become FSC certified (2.2 million hectares of the republic are now FSC certified). The Model Forest experience was also vital for FSC certification of an IKEA project in the neighboring region (100 000 ha)
  • Inclusive approach: developed procedures to involve local stakeholders in sustainable forest management and decision-making. The experience of local population involvement in forest management has been disseminated in two other regions of Komi Republic
  • Forestry: tested innovative methods to adapt forest practices to sustainable management requirements, the recommendations of which were adopted by the State Forest Service
  • Forest economics: conducted an economic cost and benefit analysis accounting for access to timber, which has not been done in the time of the Soviet economy.
  • Training and extension: developed and conducted training and extension courses to disseminate knowledge and experience beyond the Model Forest. Courses have been offered to approximately 1200 people from the State Forest Service, the forest industry, teachers and NGOs
  • Regional forest policy: developed suggestions for the Komi Republic officials and decision-makers to introduce and legally adopt sustainable forest management practices
International policy links
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management (Montreal Protocol) were used for identifying problems, and then developing of goals, objectives and a method of approach. Ecological aspects of the Model Forest activities are based on the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). The Model Forest has also taken first steps to account for carbon balance on its territory according to the Kyoto Protocol. 
  • Recommendations for Conducting Public Hearings in Forestry
  • Recommendations for Final Felling in Pristine Forests while Protecting Environmental Values for the Komi Republic
  • Regulation on Allocation of Mushroom- and Berry-Picking Sites Significant for the Local Population in State Forests
  • Recommendations for Forest Soil Protection during Timber Harvesting in the Komi Republic
Contact information
Name: Alexander Mariev, Deputy Director/Forest Ecology Officer
Address: 167000, Russia, Komi Republic, Syktyvkar, P.O.Box 810
Phone: 7 (8212) 21-43-08, 24-94-25
Website: www.komimodelforest.ru