The Model Forest program in Russia continues to operate in two main areas and both are  arriving at important milestones.

The Gassinski Model Forest Association (GMFA)

The project in the Russian far east is now in the final year of its three-year transition phase.  After March 2000, it  will operate independent of IMFN financial support and with greater integration of its activities with the Russian Federal Forest Service.  The project will continue to focus on the development of a decision support process, GIS, monitoring local level indicators, economic development within the MF area, and the development of  infrastructure and capacity for improved resource management.  With reference to local level indicators, it has proposed collaborative work with the McGregor MFA and received a positive response in return.

The GMFA reports it has been awarded three contracts through USAID for work related to technology and know-how transfer of model forest-related expertise to other areas of Russia’s far east.

Other Regions of Russia 

The Russian Federal Forest Service (Rosleskhoz) continues to be active in exploring the development of additional model forest sites in Russia and in encouraging collaboration. This was most evident this past June during an international workshop held in Petrozavodsk, in the Russian republic of Karelia. The event, Model Forests in Russia: Experience and Prospects for the Future, was  sponsored jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and Rosleskhoz, with the assistance of Peter Besseau of the IMFNS and took place from June 22 to 24, 1999. It brought together representatives from four Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) project sites in Russia  (including GMFA), as well as  NGOs (WWF, IUCN, MacArthur Foundation), the World Bank, and others, to look at the status and prospects for further model forest development in Russia.   Discussions took place  on options for collaborative work between the sites. In addition to Gassinski, other sites include WWF-sponsored  projects  in the Komi Republic and in the region of Pskov, and  the “Taiga Model Forest” (a research forest) in Karelia, established with sponsorship from the Government of Finland. 

At the workshop in Petrozavodsk, representatives of Rosleskhoz and the four sites  agreed in principle to the idea of working toward creation of a Russian Model Forest Network and Secretariat.  Details on what a Russian secretariat and its network members should or could do to develop the country’s model forest objectives will require careful consideration and discussion, but proponents have agreed to aim for completion of terms of reference by year’s end. 

Petrozavodsk workshop participants visit
interpretive Centre in the village of Matrosy