The head of the Russian Federal Forest Agency (RFFA), Valeri Roschupkin, visited Canada in late September at the invitation of the Canadian Forest Service, to attend and address the Canadian National Forestry Congress in Gatineau, Quebec. The opportunity was also taken for meetings between Roschupkin and IMFNS Executive Director Peter Besseau. Both sides noted the significant increase in the level of activity and interests in Model Forests in Russia over the past two years. In addition to the new sites emerging (there are now five) in Russia, the RFFA has confirmed that it has commissioned a two-year initiative based out of St. Petersburg to develop options and recommendations for creating a Russian National Model Forest Network that could ultimately comprise as many as 25 sites.
The IMFNS and the Canadian Forest Service have been invited to be partners in Model Forest development in Russia. This would support objectives under a recently signed accord between the two forest services as well as a historical relationship in forestry and Model Forests. There is also considerable interest in the idea of a circumboreal linkage of Model Forest landscapes as a way for boreal nations to develop strategic links for research, knowledge exchange and development in areas of shared interest and priority.
In late December the IMFNS will support a meeting of the five Russian Model Forest sites, the St. Petersburg Forest Research Institute and the RFFA to elaborate a plan of action for collaboration among the five sites.