Conference on Sustainable Forestry and Consumption

March 30-31st in Podporozhye, Leningrad region, Russia

What is sustainable forestry practice, what is needed for that practice to take place and how can we find common ways of reaching the goal of regenerating and sustaining forests? These where key questions underlying 2 days of conversations at the conference ”Sustainable forestry and consumption”, hosted by REALS partner REEN – the Russian ”Ecovillage and Eco-initiative network”.

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Many different kind of people, traditions and stakeholders have a relation to forests and how forests are managed. And economical, social and ecological forest-related interests and points of views are often contradictory and come in conflict which eachother. Not the least because of the huge financial potential attached to forest use in countries such as Russia.

Ryssland_GranskogBut the challenge to gather a diverse crowd of stakeholders, in one room, was well metduring the two day long conference hosted by REEN. The participants where researchers, NGO- and government representatives, forest consultants as well as representatives of forest-corporations and business. Although the differences in perspectives where evident, it was clear that all participants carried an interest and concern in finding beneficial ways of forestry in Russia and beyond– economically, ecologically and socially.

The two days where filled by presentations as well as with sessions for interactive conversation and dialogue. Biologists, boardmembers of russian forest corporations, NGOs such as WWF and SPOK, (spok.org) forest consultants and foresters presented their work, experience and knowledge. The presenters were from Russia, Belarus, Sweden and Germany.

This gave a broad approach to forest management where, among other things, different methods of forestry were presented.

DSC01050Mikael Karlsson, from the consulting forestry company Silvaskog in Sweden, said that forestry “is far more than cutting and planting trees”.

“Forestry for me is how we can harvest timber and at the same time keep the biodiversity and the social aspects on a good level.” One concept for this is C.T.N.F. – Close To Nature Forestry, you can read more about that here.

Another commonly used system today is clearcutting, where you cut down the whole forest, plant new trees and make it into a monoculture, a plantation. That is what we have been doing in Sweden during the last 60 years, with a increasing level of storm damages and a sharply decreasing biodiversity and loss of social values and traditions.

Mikael as well as Hannes Schmitt, Lübeck, Germany were both invited to the conference to share their experience on Close to Nature Forestry.

They show that it is possible to be stewards of a healthy and resilient forest ecosystem and in the same time achieve economical sustainability as foresters and buisnessholders. Forest stewardship and the care of forests doesn´t need to exclude the importance and possibility of economically sustainable and generative forestry businesses.

These perspectives, and several others presented by participants/lecturers, brought a lot of interest and inspired continuing dialogue between participants belonging to different sectors of society.

Other adressed topics where eg – methods for rural development through access to traditional and multi-purpose forest management; the recognition and importance of non-timber forest resources; social and influence and the role of local communities

Formats used for ”group and dialogue” facilitation where World café and Open Space. This formats led to intensive discussions and conversations about forestry methods and gave way for new openings of common agreements and strategies.

The participants agreed that there is a need of continous communication and dialogue within the area of forestry and forest use, and the wish was big that this conference only was one of the first steps towards sustainable ways of forestry and forest related consumption.

These perspectives, and several others presented by participants/lecturers, brought a lot of interest and inspired continuing dialogue between participants belonging to different sectors of society.

Other addressed topics were eg – methods for rural development through access to traditional and multi-purpose forest management; the recognition and importance of non-timber forest resources; social and influence and the role of local communities
Formats used for ”group and dialogue” facilitation where World café and Open Space.

This formats led to intensive discussions and conversations about forestry methods and gave way for new openings of common agreements and strategies.
The participants agreed that there is a need of continuous communication and dialogue within the area of forestry and forest use, and the wish was big that this conference only was one of the first steps towards sustainable ways of forestry and forest related consumption.