On October 1, 2019, the Dvinsko-Pinezhsky State Nature Complex (landscape) nature reserve of regional significance with an area of 302 thousand hectares was created by the decision of the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region. Among which, 162 thousand hectares are the contribution of the GC Titan, Sawmill 25 CJSC and Arkhangelsk PPM JSC*.
The creation of the reserve was based on agreements between environmental organizations and timber merchants on the rejection of valuable forests cutting. The agreements are concluded thanks to voluntary certification under Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).
The reserve includes a unique area of untouched northern taiga in the interstream area of the Northern Dvina and Pinega. These forests are extremely valuable because they have not been affected by human economic activity until now and have remained unchanged for many thousands of years. The virgin forests control the climate of the territory, purify the air and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; the forests are rich in flora and fauna. The territory is located in the habitat of more than 60 species of rare animals and plants listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and the Red Book of the Arkhangelsk Region. WWF Russia prepared the design of the reserve.
Despite the high natural value, these last areas of the wild taiga did not have an official conservation status until today and were leased by logging companies. However, as part of the FSC voluntary forest certification standard, the timber merchants are required to meet high environmental responsibility requirements, take into account the opinions of environmental organizations, scientists and preserve the virgin forest ecosystems. In this regard, FSC-certified companies of the region have undertaken additional environmental obligations and introduced a moratorium on logging within the boundaries of the future reserve, as well as perform sustainable forest management taking into account the conservation of biodiversity in the rest of the territory.
“Today is a historically important day when we make a well-balanced decision to create the Dvinsko-Pinezhskiy nature reserve, on which we worked together for many years. I thank the public figures - the Arkhangelsk branch of the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, FSC of Russia, who showed the insistence, helped to reach a compromise in making the decision. Words of gratitude shall be given to tenants and forest users who are aware of the importance of this work. It is very important that today all participants of this process have an understanding that, only by joining forces, we can do everything necessary so that the reference natural system continues to live and fulfill its most important function in preserving the unique diversity of nature that we have got, ” - said Igor Orlov, Governor of the Arkhangelsk region.
Nikolay Shmatkov, Director of FSC Russia, emphasized that now the FSC certification is the only effective tool to protect the virgin forest territories that do not have specially protected natural reservations (SPNR) status in Russia. A productive dialogue for the preserving the unique northern taiga between environmental organizations and the business representatives was made possible only thanks to voluntary forest certification. “Obviously, these forests would be cut down without FSC. The decision to create a nature reserve is also an important step towards coordinating a managing mechanism for especially valuable natural resources within the framework of FSC certification throughout the country” - said Head of the Russian branch of FSC.
Aleksander Dyatlov, Deputy Chairman of the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of Deputies, Chairman of the Regional Parliament Committee on Forestry, Environmental Management and Ecology, recalled that the work on creating the reserve was carried out for a long time and the difficulty was to find a balance of interests of all interested parties.
He highly praised the decision to create a reserve as the first case in Russia, while recalling that the Arkhangelsk region is one of the few regions in Russia where there are more than 100 specially specially protected natural reservations natural areas. The total area of specially protected natural reservations, including the seas, is 11.2 million hectares. At the same time, only eight specially protected natural reservations with the area of 9.5 million hectares have federal status. It is planned to create another 8 new specially protected natural reservations, of which 5 nature reserves (Kovzhinskiy, Sebboloto, Dvinsko-Pinezhskiy, Pezskiy, Lekshmokh), 2 natural monuments (Onega coast, Turovskiy forest) and a nature park (Zvozskiy).
Aleksey Yaroshenko, Head of the Forest Department of Greenpeace Russia, who attended the meeting of the Government of the Arkhangelsk Region, said that the Dvinsko-Pinezhsky nature reserve is not a regional value or even not a federal, it is a world value. In addition, he expressed a confidence that in five to ten years this reserve will become one of the landmark of the region. “The work has been done very important and historical,” he concluded.
Aleksey Kudryavtsev, CEO of GC Titan, recalled that the process of reserve creating had an uncertainty status until now. At the same time, thanks to the systematic and conscientious work of FSC Russia, WWF Russia and representatives of the business - Arkhangelsk PPM JSC, Sawmill 25 CJSC and GC Titan, it was possible to agree the boundaries of the future nature reserve in the lease of these companies and then invite other participants to the negotiation.
“A long way has been done in preparing the necessary project documentation, examining the territory and setting its borders for cadastral registration, and today an important decision has been made for the region, and this is a great achievement of all interested parties, which was made possible only thanks to the voluntary forest certification under FSC,” said Top Manager of the holding. “The plans of the GC Titan include the allocation of specially protected natural areas, valuable forest areas throughout our lease in accordance with the signed agreement in August this year at the “Woodcutter of the 21st Century” and this big work is planned for the next decade.”
Dmitriy Zyliov, CEO of Arkhangelsk PPM JSC, expressed confidence that the work to protect the virgin forests in the lease of the holding will continue taking into account the interests of all parties, and the necessary balance will be observed.
*License code of JSC "Arkhangelsk pulp and paper mill" - FSC-COO2853