June 8, 2005
Metla: Finnish Forest Research Institute´s study:
Forest resources, production and exports of roundwood and sawnwood from Russia
In this study, the recent development and current state of Russian forest sector are reviewed in order to evaluate its significance in a global scale. The main emphasis is on the utilisation and management of Russian forest resources and on the recent development in roundwood and sawnwood exports, which currently comprise over 50 per cent of the total forest product export from Russia.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, Russian forest sector has undergone a deep structural change. The privatisation of forest industry, institutional changes, liberalisation of forest products prices and intensified participation in international trade have strengthened Russias role as an important wood procurement region as well as a noteworthy producer of low value-added forest products such as sawnwood. Due to economic and political reforms such as the devaluation of rouble in 1998, fellings and exports of roundwood and sawnwood have begun recovering after the drop in the early 1990s. In 2002, fellings in Russia totalled 165 million cubic metres whereas roundwood and sawnwood exports reached 37.7 million and 9 million cubic metres, respectively.
In Europe, Russia has become an important actor in sawnwood markets. In German sawnwood market, for example, the market share of Russia is the largest of sawnwood importing countries. Roundwood trade with Finland and Sweden, the largest European importers of Russian roundwood, has increased during the transition period and comprises nowadays approximately one fifth of industrial use of roundwood in both the countries.
Currently, Russia is negotiating for participating in World Trade Organisation, the new Forest Code is under construction and Russian Federation tries to attract investments in forest sector. Furthermore, the economic growth in Russia is rapid and it will evidently increase the domestic demand for forest products. Vast forest resources in Russia provide a solid base for increasing forest industry capacity in the area. On the other hand, many obstacles such as lack of infrastructure, heavy bureaucracy and undeveloped financial institutions, some to mention, still exist in Russia. In the future, it is nevertheless likely that Russian forest sector will progress towards a more significant role both in national and international business.
For further information
Anne Toppinen, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre
Yliopistokatu 6 (P.O.Box 68)
FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland
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