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SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND THE SYSTEM OF MONITORING,

VERIFICATION AND REPORTING OF SFM USED IN LATVIA PRIVATE


FORESTS.

Skaidrite Albertina, Dr.Biol.

According to the 1992 Law of Land Privatisation in Rural Areas, all the lands privately owned
before 1940 had to be restituted. The government has decided not to privatize only
approximately 1.5 million ha forests that belonged to the state before 1940.
Today the restitution of forest lands particullary is finished. 47% private forests will be
reached in the nearest future, and it means that about 1.4 million ha will be privately owned.
The average area of a forest holdings of 155 000 owners are 8-9 ha. Half of them are “Family
forest owners”, anothers – urban forest owners.
At the moment all Latvia forests belongs to:
State 50%
Private owners 42%
Others 8%
A rapid increase of felling in private forests can be explained by the involvement of these
forests in economic activities and because usually forest is the only source of income for
people in Rural areas, or the forest income compensates the losses in agricultural production .
In forestry and woodprocessing sector are working approximetely 3 600 enterprices, 90-95%
of them are small and medium-size companies.
Harvested timbers is sold as sawlogs or sawn in appr. 2 500 small sawmills owned mainly by
forest owners himself. But the proportion of big sawmills is on the increase.
The main commercal tree species in private forests are birch, pine and spruce. Dominating
between species are due the history of the stands: appr. 1 million ha in the last 50 years have
emerged through natural rgeneration on previously agriculture lands.
The result of this is different age and different species stands, with high biological diversity,
but law economical value.

The main objectives to strength small-scale family forestry are:


1) development of Sustainable Forest Management, economically as well as eologically
beneficially;
2) development of forest owners associations, commercially as well as politically
strong;
3) development of forest management planning system, oriented to interests of forest
owner.

Private forestry in Latvia has no strong and long traditions. Forest owners know little about
forest management and they also know very little about forest economy.
They do not see the future potential and as many of them have low incomes, they think that
right way is to sell their forests.
Part of forest owners problems can be solved if forest owners have strong their own
organisation. Latvia forest owners has one – Latvian forest owners association -KSMAA
nonprofit, commercial, which operations are focused to develop financial sustainability in
organisation, avoid dependency of donors and government grants, and to introduce
sustainable forest management methods.
For monitoring, verification and reporting of SFM - pan- European Forest Certification
system was proposed to Forest owners of Latvia , like more clear, transparent and
credible.

Since the first set of pan-European indicators for Sustainable Forest Management has been
developed in the early 90s, expierence has shown, that the approach of criteria and indicators
is a very important tool for European forest policy.
The 2nd Ministerial Conference in 1993. in Helsinki adopted General Guidelines for
Sustainable Management of Forests in Europe as Resolution H1.
In that connection initiated through the Lisbon Conference the MCPFE (Ministerial
Conference 1998) decided to update the existing set of pan-European indicators.

The 4th Ministerial Conference says: “ promote sustainable forest management by further
implementing, applying and, if necessary, improving , criteria and indicators for
montoring, assessing and reporting progress on sustainable forest management; in this
regard we endorse the use of the “ Improved Pan-European indicators for Sustainable
Forest Management as adopted by the MCPFE Expert Level Meeting, 7-8 October 2002,
Vienna, Austria” ( Vienna Living Forest summit Declaration: European Forests – Common
benefits, shared responsibilities – 28-30 Aprill 2003, Vienna, Austria)”.

On the base of Common strategy for protection of forests of Europe, National verification
(certification) scheme in Latvia was established and approved and evaluated like adequate
to PEFC Technical documents.
National Certification Body is accredited by LATAK, procedures of certification for all
levels are prepeared, Green Management Plans of forests has proposed for owners, details of
Responsibility of Umbrella organizations are improved – all these details of PEFC system
makes certification of forests understandable, acceptable and cost effective at the same time,
and forest owners are ready to take part in forest certification.

KSMAA was initiator of certification of private forests under PEFC scheme, and decision
about taking part in PEFC process was made on Forum of private forest owners,
enterpreneuers, leaders of KSMAA local groups, and another relevant interested groups who
was invited on 21st of October 1999.
PEFC Latvia Council was established – 21 member who represented different interested
groups – economical, social, environmental.
PEFC Latvia started to develop documentation process, PEFC Latvia scheme was submitted
for endorsement at 26.01.2001, and fully accepted on 20.07.2001.
We are going on in certification process under ISO 45012 Annex 3 – Multisite
certification/registration.
KSMAA – organisation, which represents 155 000 forest owners who owns 1.4 milj.ha forest
lands, is the representative organisation for regional certification with " branches” - local
organisations who’s leaders are responsible for information, training and education of forest
owners.
National Governing body is responsible for administration and control of PEFC Logo usage,
and for reporting of SFM. For internal auditing and each years Questionaries system
establishing, for receiving Green forest management plan or Nature conservation document
for each owners forest, for agreements with owners, for their commitments and finally – for
issuing Confirmations about forest certification/registration forest owners organisation is
responsible.
KSMAA is the Umbrella organisation who is responsible for realization of certification
process in private forests in Latvia. Green management plan is the basis and Manual of
forest management for each forest property. Plan gives for forest owner basic knowledge and
information about methods how to manage the forest production with respect to nature
protection and conservation in private forest.
Green management plan with economical, ecological, social, culture value and landscape
considerations is a good platform for extension and advisory activities of owner.

Umbrella Certificate for Regional certification of 1.4 mil.ha forests of 155 000 owners has
issued on 19.09.2001 to KSMAA, Umbrella certificate for Chain-of –Custody members of
KSMAA on 19.09.2001, and 4 first Confirmations has issued on 19.09.2001 for 1500 ha of
forests.
To day KS MAA is re-certified till 2008, we have 27 000 ha certified forests, and 30 Chain-
of- Custody certified enterprices now.
Our expierence is that forest owners organisation – like KSMAA Latvia are only platform for
introducing certification system in restituted forests like a tool for verification of
Sustainable forest management, because forest properties are small, owners should be
motivated to SFM, and should believe, that certification will success their forest
management, and will not be only some kind of “ collective farming”. This is possible only if
forest owners have independent, trustworthy responsible organisation, which is established
by them.

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