In 2007 the new Forest Code delegated forest management responsibilities to regional authorities. WWF Russia together with the National Rating Agency, the leading independent scoring and ranking agency developed a methodology for scoring of forest management effectiveness in the regions of Russia to assess forest management independently. The initiative was supported by the  WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests and also it received the official informational support from the Federal Forestry Agency.    

The goal of the scoring is to bring attention of federal and regional authorities and the public to importance of the sustainable use of forest resources and to challenges the forest sector is facing in regions to identify solutions. The scoring is focused on transparency of information flow in the forest sector and helps to assess dynamics and trends of change in the sector which is valuable for investors.     

The scoring is the first experience of independent assessment of government’s forest management effectiveness in the scale of the whole country. For the first time it creates a tool for federal and regional authorities to compare a region against others to assess effectiveness of implementation of delegated responsibilities on forest management, identify strengths and weaknesses in forest management to improve it.

Scoring criteria and methodology were developed by experts of WWF Russia through a participatory process which involved federal authorities (the Ministry of Agriculture), NGOs  (GFTN Russia, Greenpeace Russia, Kirov Voluntary Forest Certification Center, FSC Russia, Trade Union for Forest Industries Workers), Trade and Industry Chamber of the Russian Federation, universities, science and research centers and the forest private sector companies (Archangelsk Pulp and Paper, Ilim Group).

The methodology of scoring is based on analyzes of open source information and data received from regional forest management authorities upon a request.  The scoring analyses forest management effectiveness beyond timber production and reforestation but also in the context of management of forests for non-timber and non-monetary values, including their long-term social and environmental functions.  

In the fall of 2009 scoring’s criteria and methodology were tested by the Russian Institute of Continuous Education in Forestry and after that the scoring was organized in a few pilot regions of Russia.   

In June 2010 the scoring was started in all regions of the Russian Federation (with an exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg). WWF and the rating agency approached all Governors of all regions of Russia with a request to participate in the scoring and submit the best available information on the forest sector in their regions. Results of the first scoring were published December 9, 2010.

After the in-depth discussion of the results with stakeholders, including regional forest management bodies and improvement of the methodology the scoring was repeated in 2011.

WWF already had experience in scoring projects which were important for assessment and improvement of forest management in Russia and abroad. In 2000 WWF International developed a pioneer scoring  of forest management quality in 19 European states.   In 2002-2005 WWF-Russia developed a project on ecological scoring of Russian forest companies. The results of this scoring were widely used by stakeholders; they were used to assess investment potential of forest sector companies and became important incentives for companies to improve their activities towards higher environmental sustainability. 

For more information please contact Nikolay Shmatkov, the Forest Policy Projects
Coordinator, WWF Russia at
nshmatkov@wwf.ru