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While leading the world in timber resources, Russia lags behind as a global market player in both value and quality of timber products. The Russian timber industry's potential cannot be fully unlocked without addressing a number of issues, such as the lack of investor appeal, underdeveloped wood processing, and inferior technology.
Russian forests constitute over 20% of the total global forest area, which is several times more than in any country with a leading timber industry, i.e. the US, Canada, China, Sweden, or Finland. This resource is now used inefficiently, though.
There are several deterrents to development of the Russian timber industry:
Nevertheless, thanks to its export orientation, good resource base and stable demand, the industry demonstrates a steady production growth. In 2016, the harvest reached 214 million cubic metres of wood, which is record high for the last 20 years.
The key strand of the public policy in this regard is switching to intensive forest management, which increases forest productivity through advanced methods of reforestation, pest control, and fire and illegal harvesting prevention. The major economic effect will be achieved through efficient use of resources rather than increased areas of felling.
The timber industry nowadays is a development priority line, with government programmes to support producers underway and drafting of an up-to-date industry strategy until 2035 in progress. The plans of the Ministry of Industry and Trade include:
Some of the issues are still to be addressed, however:
As estimated by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the aforesaid measures will provide for a 50% increase in the timber harvest from each leased hectare by 2030 while the economic return will grow by a factor of 2.0–2.5.