Kyiv - On April 28, 2021, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Ukraine held the first of a series of roundtables "Forest Dialogues". They aim to provide a multilateral dialogue between all stakeholders on responsible and sustainable forest management and conservation of natural ecosystems. Representatives of state authorities, scientists and leading forestry experts, non-governmental environmental organizations, as well as other key players in the forest sector are invited to participate in the round tables.

The first round table discussed the status and future of self-sown forests in Ukraine under the conditions of land reform. Self-sown forests are those that are formed mainly on agricultural land due to their non-use. According to experts, the area of such forests reaches about 500 thousand hectares. The urgency of their legislative regulation is exacerbated by the opening of the land market from July 1, 2021.

The round table was attended by: Chairman of the Subcommittee of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management Yuliia Ovchynnykova, Assistant Consultant to the People's Deputy of Ukraine Serhii Bilenko, First Deputy Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Anatolii Miroshnychenko, President of the Land Union of Ukraine Andrii Koshyl, Project Manager of the German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue Volker Sasse, WWF Ukraine representative Liudmyla Slominska and others.

"Today, a round table was held on one of the most urgent topics for society. After all, self-sown forests, among other things, provide important ecosystem services and contribute to reducing the negative effects of climate change. The combination of economic interests, awareness of the social significance of these forests and their importance for the environment encourage the consideration of these issues at the level of state strategic priorities," comments Pavlo Kravets, Director of FSC Ukraine.

Following the round table, the participants agreed to promote the inventory of self-sown forests and other restored natural ecosystems. Providing legal status can intensify the development of private forestry. A proper financial and economic mechanism to support the landowner (land user) will contribute to responsible forest management in such areas, protection and conservation of natural forests. The formation of such a business direction requires the development of the sphere of advisory services and strengthening of public-private partnership.

"Over the past 100 years, Ukraine has the largest redistribution of land in Europe. Land reform gave impetus to the restoration of natural ecosystems. The main prerequisite for this was the presence in the land fund of Ukraine of lands from the category of low-fertile or degraded lands," - says Taras Yevsyukov, Doctor of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Land Management of NULES of Ukraine - "Today there is a situation that de facto there is a forest on such lands, but de jure there is no forest. Therefore, it is important to join efforts, discuss and find common ground in the context of solving this issue. Each participant of the Forest Dialogues is ready to join the development of legislative initiatives to address the existing challenges and preserve the potential that nature has given us."


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