Ravil Kuzyurov: ‘We are witnessing a downward trend in the share of wood sales’
Tatarstan foresters earned almost 1 billion rubles (937.6 million) last year from the sale of wood, lumber, and services in the field of forestry. At the same time, the share of wood in the total revenue structure has fallen significantly over the past three years: from 84% to 63.7%. The problem is that the main consumer of products, the Turkish Kastamonu plant in Yelabuga, has reduced the volume of purchases. Meanwhile, foresters managed to increase the volume of services from 16% to 36.3%. Therefore, the head of the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ravil Kuzyurov, speaking at the profile board meeting, instructed his subordinates to work more actively with tenants of forest lands.
Forest reproduction on 5 hectares and silkworm control
The expanded meeting of the board was opened by the head of the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ravil Kuzyurov, with a report, in which he first gave general data on the forests of the republic:
- 1.267 million hectares of forest in Tatarstan;
- forest cover is 17.5%;
- average age of the plantings is 54 years;
- reserves of forest resources are 206 million cubic metres. In the past year, one of the main tasks for the ministry was to preserve forests. a screenshot by realnoevremya.ru of slides of the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Tatarstan
Over the past year, one of the main tasks for the ministry was to preserve forests within the framework of federal and regional projects. It was necessary to restore the forest in relation to the cut down and dead plantings. The plan was 90.3%, but the foresters overstepped the bar:
- reforestation works were carried out on an area of 3.6 thousand hectares;
- including artificial reforestation — 1.42 thousand hectares;
- protective erosion control plantings — 1.2 thousand hectares;
- laying of protective forest plantations to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions — 500 hectares;
- compensatory reforestation by tenants of forest plots — 172 hectares.
“Taking into account all the work on laying protective plantations and forest crops, last year we carried out work on forest reproduction and afforestation on an area of more than 5 thousand hectares," the minister stressed.
Over the year, foresters stored more than 12 thousand kg of seeds of the main forest-forming species, including coniferous seeds — 730 kg. The nursery has grown more than 34 million pieces of planting material.
The Spatial Data Foundation of the Republic of Tatarstan is digitising protective forest plantations to identify their real area and establish boundaries. As of today, the forests of 28 districts have been digitised. Besides, work continues on the transfer of farmland unsuitable for farmers to the lands of the forest fund — on an area of 1,836 hectares. To assess the sanitary condition in Tatarstan, more than 39 thousand hectares of forest were studied, according to the results, 484 acts of forest pathology examination were made.
“The previous year was marked by a serious outbreak of foci of the unpaired silkworm. The first foci were observed in 2022 on the territory of Aznakaevsky, Aksubaevsky, Alkeevsky, Bilyar, Menzelinsky, Nurlatsky, Cheremshansky forestry districts of the republic — on the territory of more than 50 thousand hectares. Last year, measures were taken to destroy or suppress the number of unpaired silkworms," Ravil Kuzyurov said.
Threat of fire spreading to forests in nine districts
Along with forest augmentation, state forest control remains one of the main tasks. Inspectors identified 282 cases of violation of forest legislation, the amount of damage to the forest fund amounted to more than 47 million rubles. 278 resolutions on bringing to administrative responsibility were drawn up, the total amount of fines amounted to 1,317 million rubles, of which 866 thousand were recovered.
Another priority area in the work of foresters is the protection of forests from fires. Before the start of the fire season, forestry and municipalities approve plans for the prevention and extinguishing of forest fires, and a consolidated plan is being developed across the republic. The equipment of the forest fire units amounted to 455 people and 355 units of various equipment. During the year, 52 aerial patrols of forests were carried out.
The average duration of the fire hazard period is 188 days, last year it was 196 days, and the number of fires was 986 cases. Separately, the minister focused on the municipalities where the largest number of such incidents occur. The threat of fire spreading to forests persists in the following areas: Nizhnekamsk (in 2023 — 166 cases), Almetyevsk (54 cases), Mamadyshsky (43 cases), Chistopolsky (42 cases), Yelabuga (39 cases), Zainsky (27 cases), Laishevsky (27 cases), Leninogorsk (27 cases), Vysokogorsky (24 cases).
In the republic, work has been completed to establish the boundaries of forestry on a total area of 1,232 million hectares. 392 thousand hectares, or 32% of the forest fund of the Republic of Tatarstan, were put on cadastral registration. At the same time, during the analysis, sites were identified in respect of which there are no legal grounds for bringing the information of the state forest Register and the Unified State Register of Real Estate into compliance, of which:
- 16 thousand 800 land plots with a declared area, the boundaries of which are not established in accordance with the requirements of land legislation,
- 11 thousand 300 sites, in respect of which there is no information about registered rights in the EGRN.
In terms of digitalisation of forestry, the main directions are the provision of services to the industry in electronic form, state forest management and economic activities, control and supervisory activities. All 14 public services provided by the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Tatarstan have been converted to electronic form. Within the framework of the Digital Model of the Republic of Tatarstan project, the Innopolis University has developed an automated service for space monitoring of forest changes, which gives the opportunity to quickly identify changes in the forest fund (felling, burning, quarries, buildings, areas with forest pathology). A project has also been implemented to create a digital database on the lands of the forest fund of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Decrease in the volume of wood sales
The use of forests is the next important block of the industry. In accordance with the Forest Plan of Tatarstan, the estimated cutting area is 2.2 million cubic metres a year. The main share of the estimated cutting area consists of soft-leaved wood. Last year, 821 thousand cubic metres, or 36.8%, were mastered in the republic.
By the way, Tatarstan initiated amendments to the Russian Forest Code last year. The changes will make it possible to implement a mechanism for subsequent participation in forestry auctions and thereby increase the development of the estimated cutting area. Last year:
- logging and sanitary logging amounted to more than 9 thousand hectares;
- 315 thousand cubic metres of liquid wood were harvested;
- for their own needs, citizens harvested 55 thousand cubic metres of wood;
- small and medium-sized businesses harvested 341 thousand cubic metres;
- tenants — 110 thousand cubic metres.
In 2023, 12 auctions were held in the republic for the sale of the right to conclude a contract for the purchase and sale of forest plantations for SMEs. 1,284 lots of forest plantations in the amount of 1,105 million cubic metres in the amount of 249 million rubles were put up. 382 lots in the amount of 271 thousand cubic metres for 57 million rubles were sold. The main consumer of the timber harvested by subordinate institutions is still the resident Alabuga SEZ, the Turkish company Kastamonu.
The amount of income of budgetary institutions subordinate to the Ministry of Forestry from the sale of wood, lumber and services in the field of forestry, taking into account taxes paid, amounted to less than 1 billion rubles (937.6 million).
“In recent years, in the structure of monetary revenue, we have observed a tendency to decrease the share of sales of wood, goods and an increase in the share of revenue from the provision of services, — Ravil Kuzyurov noted and instructed foresters to work more actively with tenants of forest plots on the provision of specialised services.
According to him, these may be works on clearing linear objects, compensatory reforestation and afforestation, and other measures for the protection and reproduction of forests. He instructed to work out the issue with the heads and executive committees of districts, businesses, in order to “take all possible options to increase income from the provision of paid services”.
Later, as Sergey Kovalev, the acting head of the Forestry Department for the Volga Federal District, reported, 2,874 timber sales transactions totaling over 1.5 billion rubles were made in the Volga region.
2,376 forest users work within the borders of the Tatarstan forest fund. The total area of forest plots in use is 323 thousand hectares, including 231 thousand hectares in lease, 92 thousand hectares in permanent indefinite use and 311 hectares in gratuitous use.
Revenues to budgets of all levels for the use of forests of the Republic of Tatarstan amounted to 490 million rubles, including more than 126 million to the budget of the republic.
There are 2,534 people working in the forestry industry of the Republic of Tatarstan today. These are 1,794 men and 740 women. The average age is 43 years.
First Tatarstan Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Nigmatullin gave a positive assessment of the work of foresters at a meeting of the board. Setting tasks for next year, the deputy head of government instructed to strengthen preparations for the fire season and actively interact with enterprises in areas where high fire danger remains. Besides, to continue work on the protection of forest lands from insect pests and on the training of personnel.