Scientific and Expert Center
Koltsov Institute of Developmental Biology
Russian Academy of Sciences

Sustainable Nature Management: Problem Statement and Regional Experience

    A market economy is successfully solving the problem of improving the indicators of socioeconomic growth in accordance with the established rules of the game or the rules of this very market. The solution of social and environmental problems, however, is practically not accounted for at all and becomes the main function of the state and civil society. The success in solving these problems turns out to be dependent on their activity in this area.

    The main track in the use of natural resources to assure sustainable development can be defined as the minimization of extraction of nonrenewable natural resources and the compulsory compensation for this extraction by building up other types of capital (physical and human) and by the sustainable use of renewable resources. The binding condition of successful advance in this direction is also the simultaneous solution of socioeconomic problems. This is how we can presumably state the problem of assuring sustainable nature management today.

    As applied to forests, as one of Russia’s main natural riches, this means to ensure sustainable forest management with account for nature protection requirements and the necessity to solve the problems of socioeconomic growth and employment. Such forest management as a developmental priority implies not so much an increase in felling volumes but mainly the development of woodworking, heat and electricity generation from waste wood, sustained use of nonwood forest resources (mushrooms, berries, and medicinal plants), forest recreational use, hunting and fishing, and ecotourism. The development and use of all this is implied by the indicators of sustainable development in socioeconomic plans.

    By now this topic is not only limited to the declaration of what could be done but has a rich practical background in a number of areas.

    The economic assessment of nature capital, the calculation of indicators of sustainable nature management, and their inclusion in the plans of socioeconomic development allows us to pinpoint and implement the optimal ways of sustainable nature management.

    The sustained use of nonwood forest resources (including mushrooms and berries) has shown its effectiveness both in planning nature protection and in solving socioeconomic problems, primarily, employment.

    Very promising in this respect is support for traditional nature management by indigenous peoples as recreation and tourism develop, including specially protected natural sites, which solves concurrently the problems of employment and nature protection.

    Comprehensive environmental and economic assessment of the value of natural resources opens new prospects for ensuring sustainable nature management, including forest resources. One of them is the assessment of the assimilatory capacity of forests (in terms of carbon dioxide absorption) in relation to the volume of discharges in a region. This shows the importance of forest protection and forestation, the active introduction of market mechanisms of emissions trading with account for the value of forest resources, both nationally and internationally.


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