The sale of wood without electronic centralized records will be considered illegal from April 2020 and will be subject to additional checks by law enforcement authorities, Head of the State Forest Resources Agency Andriy Zablotsky has said. “95% of all wood logged by forestry enterprises in Ukraine is subject to electronically record-keeping. With dry figures, this means that 526 permanent forest users are connected to the electronic centralized records, of which 341 are state-owned enterprises, organizations and institutions, 144 are municipal enterprises and 41 are forest users who belong to other organizational and legal forms of management,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
According to Zablotsky, the remaining 5% are individual municipal and private enterprises that are in the process of training and connecting to the electronic centralized records. He reminded that previously only forestry enterprises managed by the State Forest Resources Agency worked in the electronic record-keeping system.
The head of the State Forest Resources Agency said that access to the unified public system of electronic record-keeping of wood was provided to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Police, the State Fiscal Service, the Security Service of Ukraine and other public bodies so that they had the opportunity to verify the legality of wood transportation. The public can verify the legality of logging through the Forest in a Smartphone system and the legality of its transportation by tag number, consignment notes and the vehicle, he said.
“Starting in April, the sale of wood without electronic records will be considered unlawful and will be subject to additional checks by law enforcement agencies,” Zablotsky said.
The State Forest Resources Agency is also preparing amendments to the legislation regarding the criminalization of trade in illegally logged wood and the inaccuracy of information entered into the electronically record-keeping system.
In addition, according to the head of the State Forest Resources Agency, it is planned to resolve the issue of full certification of wood products, so that there are no legislative gaps when individual wood products are exported from Ukraine without certificates of origin.
“Often there are questions both from trading partners and from society that such products are made from wood of dubious origin,” Zablotsky said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has instructed the Cabinet of Ministers before November 1, 2019 to introduce the mandatory wood electronic recording and design and submit to parliament a bill on the rules of selling wood at tenders.
According to a posting on the website of the president, the decree on some measures to preserve forests and rational use of forestry resources was signed on Tuesday.
According to the decree, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is tasked to develop and submit to the Verkhovna Rada a bill approving the rules of selling timber on a competitive basis and introducing the unified public system of electronic wood records for all permanent forest users, a bill introducing criminal and administrative liability for the non-provision of information, provision of false information to the unified public system of electronic wood records.
The Cabinet of Ministers was ordered to develop and approve the procedure for monitoring domestic consumption of domestic unprocessed wood in pursuance of Article 4 of the law of Ukraine on the specifics of the public regulation of operation of business entities related to the sale and export of timber.
The government is to ensure access to information about wood flow in the open data format.
Before November 1, 2019, the government is to introduce electronic wood records by state-owned enterprises managed by the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, and ensure the publication of monthly reports on the status of implementation and operation of the electronic wood records system at these state-owned enterprises.
The regional administrations, the Kyiv City Administration are tasked to toughen control over the use and protection of forests, including take measures to counter illegal logging in accordance with the legislation.
Ukraine in 2018 logged around 22 million cubic meters (mcm) of wood, Deputy Head of the State Agency of Ukraine for Forest Resources Volodymyr Bondar said, presenting a report of the authority in Kyiv on Friday. According to him, the enterprises of the agency logged 16.5 mcm of wood (a rise of 3.7% compared with 2017), and about 5-6 mcm of timber was logged by other forest users.
The state forest agency sold 13.7 mcm of round wood to the domestic market (a rise of 9%) for the amount of UAH 12.8 billion, another 2.2 mcm of wood was sent to processing enterprises. Some 527,000 cubic meters of wood were sold to foreign markets (a fall of 40%) for the amount of UAH 0.4 billion. The average price of a cubic meter of wood sold is UAH 946.
According to Bondar, illegal logging in 2018 in the forests managed by the agency amounted to 17,700 cubic meters, and the loss from illegal logging was UAH 117 million. The stock of timber in the Ukrainian forests is estimated at 2.1 billion cubic meters, the annual increase is about 35 mcm of wood. The average annual volume of logging is about 22 mcm.
According to the deputy head of the agency, the agency intends to focus on forest inventory and environmental protection measures in 2019. “We hope this year to improve the work on forest reproduction through the creation of the forest fund in the national budget. In particular, we hope to increase the rate and volume of forest reproduction in the South and East,” Bondar said.
According to the agency, the area of forest reserves of the agency’s forest structure is 16.6%.
According to the national budget for 2019, UAH 614.7 million was announced for the State Agency of Ukraine for Forest Resources, of which UAH 462 million is for forestry and hunting, protection of forests in the forest fund. As reported, the State Agency of Ukraine for Forest Resources plans to launch a pilot project of an electronic register of logging tickets in March.
The total area of forest areas in Ukraine is almost 10.4 million hectares, the forest cover of Ukraine is 15.9%. Some 7.6 million hectares of forests (73% of the forest fund of Ukraine) are subordinate to the State Agency of Ukraine for Forest Resources.