Non-Timer Forest Products in the Siberian Taiga

Originally posted in 2007 by Steph

As a member of the Tomsk Taiga Forest Biodiversity team who journeyed to Western Siberia last summer, I learned a huge amount about how much rural communities depend on the forest for sustenance, their sense of identity and in a few cases, income. The team was there to measure Kaltaiskii forest’s ecological diversity, which we did by laying out 140 transects through the dense boreal woods and looking at occurences of dead wood, the biological topography and animal activity. As well as this practical field work, I was charged with carrying out sociological research in a small village on the outskirts of the forest to ascertain the role of the forest in the day to day lives of this former timber town. The results are impressive: one hundred percent of those people I interviewed used forest products of some description, be it the yearly mushroom gathering expedition, use of medicinal herbs and berries or for firewood. The potential for commercial use of these products as an alternative to illegal logging in the area is high, but remains latent whilst the future role of forest use under the new Forest Code of the Russian Federation is undetermined, and resources for establishing small businesses are few and far between. This report touches on many issues surrounding the role of NTFPs including their historcal and cultural importance as well as the role of civil society in solving Russia’s environmental problems. Enjoy!

Read full research report here! (PDF, 2.79MB)

More about the Tomsk Taiga project here

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