On December 13, 2018, the State Duma Committee on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations recommended that the lower house of parliament adopt a draft law in the second reading that would improve the legal regulation of relations related to ensuring the conservation of forests on forest land and other land categories.

As the committee chairman Nikolay Nikolaev explained, the bill was prepared with the aim of fulfilling the presidential instructions and provides for comprehensive regulation of the legal status and regime of protective forests and specially protected forest areas, as well as imposing strict restrictions on clear cuts.

«A significant part of the draft law is devoted to issues related to the creation of forest areas, as well as the classification of forests as protective forests and the allocation of specially protected forest areas, including the establishment and change of their boundaries», — said the head of the Duma committee.

According to him, it is important that an article appears on the design of forestry, which will be carried out in order to establish the main territorial units of management, determine the boundaries, quarterly networks, forestry areas. “All this is very detailed, so that the forestry bodies can initially plan the activity of forest areas and establish their boundaries. These norms will solve one of such important tasks as registering our forests», — explained Nikolaev.

The draft law excludes the concept of «forest park» from the Forest Code. «At the same time, we establish that within 12 months from the moment of the entry into force of the bill, all forest parks should be reissued into forest districts. As a result, we will have even more opportunities to protect forests and define their borders», — said Nikolayev. According to the deputy, the analysis of law enforcement practice showed that the preservation of such a structural unit as forest parks is inexpedient and inefficient, since for the years of using this concept in the Code and other federal laws, an insignificant number of such structural units was created.

In addition, a separate article on urban forests appears in the bill. «It is established that changing the boundaries of the land on which urban forests are located and which may lead to a decrease in their area is not allowed. This is very important», — the politician emphasized. At the same time, urban forests are divided into a separate category of protective forests, which will allow better taking into account the peculiarities of their use, protection, protection and reproduction, he added.

During the preparation of the draft law for the second reading, the «Russian Forest» National Association of Timber Industry conducted an expert evaluation among timber manufacturers and spoke in support of the adoption of the draft law, stressing: as we expect, it will effectively affect the fight against «black loggers» and illegal logging in protective forests», — said the Vice President of the Association Ivan Sukhorukov.

The draft law also sets out in a new edition an entire chapter of the Forestry Code, dedicated to the regulation of the use, protection, protection and reproduction of protective forests, production forests and reserve forests. It also introduces a separate chapter on forests located on lands that are not lands of the forest fund, including on lands of defense and security, on lands of settlements, as well as on agricultural lands.