The hearings were devoted to discussing ways to improve forest and hunting legislation, as well as improving the efficiency of multi-purpose forest management. The event was organized by the Committee on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations.

The hearings «Problems and Prospects of Legislative Regulation of Multi-Purpose Use of Forest Resources» were the outcome of the National Forest Forum, which was held in five stages in different regions of Russia. Deputies, members of the Federation Council, representatives of federal ministries and departments, regional authorities, public and scientific organizations, professional communities discussed the opinions, suggestions and concerns expressed by the forum participants, identified priority areas for improving forest and hunting legislation.

«The goal of the parliamentary hearings is to develop priorities for improving forest legislation in order to preserve forests, increase the efficiency of multi-purpose forest use, counteract illegal use of forests, and increase the efficiency of forestry», - said First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov, adding that the hearings are designed to determine the nearest plans for the legislative work of parliamentarians on these issues in the near future.

He recalled that «Russia is a fifth of the world's forest area, and in terms of the volume of wood per capita we are the absolute leaders». «The forestry and timber industry in timber harvesting and processing occupies one of the central places in the country's economy - 60 thousand enterprises, more than 1 million jobs», - added the parliamentarian.

Ivan Melnikov also spoke about the legislative decisions that the State Duma made to support Russian forests and forestry: «From the beginning of the seventh convocation, we have ensured the adoption of a number of important legislative initiatives for the development of legal regulation in the forest industry: we introduced forest competitions for downstream enterprises, electronic auctions, published on the Internet information about forests, allowed citizens to collect deadwood, fixed an important formula - one hectare of mine workings - one hectare of restoration».

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, head of the Federal Forestry Agency Ivan Valentik, in his speech, thanked the Chairman of the State Duma for having «supported and actively promoted the implementation of the idea of the first National Forest Forum». Ivan Valentik recalled that the forum was held in different regions of Russia, and «this made it possible to analyze not only the whole complex of problems in the forest industry as a whole, but also to assess the problems in the industry in the regional aspect». In this regard, he noted that at present the priority tasks are to ensure compliance with the ecological balance, guaranteed reforestation and high-quality reproduction of forests.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation, Head of the Federal Agency for Forestry, Ivan Valentik

Ivan Valentik also thanked the State Duma deputies and members of the Federation Council for supporting the initiative, «which was previously voiced by Sergey Ivanov [special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on environmental protection, ecology and transport] and was eventually implemented in the adopted law on compensatory reforestation». According to the head of the agency, the document implements «the main principle - a hectare of felled forest, regardless of the type of use of the territory, should be provided with a guaranteed hectare of reforestation, and using seedlings of high quality planting material». According to him, annually for the needs of subsoil use and placement of linear objects, up to 150 thousand hectares of forest were cut down. «Today this legislative gap has been filled», - said Ivan Valentik.

He also noted that key knowledge has a social aspect of industry development. «It’s not only how we have worked to effectively protect forests from fires and pests», - he said.

«The population’s assessment of the quality of the results of our work depends on this, so the efforts that we make will be [further] directed to this», - he stressed.

Nikolay Nikolayev, Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations, noted that “the President in his Address to the Federal Assembly and in his «May» decree defined very serious ambitious goals for the whole country, primarily related to a breakthrough in the country's economy. But we understand perfectly well that there will be no breakthrough if we do not effectively use what we have, primarily natural resources, and, of course, this is a forest», - he stressed.

«But this is not enough. We need to create a single state geo-information system of forest wealth in the country», - Nikolai Nikolayev stressed, adding that there should be not only information about forest sites, but also about reforestation and forest wealth».

«In this system, there should be data not only on stocks and quality of wood, but also on stocks of wild-growing plants, materials on the presence and composition of the animal world, the boundaries of hunting farms, the results of reforestation and much more. This is necessary, if we want, in the end, to set priorities for each specific forest area», - Nikolai Nikolayev emphasized.

The parliamentarian cited data that at present the wood reserves in the Russian Federation are 84 billion cubic meters, they contain more than 13 million tons of mushrooms, berries and nuts, 7.5 million tons of which are available for collection.