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From July 1, 2021, the rules for using the LesEGAIS information system will change in terms of entering data on timber transactions for all participants in the forestry industry.

The owners of warehouses and timber processing facilities are required to enter information about their facilities into the system. For now, there will be a transitional period – from July 1 to the end of 2021. Subsequently, loggers will have to enter information about the volume of wood, its type and size, delivery route and transport into the information system. If such data are not provided or the legality of timber is not confirmed, transactions will be blocked from January 1, 2022.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko, on behalf of the President of Russia, the Government is implementing an action plan for the development and decriminalization of the forestry complex. One of the key measures is the digitalization of the industry, which will allow introducing a system of traceability of timber movement at all stages. “From July 1, traceability points appear in the digital system – logging sites, warehouses, combines, points of customs declaration and timber export. This is necessary in order to link a specific volume of harvested wood, points of movement from a plot to warehouses and subsequent processing. Of course, there will be no sharp blocking of transactions, forest users have six months to test the functionality. Businesses need to get used to the digital footprint of every activity in the forest. But starting next year, if there is no “electronic passport”, there is no confirmation of the legality of the origin of the wood, its further implementation will be impossible, ”said Viktoria Abramchenko.

Thus, the state is implementing one of the first steps to whitewash the forest industry. The electronic system will contain all information on timber turnover, with its help control over the use of forests will be strengthened. “Analysis and comparison of information on transactions, movement of timber and places of its storage will seriously decriminalize the industry. The most important thing is that real control over timber turnover and the work of forest tenants will be introduced. In Russia, they are implementing a forestry reform according to strict rules: if logging is illegal, timber cannot be sold. There are no difficulties for conscientious loggers, but for the gray market, such digital control will not leave a choice, they will have to move to the white plane, ”said Rashid Ismailov, chairman of the Russian Ecological Society.

“The transition to the official practical phase of the implementation of the additional functionality of the unified forest accounting system is, without exaggeration, the most important step in the development of the Russian forest industry. This is a unique system – there are no analogues anywhere in the world. Segezha Group actively participated in testing and finalizing LesEGAIS in the regions of its presence. I would like to note the high level of coordination between the efforts of business and government officials, the complete absence of formalism and bureaucracy in dealing with work issues. In a very short time, it was possible to work out the optimal form of functioning of LesEGAIS in relation to the current regulatory framework. Of course, there is still a lot of groundwork for further improving the system, and we are ready for painstaking joint work to achieve the best result, “said Nikolay Ivanov, Managing Director for the Implementation of State Development Programs and Forest Policy at Segezha Group (part of AFK Sistema).

According to Alexander Protchenko, head of the Forest Management Department of the Sveza company, business supports the government’s initiative, which seeks to exclude criminal and fraudulent schemes in felling and hauling timber, to bring the volume of logging into line with the volume of timber sales: of accompanying documents brings tangible benefits: paperwork is reduced, registration and tracking of timber volumes is simplified. We also expect that the measures introduced will make it possible to more accurately calculate the volume of procurement and avoid a shortage of raw materials in the domestic market. The system of accounting for the movement of wood LesEGAIS is especially important in anticipation of the introduction of a ban on the export of unprocessed timber from Russia from January 1, 2022 ”. At the same time, the expert noted that the next six months will have to test what difficulties prevent loggers from fully complying with the requirements of the legislation and whether additional mechanisms are needed to secure the processes of entering data into the accounting system.

As early as January 1, 2022, an electronic accompanying document will allow recording the movement of wood and timber from the point of departure to the point of destination, which will enable related departments to carry out control and supervisory activities. The system will include information on the coordinates of forest plots and cutting areas, which will allow automatic checks for the legality of forest use by comparing the data available in the system with satellite images.

In addition, the system will implement a comparison of information (assortment, species composition, etc.) from documents of title to timber harvesting, as well as information from other declarations on timber transactions with the actual volume of timber recorded in the transaction. All these functions will allow you to track the chain of movement of wood from harvesting to the end consumer.

A forest declaration and a report on the use of forests can be submitted through the federal or regional portal of public services. The report on the balance of wood and processing facilities must be submitted once, before January 1, 2022.

The Deputy Prime Minister recalled that the Government is taking consistent steps to improve the situation in the industry. A new normative regulation was prepared, which is aimed at the conservation and rational use of forests, excluding cases of illegal use of wood. Among other changes, the law banned persons who do not have the right to logging in forests with logging equipment, as well as transfer forest plots to sublease. “A whole complex of legislative changes has already been adopted. We have reset most of the requirements that apply to both the state, which owns the forest as federal property, and to the business that operates in this forest. The control of timber turnover was prescribed in detail on the basis of the existing information system, and the state forest supervision was strengthened. Recently, amendments were adopted on the federalization of forest management and new rules for reforestation, ”said Victoria Abramchenko.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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