According to the international non-profit non-governmental organization Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Ukraine, as of January 2019, the area of 4.08 million hectares of forest has been certified.
Forest certification is the assessment of the compliance of the forest management system with the established international requirements for forest management and forest use on the basis of sustainable development. The purpose of forest certification is to ensure economically, ecologically and socially balanced forest management through the implementation of relevant generally accepted and credible standards.
Ecologically balanced and responsible forest management involves the harvesting of timber and other forest products while preserving the biodiversity and productivity of forests, natural ecological processes.
Certification is carried out by accredited international organizations (or national organizations on the basis of internationally approved procedures). Such certification procedures guarantee the independence, impartiality and objectivity of forest management assessments in any country. Currently, this certification is in effect in 84 countries all over the world.
Volodymyr Bondar, the Deputy Head of the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine, emphasized that almost all FSC-certified forests are under the authority of the Agency.
"Nearly half of the forestry under the responsibility of the State Forest Resources Agency has already been certified by now. In recent years, we have significantly increased the area of certified forests. The international certification has mostly covered, so to say, thick-wooded areas of Ukraine. And we will continue this work. Unfortunately, in the southern and eastern regions certification was not carried out through the lack of funding", stressed Volodymyr Bondar.
He also emphasized that at the end of last year the Accreditation Services International (ASI) verified activities of audit firms that provide FSC certificates and did not reveal any deficiencies.
"Those were independent auditors who, at their discretion, chose sites for verification. They did not reveal any inadequacies in the economic activity of state-owned forest enterprises, which acted as objects of evaluation, dealing with timber harvesting, forest management data, documents related to forest products, sales, pricing, contracts, and other. And they did not find evidence that would confirm the theory of using sanitary cuttings for the illegal removal of healthy trees", stressed Volodymyr Bondar, the Deputy Head of the State Forest Resource Agency.
It should be noted that the total area of forest areas of Ukraine is almost 10.4 million hectares, including areas covered with forest vegetation with almost 9.6 million hectares. 7.6 million hectares of forest is under the responsibility of the State Forest Resource Agency, accounting for 73% of the total forest fund of Ukraine. According to official statistics, Ukraine's forestry accounts for 15.9% of the total territory of the state.