Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP) for Ismailly Forest Management Unit
The purpose of the meeting was to present the initial draft of the Sustainable Forest Management Plan (SFMP) for Ismailly Forest Management Unit to the participants from the government agencies: the Forest Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ismailly Forest Protection and Restoration Enterprise; to the local communities and authorities in order to obtain their feedback through discussion and incorporate their relevant comments and suggestions into the final report.
Konul Ahmadova, WWF National Program Coordinator, emphasized the importance of implementation of new forest management tools in order to manage unique forest of Azerbaijan in a sustainable way in her opening speech: “Azerbaijani forests belong to the First Category (with primarily protective functions), however, FSC principles can be used for their sustainable management”.
Vasiliy Gerasimov, FLEG II international forestry expert hired to prepare the SFMP for Ismailly Forest Management unit, introduced the concept of sustainable forest management, comparison of traditional and sustainable forest management systems and provided sustainable forest management plan cycle to participants. As stated by the expert, the plan takes into account both the requirements of the local legislation in the forestry sector, primarily, the Forest Code of Azerbaijan and National Forestry Program and the proposals on improving legal framework. It also covers the requirements of the voluntary forest certification according to the FSC system, in particular, the requirements on identifying and managing High Conservation Values. This plan can be used as a basis for other forestry units of Azerbaijan.
Ismailly district is located in the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus, in the high and middle mountainous zone. The highest point in the territory is the Babadag (3,629 m).
The total area of the Ismailly district is 217,315 ha.
The population of the district is 82,000 people.
The area of forest fond land is 62,380 ha, of which 35,557 ha is under the authority of Ismailly Forest Protection and Restoration Enterprise and the remaining 26,823 ha is part of Shahdag National Park.
FLEG II GIS expert, Elena Popova, explained that a forest management compartment is taken as a basic zoning unit, however in some cases, landscape boundaries of the territory and remoteness from human settlements have been used for the zoning purposes. She discussed problems that popped up during the mapping and main of them was “low quality of basic data”.
The meeting followed up with discussions. Jabbar Garibov, representative of the Ismailly Forest Protection and Restoration Enterprise, expressed his idea regarding forest inventory conducted in 2005 in a following way - “financial and technical resources could not allow providing more precise data”.
Sustainable forest management plan relates to the multiple uses and functions of the forests (e.g., wood production, collecting non-wood forest products, recreation, protection of soil and water resources, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration) and aims to maintain and enhance social, cultural, environmental and economic values of forests for the benefit of present and future generations. The new understanding of the concept became increasingly influential with the increasing rates of deforestation and degradation of the world’s forests, and has become an integral component of international agreements and forest policy deliberations in the past two decades.