From 21-24 October The Forests Dialogue (TFD) convened a broad group of
stakeholders in Sykyvkar, Republic of Komi, Russian Federation to discuss how
forests and forest industry contribute to rural livelihoods. Komi provided a local
context for this discussion, which also drew on experience and perspective from New
Zealand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the United States, South Africa,
Indonesia and Bolivia. Participants worked to identify key challenges and
opportunities related to rural forest livelihoods, in Komi and around the world.
Local and international participants representing forest industry, NGOs, community
groups, indigenous organizations, government, development agencies and academia
participated in the Dialogue and field visits to villages, logging settlements and
forestry enterprises in the Priluzje region of Komi. They observed how the forestlivelihood
connection is manifested in such issues as a new forest concession system
and its impact on small-medium enterprises, the use of contractors, mechanization
of the logging process, out-migration from depressed forest villages, the key role of
non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the rural economy, and attempts to
incorporate greater local input in forest management.