Gateway to international timbertrade

Ukraine

Forest resources

According to the FAO (2015) the Ukraine has around 9.7 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 16.7% of the total land area. Only 60 thousand hectares (0.6%) are primary forests, 4.7 (49%) million hectares of otherwise naturally regenerated forest, and over 50%, 4.9 million hectares are planted forest.

According the law on forest categories and conservation value areas (2007), forests are divided into the following categories, depending on their main functions:

  1. forests with conservation, scientific, historical and cultural functions
  2. forests for recreation and health
  3. protection forests
  4. operational forests

As Ukraine is an agro-industrial country with a low percentage of forest cover, protective afforestation is extremely important here. Over 5 million ha of lands is under erosion which is caused by high level of ploughing up of agricultural lands. Agricultural afforestation is practiced longer than a century in big parts of Ukraine. The total forest area is growing, between 0.1-0.3% per year, mainly because of afforestation projects.

Ukraine contains four natural zones: broad leaves woodlands, forest-steppe, steppe, and Mediterranean Natural landscapes are represented (FAO, 2004). Most forests in Ukraine can be found in the northern forest belt and in Subcarpathia in the North West, with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and oak (Quercus spp.) as the main species. Big parts of the country are at the edge of the forest-steppe areas and steppe areas, with lower tree densities and mostly deciduous species. (Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine).

The vast majority of forests (about 87%) are state-owned. 1.3 million hectares (about 13%) of forestry land plots are attributed to communal property. They are in constant use by communal enterprises subordinated to local self-governing bodies. The share of forests in private property is less than 0.1% of the total forest area (Scientific Bulletin of UNFU, 2017). About 70% of forests are managed by the State Forest Resource Agency (SFRA) that is a part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Since 2004, regional forest directorates, one for each province, serve as the Agency’s regional bodies.

Another 24% of the forest area is managed by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and 2.2% by the Ministry of Defence. The largest part of wood products (80-90%) is produced by State Forest Enterprises, which carry out forest management activities under coordination with the Regional Directorates for Forestry and Game Management. Forest administration institutions in Ukraine are subject to frequent restructuring in the context of an unstable political situation.

Production and export

According to the data of FAOSTAT the industry of Ukraine produced in 2015 over 8.2 million m3 of logs, of which 36.5 % was exported.

According to Probos (2007), about 80% of the total harvest volume is produced by the enterprises subordinated to the State Forest Resource Agency (former name State Committee of Forestry). Mean annual increment is quite low in these areas, about 5 m3 per hectare in Subcarpathia to 2.5 m3/ha/year in the Steppe areas. The main tree species are Scots pine, European oak, Common beech, Norway spruce, European birch, Common alder, European ash, Hornbeam and Silver fir. Coniferous forests (42% of the total forest cover) and especially Scots pine (33%) are predominant. As for hardwood the most important is oak and beech (32%). (FAO, 2004).

Raw material is going to the timber, pulp and paper, furniture and resin industries. Commonly produced wood products for domestic and international market are: veneer, plywood, sawn timber, boards, various molded materials, charcoal, pellets etc. Ukraine’s timber and timber processing industry counts more than 8,000 enterprises, 500 of which are large and medium enterprises. 60% of those enterprises are active in the production of wood and wood products, including 25% sawmills. About 30% of the enterprises is active in carpentry. The remaining 10% covers the pulp and paper industry. The total number of employees in the timber sector is more than 120 thousand people (Popadynets 2014).

As we can see in the graph below, most exported timber products go to neighbouring countries. The export routes are via railway to the western border and over water via the Black Sea.

Sources of information

Legality framework


Forest governance

Forest Code and programmes

In 1994 the Ukrainian Parliament has adopted the Forest Code of Ukraine which regulates forestry management in modern socio-economic conditions and is aimed at conservation, improvement of wood quality and sustainable forest management. In 2002 the Parliament of Ukraine has adopted a new Land Code of Ukraine. Changes in land ownership caused the necessity to develop a new version of the Forest Code of Ukraine. In April 2002 the government of Ukraine has adopted the programme Forests of Ukraine for 2002-2015. Realization of this programme extends forest covered territories and other wooded lands.

State Forest Resources Agency (SFRA) is the main state authority in forest and hunting management. The main objectives of the State Forest Resources Agency are:

  • to implement the state politics in forest and hunting management, protection and conservation, sustainable forest management, regeneration of forest resources and game animals, to improve the efficiency of forest and hunting management;
  • to administer, regulate and control forest and hunting management;
  • to develop and implement the national, international and regional programs in order to protect forests, improve their productivity, sustainable forest management and reforestation, management and regeneration of game animals, development of hunting and forest management planning. (Website State Forest Resources Agency)

Monitoring

Ukrainian national forest monitoring system is organized, performed and guided by the scientific organizations of Ukrainian State Forest Resources Agency (SFRA). General supervision is provided by the Scientific and Information Department of the USCF.

The Laboratory of Forest Monitoring and Radioecology at the Ukrainian Research Institute of Forestry and Forest Melioration (URIFFM) is the main forest monitoring implementation center in Ukraine. The monitoring network covers main forest regions of the country and represents different geographical zones.

Legal rights to harvest

The State Forestry Enterprises (SFE’s) are the executive bodies of the Agency and manage the forest and organize timber production. They are obliged to offer the logs within the region on timber auctions, where only Ukrainian companies are allowed to buy it. The unsold remains can be sold directly by the State Forestry Enterprises. (Probos, 2007).

Only citizens and legal entities of Ukraine may own forests in Ukraine. According to the applicable Law of Ukraine "On concessions", concessions cannot be owned by forestry enterprises.

For state owned forests subordinated to the State Agency of Forest Resources of Ukraine (SAFRU) legal rights to harvest are based on availability of:

  • a forest inventory with plan and cartographic materials,
  • approval of annual allowable cut,
  • forest cutting ticket (issued by Regional Directorate of SAFRU), logging technological maps of cutting areas which reflect nature conservation requirements,
  • permits for employees to carry out high risk tasks.

For state enterprises which are not subordinated to SAFRU, communal or privately owned forests there are no uniform legal requirements on setting land tenure and management rights. But other requirements are the same for communal and privately owned land (approval of annual allowable cut, forest cutting ticket, logging technological maps, permits to carry out high risk tasks).

Taxes and fees

Taxes and royalties to be paid are determined depending on harvesting volume and species. It includes payment of rent for so called “special use forest resources”, payment of VAT and payment of income tax for permanent forest users or the single tax for forest users working under the simplified taxation system.

The law of Ukraine dated 10.07.2018 № 2497-VIII "on amendments to the tax code of Ukraine and certain laws of Ukraine on stimulation of formation and activity of Family farms" was amended, which provides land tax for all forest lands of Ukraine for which forest users are obliged to pay to local communities.

Timber harvesting activities

Harvesting permits (licenses) are issued by the Regional bodies of the State Forest Resources Agency SFRA for the harvesting of wood in final felling, based on properly approved annual allowable cut, and depending on a proper wood product accounting system, the terms for forest use and the transportation of harvested wood, the terms and methods for the cleaning of cutting areas, and plans to enhance natural regeneration after harvesting.

In order to obtain a harvesting permit, forest owners and permanent forest users must submit the following documents:

  • request for the use of forest resources with felling;
  • record/map of the cutting area;
  • field record list;
  • evaluation list;
  • plan for the management of the cutting area; and
  • plan of the cutting area.

Legislation requires incorporation of nature conservation requirements in the course of harvesting. This should begin with inclusion in logging area maps. Compliance with these documents is mandatory. The Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Protection of Virgin forests in accordance with the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (May 2017) defines the concept of "natural forests", "virgin forests" and establishes a special legal regime for their preservation, protective and other forest plantations, in national parks or on territories and objects of the nature reserve fund introducing an administrative responsibility for violating the requirements of protecting natural forests and virgin forests.

Third parties' rights

In Ukraine there are certain communities with some customary rights related to forests. However, there is no direct dependence of those communities on forests and/or forest products. Mainly customary rights coincide with the right of public use of forest resources, which is provided for by applicable legislation (FSC National Risk Assessment CW, 2019). 

Trade and transport

Ukraine has two timber flow control systems. The first one involves the issuance of a mandatory certificate of timber origin, preventing illegal export of timber. The second is implemented through the total marking of logs, while providing identification of timber (origin) and the transmission and control of information on various characteristics of the wood, until this is transferred to the buyer. The Unified State System of Electronic Accounting of Wood (USSEAW) is used to this end. It provides for individual marking and keeping electronic records about the logs at all technological stages of processing and logistics.  ENPI East-FLEG II, 2015).

There is an online list of issued certificates of origin, available at the State Forest Resources Agency's official website.

Wood industry of Ukraine in 2019 switched to new national wood standards harmonized with the European ones. According to new standards commercial (round) timber classified  on four quality classes (A-D): A type - highest class timber, B – medium class timber, C – below medium with minor defects and D – timber that does not meet the requirements of A-C types, but could be used for lumber. The rest of round timber is divided into industrial (length of 2-4 meters, could be used for production of chips or fuel) and nonindustrial (up to 2 meters of length, could be used for fuel) (Ukraine open for business, 2019).

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin.

Harvesting

Regional body of the State Forest Resources Agency SFRA
License to harvest based on a set of criteria
State Forestry Enterprise
Logging plan for cutting area which includes information what should be harvested, cartographic material, nature conservation limitations

Processing and Trade

Waybill
State Forest Enterprise
Waybill is issued for each transportation of wood and wood products.
State Forest Enterprise
Objective of this mandatory document to export timber is to confirm the legality of buying timber. To get the certificate of timber origin, it is required to provide harvesting permit and waybill. Possible to check issued certificates at: http://www.ukrforest.com/cert
Invoice
-
Issued by the selling party. It must include name of product, name of species, amount / volume.

Bans and quota

The export of lumber and timber of valuable and rare tree species from the custom territory of Ukraine is prohibited”. (Article 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On the specifics of state regulation of business subjects activities which are related to the sales and export of timber states). The same law defines that valuable and rare trees are:  Acacia, Sorbus torminalis, cherry tree, pear, walnut, chestnut, yew, bird-cherry, sycamore and juniper (the names of the species prohibited for export in Ukrainian:  акація, берека, вишня, груша, горіх, каштан, тис ягідний, черешня, явір, ялівець).

On April 13, 2015 the Parliament of Ukraine banned unprocessed timber export for 10 years. The legislative draft stipulates a temporary ban on unprocessed timber exports: all species with the exception of pine - effective January 1, 2016, and for pine unprocessed timber - effective January 1, 2017. It occurs that low-grade merchantable wood is exported as fuelwood, which is not subject to the export ban. Police, customs and other institutions control the transport and documents at the custom because of cases of violations.

From January 1, 2019, internal consumption of Ukrainian round wood is restricted to 25 million cubic meters a year by the law aimed amending other Ukrainian laws regarding preservation of Ukrainian forests and preventing illegal timber trade.

Cites and protected species

CITES is not applicable for Ukraine due to lack of tree species included in the CITES-Appendices.

National action on timber legality

Ukrainian national forest monitoring system is organized, performed and guided by the scientific organizations of the State Forest Resources Agency. General supervision is provided by the Scientific and Information Department.

ENPI-East FLEG (2015) reports on improvement of the timber flow control system and preparations for changes in the national legislation mentions the following Ukrainian actions on timber legality. Comparisons with other countries and tracing systems are made in different parts of the supply chain. Draft proposals on amendments in legislation are included, but it is unclear whether those suggestions are officially approved.

Third party certification

According to FSC (January  2019) Ukraine has 110  forest management certificates, covering an area of 4,33 million hectares. There are 284 company that are CoC certificate holders.

Contacts

Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources - MENR
Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine is a central executive authority activity of which is governed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
Ministry of Ecology and Natural resources operates in the field of environmental protection, ecological safety, treatment of waste, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and agricultural chemicals and perform state ecological expertise.
State Forest Resource Agency (SFRA)
State body responsible for implementation of forest (and hunting) policy and management.
SFRA is the central executive body, whose activities are directed and coordinated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, through the Minister Agricultural Policy and Food
Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food
Implements the state policy in the field of forestry and hunting
Ukrainian National Forestry University
University which trains the professionals at bachelor, master and PhD level for all professions in forest and wood processing sector and provides fundamental and applied forestry research.
Ukrainian Research Institute of Forestry and Forest Melioration (URIFFM)
Laboratory of Forest Monitoring and Radioecology
The main forest monitoring implementation centre in Ukraine.

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