Russian Federation

The land area of the Russian Federation extends across several climate and vegetation zones, including polar and sub-tropical regions. In 2010, Russia had 755Mha of tree cover, extending over 45% of its land area. Russia has the largest forest area of all countries and is also a major producer and exporter of timber: it was the largest exporter of sawn wood in 2020 (UNECE, 2020). In recent years, Russia has been experiencing significant environmental issues including deforestation. From 2001 to 2021, Russia lost 76.0Mha of tree cover, equivalent to a 10% decrease in tree cover since 2000 (Global Forest Watch). In an effort to combat illegal logging, the government introduced an eight-year plan in 2012 called The Development of Forestry 2013-2020, aiming to reduce illegal logging and increase profits from the timber sector. This was followed by an update to the Criminal Code in 2014 to include stricter penalties for illegal logging, transport and sale and, in 2015, the launch of an electronic system for recording timber-related information, the Uniform State Automated Information System (EGAIS). Currently, a new strategy (Strategy for the Development of the Timber Industry until 2030) is under development with the objective to decriminalize and expand the wood sector. The project includes an upgrade of the “LesEGAIS” system and a pilot project for increased traceability functions within this system.

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Last updated: March 2023

Forest Management

Forest Governance

Russia’s forest lands are owned by government authorities. Private businesses carry out forest management under lease contracts. The following agencies/ministries oversee regulation and management of forest lands and products in Russia:


For information regarding transparency and risk scores in Russia, head to these links:

  • Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index ranks countries and territories based on perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.
  • The World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators summarize the views on the quality of governance provided by a large number of enterprise, citizen and expert survey respondents in industrial and developing countries.

Laws & Regulations

Forestry Laws

Here is a list of Russia’s laws and policies pertaining to forests and timber production. Many of the texts are available here, but be sure to check for additions and amendments.

Please note that many of these laws are in Russian only, where possible a link to an English language summary has been provided.

  • Forest Code No.200 – FZ (2006): Acts as the main forestry law of the Russian Federation. The code is aimed to increase the processing capacity. The code defines ownership, use, renewal, protection administration and management of forest resources. The code states that public forest can be leased for established periods.
    • Article 72 of the Forest Code: Contains information on the lease agreement for a publicly owned or municipally owned forest parcel. The requirements are as followed:
      • For a forest parcel to be leased it must go through the state cadastral registration.
      • The lease can last from 10 to 49 years, and is dependent on the period of the permitted forest use specified in the forest management plan.
      • If the lessee used the land with respect for due diligence and good practice, upon the lease's expiration the lessee will have preferential rights for beginning a new period of lease.
    • Article 29 of the Forest Code: Outlines the law with regards to timber harvesting. The requirements are as followed:
      • The harvesting of timber is permitted in production forests and protection forests unless stated in federal law.
      • Dead, damaged and over-mature timber will be the first to be made available for harvesting.
      • Allowable cutting volumes may not be exceeded and cutting cannot take place until trees reach a minimum age.
      • The minimum age is calculated by the federal executive body, which is also responsible for calculating the amount of allowable cut.
      • A list of the tree and shrub species which are banned from being harvested shall be made and updated by the Russian Federation Government (Order number 513).
  • Regional Law No. 12-ZKO “On delimitation of plenary powers between state bodies in the sphere of forest relations" (2011): Establishes the powers of regional governments in relation to forestry, including “law making; ownership, management and disposal of forest plots; establishment of the functional zones in urban recreational forests; establishment of rates of payment for timber extraction and forest lease of plots of public forest; establishment of modalities for conclusion of contracts with citizens for purchase and sale of forest species and organization of forest fire prevention arrangements”.
  • The Russian Roundwood Act (2013): Sets out requirements for harvesting, including requirements for measurement, documentation, marking, registration and transportation of roundwood. The law has been implemented in four stages.
    • Starting in July 2014: roundwood required transportation documentation,
    • Starting in January 2015: measurement requirements, marking for logs of valuable hardwoods, introduction of penalties for missing documentation,
    • Starting in July 2015: roundwood sales were required to be declared in an open-source database.
    • Starting in January 2016: penalties were implemented for non-compliance with the law concerning the roundwood transaction declaration.

Processing/Manufacturing Laws

In Russia, the rights to use forest parcels is linked to a specific forest use. For example, a citizen may have the right to harvest wood, but not to collect non-timber forest products. The full list of permissible forest uses can be found in Article 25 of the Forest Code. Most wood processed in Russia is sourced from domestic forests, imports are almost negligible.

Transport Laws

Tax Laws

Trade Laws

  • Forest Code (2006):
    • Article 29 Section 8 states that citizens may harvest wood under a lease agreement, each forest unit requires a separate agreement if a citizen wishes to harvest from multiple units. If timber is harvested without allocation of forest management units, then citizens must harvest under a sale-purchase contract for forest stands.
    • Chapter 7 outlines sale-purchase contracts in detail.
    • Article 75 states that a sales-purchase contract is used to sell forest stands (publicly owned or municipally owned). The Code requires the following:
      • A contract that states the specific location of the forest stands and the volume of wood to be harvested,
      • A technological map of the area,
      • A felling area allocation plan,
      • A spreadsheet of financials and material assessment of the felling area,
      • A post-logging report on the forest use and regeneration. 
  • Regional Law No. 2859-OZ on regulation of some relations in the sphere of turnover of timber: Aims to prevent illegal logging by establishing requirements for receiving, storing, processing and shipping timber. The law requires the following:
    • Timber must be registered using a certificate of delivery of timber and an account ledger,
    • Timber must be accompanied by a personal identity document from the supplier; a copy of purchase and sale contract of forest species and (if the supplier is not a timber logger) a copy of a document demonstrating ownership of timber.

International Trade in 2022 – Effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict (last update: March 2023)

Russia´s armed conflict with Ukraine affects Russia´s international trade in forest products in several ways, measures include:


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement among governments whose purpose is to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plant species does not threaten the survival of these species. It is up to each country to draft their own domestic legislation to comply with its CITES obligations. Russia signed onto the Convention in 1992.

Species under the protection of CITES are listed under three Appendices based on how threatened they are by international trade. The species listed in Appendix I face the highest level of threat. The international trade of Appendix I is prohibited, unless the purpose of import is noncommercial. The trade of species listed under Appendix II is tightly controlled and may be authorized with an export permit or re-export certificate. Any species listed under Appendix III have been listed at the request of a Party that needs other countries’ cooperation to regulate the trade of the species. International trade in Appendix III is allowed with appropriate permits or certificates.

If you don’t know if the species you are interested in sourcing from this country is CITES listed, please check this link. If the species is listed, please use this database to identify the National CITES Authority. Normally, the CITES Authority is the same agency that oversees forest resources.

Forest Resources

Resources Overview

There are 3 forest types in Russia:

  • Protection forests
  • Production forests
  • Reserve forests

Timber harvesting is allowed in production and protection forests. In 2010, Russia had 755Mha of tree cover, extending over 45% of its land area. From 2001 to 2021, Russia lost 76.0Mha of tree cover, equivalent to a 10% decrease in tree cover since 2000 (Global Forest Watch). Russia contains the largest area of forest of any state on Earth, accounting for more than 20% of the planet’s forest estate (larger than the Amazon rainforest) and representing 11% of biomass on Earth. As of 2000, 45% of Russia was natural forest cover.

Tools and Resources

  • Preferred by Nature’s (formerly known as NEPCON) Sourcing Hub provides a country-by-country evaluation of the risk of timber being harvested, transported or traded illegally.
  • The Timber Trade Portal, launched by the European Timber Trade Federation and the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) provides country profiles on the timber industry and legislation of producer countries, mainly in tropical Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • WRI’s Global Forest Watch platform provides data and tools to monitor forests, including by providing near real-time information about where and how forests are changing.