Following the principles of responsible forest management and supply, Segezha Group has taken measures to preserve the biodiversity of the forests it has leased and minimise its impact on local flora and fauna.
When planning economic activities, the company deploys every means available to check whether a leased forest includes ecologically valuable areas. If so, they cooperate with interested parties to establish an appropriate protection regime there. The company ensures the preservation of biodiversity at three levels: the landscape, that is, large expanses of forest (intact forest landscapes); the biological community (rare types of forest, habitats of rare flora and fauna species); and at the local level (biodiversity at felling sites — biotopes and elements of biodiversity). Every year, the company monitors forests with a high conservation value and decides whether its protective measures are adequate.
Segezha Group keeps continual track of forest areas with rare ecosystems. When logging, experts detect valuable local ecosystems at each felling site and preserve them. Currently, about 16 thousand hectares are under supervision. The list of endangered species and their habitats is also constantly upd ated. Currently, the company is monitoring more than 70 rare animal species and over 100 plant species. There are more than 300 hectares densely inhabited by rare species. The main seasonal habitats cover 15 thousand hectares. The company preserves forest allotments that are important for the survival of species and refuses to use chemicals that would hinder their survival.
Most rare animal and bird species live in or by the water, on its banks, in swamps and the margins of the forest. The company regularly updates its forest management plans to assess the impact of economic activities (like felling and the construction of forest roads). During withdrawal fr om logging sites, the company's staff marks elements of biodiversity and biotopes with ribbons and marks them on technological maps as non-operational areas. The maps of valuable sites are publicly available. Such areas are not part of logging sites. The company monitors indicator species to track the changes in the numbers of protected plants and animals. When conducting logging operations under each contract, the lessee assumes obligations to preserve the main biotopes and key sites.
This spring, Segezha Group signed an open-ended Agreement with WWF-Russia on the preservation of valuable forests in the Arkhangelsk Region with an area of 600 thousand hectares. From 2018 to 2019, the company and local environmental organisations carried out a large-scale work to identify and agree on the environmental policy framework (a se t of ecosystems with an individual environmental management regime for each site) within the bounds of intact forest landscapes. As a result, they detected forests of high conservation value and rare endangered species inhabiting such territories. They identified animal migration routes, the winter and the summer pastures of the reindeer (listed as endangered). They also determined wh ere rare types of forest are to be found, which serve as the reindeers' main source of food.
Segezha Group contributes to the preservation of biodiversity by reforestation and fighting forest fires, which are a powerful natural and anthropogenic factor that poses a threat to animals and plants. The burnt territories are assigned to the forest pathological survey so that local authorities can decide whether sanitary felling and subsequent reforestation are necessary. All of the company's logging activities are aimed at bringing clear-cut areas and areas of reforestation to the same ecological state. In 2021, Segezha Group committed to upping reforestation to 33 thousand hectares (or by 13%), but the actual increase amounted to 32% compared to the previous year, with the reforested area reaching 38,647 hectares. In 2020, the company reforested 29.1 thousand hectares of woodland, 12% more than in 2019.
According to the Red Data Book, in the territory of the company's presence in the Kirov Region, the following species are endangered: the Russian desman, European mink, grey heron, black stork, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and others. In the Republic of Karelia: the grey crane, whooper swan, bean goose, white-tailed eagle, black-throated loon, reindeer and some rare plants, many of which are medicinal. The leased territories in the Arkhangelsk Region are inhabited by finches, cuckoos, woodpeckers, wood grouses, black grouses, hazel grouses and eagle owls. Rare bird species in the Arkhangelsk Region include the golden eagle, osprey and white-tailed eagle.