On April 13, 2017 State Statistics Service published latest data regarding forestry industry operations in 2016. Official data reveal that fuel wood comprised 57,6% of all commercial wood harvested (the remaining 42,2% represent unprocessed timber). Most commercial wood was harvested through “sanitary” logging (47,3%) and through main-use logging (43%). Illegal logging was confirmed in 7506 cases in 2016. Yet, these numbers are far from reality given the numerous photo evidences, including aerial photos.
The import ban imposed on unprocessed timber did not contribute to sustainable and environmental balanced forestry practices. On the contrary, the forestry sector is pushed to use more sophisticated illegal business tools, such as selling commercial wood as wasted wood while lack of control and adequate liability facilitates these illegal practices.
Official data suggest that forests occupy 15,9% of the territory of Ukraine in 2015. Some independent experts estimate forests share to be 11% only due to illegal logging. Introducing sustainable management approaches in forests should be based on realistic analysis of the situation, which in turn requires effective monitoring system regarding forests use (including an interactive logging map).