Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG)

Eastern Europe and Russia 
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IUCN works with partners (EU, World Bank, WWF and others) in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine to promote sustainable forest management and protection, to support sustainable livelihoods, and to ensure the region's contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

Learn about IUCN forest programme efforts in Eastern Europe and Russia. After all, about 1/4 of the world's forests live there.   

"The forests of the Russian Far East are the only place in the world where a tiger could conceivably kill a reindeer." 

-R. Aishton, IUCN Switzerland
Photo: A. Zaytsev / IUCN


The Caucasus Mountains shape the Armenian landscape. Forests of oaks, beech, and hornbeam grow and flourish on the steep slopes of the Lori, Tavush and Syunik Regions, which host rich biodiversity and represent an important source of fuelwood and other non-timber forest products and services for rural communities. 

"By increasing public participation in forest activities, programmes like public forest monitoring will do more than just help combat illegal logging, they will help bring about better, more transparent forest management and build a mutually beneficial relationship between forests, forest managers and forest communities." 
-L. Balyan, IUCN Armenia
Photo: Luba Balyan / IUCN


Azerbaijan is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in the Southern Caucasus region. Forests cover approximately 12% of the country, and are considered among the most valuable natural resources by the people.

"We hope this project will give us a better understanding of what people in Azerbaijan’s forest communities know and don’t yet know about how climate change could impact them and what they can do about it."      

                       -A. Garayev, IUCN Azerbaijan 
on the IUCN supported rural 
forest dependency study 



Spruce and Scot's pine dominate the forests, which cover over 40% of the country. Forest ecosystems are a source of fuelwood and timber, but also provide other important products such as berries and mushrooms.

"Working together on the transboundary partnership of forest dependent communities will make our network of lodges and forest-related tourist attractions even more effective."  

-O. Makhanenko, Lepel community member on an IUCN supported effort to partner villages in Russia and Belarus to support tourism
Photo: Nikolai Cherkas


Georgia shares two of the 35 biodiversity hotspots on the planet, and it borders the Black Sea, whose basin is part of a huge, diverse and sensitive inland watershed. Much of the globally significant, untouched forest in Earth's moderate climate zone is situated in the mountainous regions of the country.

"The activities realised within the FLEG II Program are a precious support for our Ministry in the development of sectoral policies. The data on firewood needs provided by FLEG is crucial to the discussion on urgency of reforms both at the local and national levels."

-K. Amirgulashvili,
 Head of the Georgian Forest Policy Service 
on IUCN support toward the Georgian state programme on sustainable management of forests
Photo: ADA Georgia


Moldovan forests are dominated by broad-leaf species – mainly oaks and acacias, and cover approximately 11% of the country. Although the forest sector represented only 0.27% of Moldovan GDP in 2010, forests actually play a far more important role in the economy, especially for the inhabitants of rural communities who heavily depend on forest resources to meet household needs and supplement their incomes.

"FLEG studies on topics such as wood consumption, illegal logging, and timber traceability, constitute the primary source of most journal articles in the sector. As a result of FLEG's inputs, public awareness on these subjects has increased significantly." 

-V.Caiuc, Moldsilva Press Officer


Russia hosts more than one-fifth of the world's timber stock and the lion's share of primary boreal forests, which play a vital role in carbon sequestration, stabilising climate and regulating water balance on our planet. To manage these vast resources, Russia passed the 2007 Forest Code to outline procedures for forest use, bolster regional authority to combat illegal logging and delegate forest protection to forest businesses. Ensuing transitional issues required specific and urgent interventions to increase efficiency and ensure the legality and environmental soundness of the national forest sector.

"The involvement of local communities is a key factor in efficient forest resource management and increased landscape functionality. The successful partnership formed with the communities in Bezhanitsky District provides a solid basis for FLR [Forest Landscape Restoration]."
-A. Zaytsev,  IUCN Russia
on the beneficial relationship fostered by IUCN  between a local community and a protected area
Photo: Yulia Orlova


Forests occupy about 15% of Ukraine, distributed between four distinct temperate forest regions: Carpathian mountain forests, the northern forests (Polissia), the forest steppe and the steppe zone. IUCN has evolved into a key partner in facilitating public dialogue in the country's forest sector. 

"The new incoming parliamentary members wanted to take prompt actions against corruption, but they did not carefully weigh the negative consequences of the changes suggested... We stay at policy-makers' disposal to provide expert guidance and improve forest governance in Ukraine."  

-R. Volosyanchuk, IUCN Ukraine on IUCN and partners' support of Ukraine's forest policy reform
Photo: RomanVolosyanchuk / IUCN

Photo by Salome Idoidze