Georgia has approved National Forest Policy
26 December, 2013
Georgia has approved National Forest Policy
Georgia has a National Forest Policy at last. The government approved it on 11 December, and now all the other sectors of the economy must tailor their strategies and regulations to its key principles accordingly. The need for a national forest policy has been debated since Georgia became independent. Environmentalists argued that it was crucial in a country where forests cover roughly 40% of the territory, and most are in highland regions vulnerable to landslides. Moreover, from the forests originate the
abundant supply of fresh water and mineral water upon which Georgian depends for the generation of electricity, and key exports.
Yet government was dilatory; huge profits from illegal timbering and the export of precious specimens of unique trees were linked to high ranking officials. And 80-90% of the population in Georgian highlands depends on forests for firewood and income (mostly from illegal timbering).
The lack of a forest policy led to the devastation and degradation of forests, soil erosion, and frequent flooding coupled with landslides … translating into 40 thousand eco-migrants seeking shelter in the lowlands, while hundreds of millions in USD were lost by the Georgian economy.
No inventory of forests was carried out since 1998; forests were dispensed to foreign licensees, with long-term rental agreements, without a preliminary inventory. The previous government’s very liberal attitude was that inventory was an extra cost to the state, so leave the job to the private sector … licensees did inventories based on their own financial resources, while the state did not verify their authenticity.
As a result, now no one is entirely sure of the exact size and quality of Georgian forests; estimates fluctuate from 2.5 million hectares to 3 million, and roughly 50% of them are degraded.
In 2011, forest management was handed to the energy ministry, leading to a conflict of interest, and vehement protests by non-governmental environmentalists on both local and international levels. Only in December 2012 did the newly elected government of Georgia address the forest policy issue. It also returned the forest management mandate to the environment ministry once again.
The Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) - with the financial support from Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and in cooperation with Austrian Federal Forests (OBf) - prepared the draft of a national forest policy by the following summer. Since then government put the project to public discussion; the draft was scrutinized by governmental, scientific and non-governmental sectors; and parliament approved the document on 11 December.
According to Rezo Getiashvili, Media Consultant at CENN, the document reflects best international practices tailored to the needs and circumstances in Georgia. Its eight chapters define issues of the ownership, management and exploitation of forests in line with those best practices, and there is emphasis that all three should be in separate hands.
It allows for diversification of ownership within central and local governments, as well as the private sector, but while stressing that the majority of forest land should remain in state ownership since its importance to Georgia is more ecological than economic. The paper also calls for the adaption of Georgian forest management to climate change, better education, and more involvement of scientific and public sectors in forest related issues.
“The forest policy lays out forest planning and management crucial for exploitation,” Getiashvili said in an interview with Georgian Journal. “The paper states once and for all that inventory of the forests is a state obligation and should be implemented once per decade. The Policy envisages restoration of degraded forests and bases forest exploitation on effective and rational management. This means to create an alternative to firewood, to avoid burning of forests that have more ecological than economic importance here.”

Other Stories
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
Mziuri Park in Tbilisi to be renovated soon
It was the dream of prominent Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze that when the original Mziuri park was constructed and opened in 1892 that it should be a park for children,
Winemakers to produce Kvanchkara in its place of origin - Racha
Khvanchakara is a semi-sweet Georgian red wine which originates from Racha, in the western part of Georgia. Kvanchkara is made of two types of grape Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli.
The level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported has increased
The National Wine Agency of Georgia has recently published statistical information about the level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported between January and July, 2018.
New fire engines to be Manufactured in Georgia
The Acting Head of the Emergency Management Agency Shalva Khutsishvili said that the old Zili fire engines (which were made in the USSR) will be phased out and replaced with new ones, manufactured in Georgia.
Georgia witnesses a record number of tourists
The Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistical information about international visits to Georgia.
Canadian businessman plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro
Canadian businessman Vadim Malishev plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro resort, Guria, in the western part of Georgia.
Coffee Factory will open in Tbilisi in October
The first coffee factory (which will be located on the Kakheti highway) in Tbilisi will open in October.
Places in Georgia where real estate is the most expensive
The real estate market in Georgia is growing annually. In Tbilisi as well as other regions of Georgia new developments are increasingly taking place.
How much does a vacation cost in Tbilisi?
It is the middle of summer and those who have not yet taken a vacation are looking for an appropriate place for sure!
The price for extreme sports in Georgia
Georgia offers a variety of options to extreme sport lovers.
The number of Georgians who own property abroad increases
The number of foreign properties owned by Georgians is increasing.
How much does Taxi cost in Tbilisi?
Stories how Taxi drivers try to deceive passengers and charge them with more money than they should pay are known for everybody all over the world.
What are the highest paid areas in Georgia
According to the data collected by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in the first quarter of 2018 the highest paid jobs in Georgia are found in the financial and insurance fields.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange