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Soviet forestry minister visits Sault Ste. Marie

by Geoff Hart

Previously published as: Hart, G.J.S. 1988. Soviet forestry minister visits Sault Ste. Marie. Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Forestry Newsletter, Fall:13–14.

On 11 and 12 July [1988], Dr. Aleksandr Isaev, Chairman of the State Committee of Forestry of the Soviet Union for the Goskoles Soviet Socialist Republic, and his interpreter, Mrs. Nadia Larianova, visited the Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC). Both were present in Canada so that Dr. Isaev could attend the International Congress of Entomology, held in Vancouver the previous week. Because of his particular interests in forest protection, forest management, and forest harvesting, Dr. Isaev specifically requested a visit of the Canadian Forestry Service (CFS) facilities in Sault Ste. Marie. In addition, he was treated to a dinner with industry, federal, provincial, and municipal officials, as well as a tour of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources' (OMNR) Aviation and Fire Management Centre before continuing on a tour of northwestern Ontario.

Dr. Isaev, a Russian national, graduated from the Faculty of Forestry at the Leningrad Forest Technical Academy in 1954. Though originally employed in the Soviet forest resource inventory, he subsequently changed fields and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1971 for the thesis "The relationship between the tree and the xylophagous insects". Between 1968 and 1976, Dr. Isaev was supervisor of the tree pathology laboratory at the Institute of Forestry and Wood Science Research in Krasknoiarsk, Siberia. From 1977 to 1979, he served as Chairman of the Presidium (ruling body) of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He was appointed to his present position in March of 1988. Dr. Isaev has served as editor-in-chief of the Academy of Science's silviculture journal since 1978, and he has received three awards (the 1976 IUFRO Science Achievement award, the Order of the October Revolution, and the Order of the Labor Red Banner) for his various accomplishments. Dr. Isaev's role as a member of the State Committee of Forestry is to preserve the forest's ecological function while at the same time ensuring a continuing economic return (from wood as well as from non-fiber products).

In discussions with CFS staff, Dr. Isaev commented that forestry in the Soviet Union is currently undergoing changes in management as a result of the new Soviet policy of social and economic perestroika ("restructuring"), in part to address a variety of problems that are all too familiar to Canadian foresters. Examples of this include efforts to shift the responsibility for reforestation to those who harvest the timber, the strong influence of a domestic environmental lobby, and efforts to raise stumpage rates high enough to cover the cost of regeneration. Conversion of the undesirable regrowth in old, previously cut stands into new, valuable stands is also a priority. Mechanization of partial cuts that will leave the residual stand and natural regeneration undamaged is also being investigated, as is a more ecologically oriented approach to forestry that could possibly replace the more traditional "forest farming".

After attending a demonstration of OMNR fire-fighting techniques, Dr. Isaev visited the site of a recent fire and observed the subsequent salvage operations. At the Upper Spanish Forest Management Agreement area, a tour by E.B. Eddy Management Forester Keith Ley introduced him to the complete cycle of jack pine management activities in Ontario (from cutting through reforestation and subsequent management). Dr. Isaev was impressed with the expertise shown by E.B. Eddy, and exhibited a keen interest in all he saw during his tour of northeastern Ontario.

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