This project aims to promote the sustainable use of Siberian boreal forest products and help alleviate poverty in rural Siberia by working with Look East Wild Earth (LEWE) by marketing new products into the U.K. market.
The Siberian ‘taiga’ or boreal forests are a vast, biodiverse wilderness and a globally significant carbon sink, forming 22% of the world’s remaining forest cover. Diversifying local economies will provide alternatives to current unsustainable logging practices, thereby protecting these valuable forests whilst benefiting local communities. Poverty is endemic in rural areas of Siberia, where around three quarters of foodstuffs are either grown on subsistence plots or gathered from the forest due to incomes being generally insufficient to purchase basic nutritional requirements. LEWE have already conducted initial scoping of a variety of forest tea recipes and brands from Siberia and are ready to undertake real market research into this idea and make contacts with British tea sellers and producers.
The project aims to develop the capacity of small-scale non-timber forest product (NTFP) initiatives in Siberia to successfully use and market local forest resources. NTFPs are a viable economic alternative to current economically and environmentally unsustainable logging practises in Siberia. Obtaining revenue from harvesting non-timber forest products has little impact on forest ecosystems; therefore such projects provide significant examples of much needed sustainable economic activity which does not damage biodiversity nor the important carbon-sequestration function of the forests. TVF funding will be channelled towards product development and marketing communications for this pilot project.