Overview of Forest Sector
Kazakhstan’s forests play an important role in land, wildlife, and watershed management, wind erosion and sand control, and recreation. Forests and wood land account for ha or 4.9% of the total land area in the country . Area-wise, about 70% of all wooded lands is located in the south and southeast – mostly saxaul scrub forests that are important for fuelwood production, stabilize the vegetation, and provide shade for animal grazing. The high mountain forests of the southeast and east (20% of the area) have exceptionally high biodiversity, and recreational values, as well as nut and fruit production. The forests play a key role in watershed protection. Birch and pine stands of the northern forest-steppe fragmented amidst highly productive farmland serve as a major source of fuelwood and are important for wildlife and recreation. The west and center of the country are extremely arid and fundamentally devoid of forests. Volume-wise, over 80% of the nation’s timber stock is in the north and northeast, half of it in the fir and pine forests of the East Kazakhstan Oblast where the bulk of the country’s commercial-scale harvesting is concentrated.
All forests in the Republic of Kazakhstan are protected. All forests have been established under long-term management plans and they perform important water-protective, field-and soil conservation, sanitation, health, and other useful functions. About 10% of all forests in Kazakhstan were created, by the forestry authorities during Soviet times, for protection against wind erosion and sand drifts. In this regard, the forest fund category “field and forest conservation” dominates and makes 9.8 million ha or 79% of the total wooded area. Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity is 20% in 2020.
100% of Kazakhstan’s forests are publicly owned. 79.2% of the lands of the forest fund are administered by the regional authorities (Akimats of administrative regions), 20.1% are in the conduct of the national forestry committee and 0.7 % are owned by other national agencies. The State forest fund lands include land covered with forest and land which is not forested but designed for the needs of the forestry sector. Overall, forests managed by state forest agencies account for 22.
 United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2022, May 17). “Forests of Kazakhstan: a natural treasure to safeguard and nurture for future generations.” Retrieved from: https://www.kz.undp.org/content/kazakhstan/en/home/stories/2022/forests-of-kazakhstan–a-natural-treasure-to-safeguard-and-nurtu.html.
 United Nations, State of Forests of the Caucasus and Central Asia (New York and Geneva: The UN, 2019), 87.
 Arcady Radionov, The States of Forest Genetic Resources in the Sec Region, The Republic of Kazakhstan Country Report (Ankara: The FAO, 2013), 5.
 “Indicator 15.4.1 – Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity – Indicators For The Sustainable Development Goals,” Kazstat.github.io, last modified n.d., accessed Apr 19, 2021, https://kazstat.github.io/sdg-site-kazstat/en/15-4-1/.