The current decline in forest biological resources is caused in the main by the over-exploitation of forest resources for the economic gain of the collector, usually an outside agency. Indigenous or local communities rarely benefit from this exploitation. The Convention on Biological Diversity recognises the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological resources is dependent upon regimes of equitable benefit between local communities and those able to exploit the forests wealth of resources. At present there are very few mechanisms for combining the interests of commercial agencies, local people and the ecological needs of forests.
A number of challenges present themselves in the development of regimes which better share benefits arising from the utilisation of forest biological diversity amongst those who have contributed to its development and conservation. These include: (a) the diversity of interests at a sub-national level, with national and sub-national governments and management agencies, indigenous peoples and local communities, and individual owners of forest and agro-ecosystems variously responsible for ownership of and access to forest genetic resources; (b) the consequent difficulties, both practical and political, of obtaining prior informed consent to access forest genetic resources; (c) the limited acknowledgement of traditional resource rights by many modern societies, and the consequent difficulties experienced both by groups wishing to exercise such rights and those wishing to recognise them; (d) the divergence in intellectual property rights regimes between Western legal systems, which require individual and identifiable innovation, and most traditional cultures, which do not assign such rights. In the case of forest biological diversity, issues of intellectual property assignment are further complicated by the dynamic nature and evolutionary timescale of biological diversity itself; (e) divergent opinions as to the inherent value of forest genetic resources relative to that of the research and development activities which translate genetic resources into marketable products, particularly for the case of biotechnologies.
The forest areas of Khabarovsk and Primorie regions in the Russian Far East, intended to form a new nature reserve, will be completely destroyed by logging activities planned by Malasia Company Rimbunan Hidjau in 2000. That is the conclusion made by the experts of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union. The construction of an access road by the Malaysian loggers means the beginning of the industrial opening of the last undisturbed forests of Khabarovsk and Primorie regions. It will result in disruption of the populations of large vertebrates like Amur leopard and tiger and the fragmentation of the unique entire natural complex into many non-valuable parts. Tree harvesting will destroy the traditional life style of the indigenous people who depend on the non-timber forest products and fishing.