Russia owns one-fifth of the world’s forest-covered area but has never been the leader of the global forest sector nor in gross output or relative productivity. The issues of the Russian forest sector have attracted research attention, but for many topics, this is still a green field on the map of sectoral studies. We developed a novel approach to understand the primary causes of the inefficiency of the Russian forest policy through the qualitative assessment of completeness and reliability of forest sector-related data. The main output of this paper is a thorough overview of the available sources of data with an assessment of their quality, completeness and reliability. We show that the Russian official forest sector statistics provide only basic indicators for very short periods with few observations being incomplete and inconsistent. Besides a critical analysis of the official statistics, we also discover some known, but still underemployed, resources of information on the Russian forest sector: textual information of official public bodies and companies, accounting records, remote-sensing data, etc. Finally, we discuss the possible ways to improve the data procurement of the forest sector in Russia to support future decision-making. We are convinced that a prerequisite for the implementation of effective forest policy in Russia is a significant expansion and improvement of the volume and quality of statistics on the dynamics of Russian forests and forest economy. Integration of existing and new data sources is necessary to achieve synergistic effects, both in terms of deepening the understanding of key business processes in the industry and in the sense of solving strategic tasks of its development.
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