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What we do
Премия рунета 2017

The fight against illegal logging

What’s the problem?

Illegal logging and trade in primary timber is one of the threats to the Caucasus forest system integrity. The presence of a large number of relict species prohibited for logging, but that are in demand on the “black market”, create conditions for the prosperity of criminal activity in the region.

These wood species often become the target of “illegal loggers” because of high quality of their timber. After all, for example, pear wood characterized by high strength index, is only slightly inferior to oak, maple, ash and other hardwood trees, but at the same time it even surpasses them in a number of indicators. The chestnut wood: beautiful, strong, light and long-lived, - is of equal value on the “black market”.

All this explains the illegal logging of chestnut trees, and the fact that a number of criminal proceedings involve such rare (valuable) species of trees and shrubs as Colchis boxwood, European pear, Common walnut, Oriental plane, Pistacia atlantica, Ruscus colchicus and Colchis bladdernut, Juniper, Crimea pine and others. Moreover, on the “black market” one can also find lumber made of valuable tree species: cherry wood parquet – posh furniture made of juniper wood that is listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.

In addition to species prohibited to be logged, there are other types and forms of illegal logging in the Caucasus ecoregion. This includes felling healthy forests under the cover of sanitary and health measures, and felling in specially designated areas, on specially protected natural areas, on steep slopes, with excess of permissible outturns, etc.

Recognition of not only the economic significance but also the ecological value of this ecoregion, coordination of interdepartmental interaction, transition to a sustainable forest management model, improvement of the state forest control and supervision system, fight against corruption schemes, active work of environmental organizations with the support of regional and Federal authorities and response from timber companies can save the Caucasus forests.

To solve these problems, the Russian Caucasus Office of WWF-Russia is working to develop public monitoring of the logging legality.

Territories implementing monitoring:

The Krasnodar Region

Republic of Adygeya

Stavropol Region

Republic of North Ossetia - Alania

Kabardino-Balkarian Republic

Karachay-Cherkess Republic

Republic of Ingushetia

Republic of Daghestan

History of the project

2016 - WWF project on combatting illegal logging started in the Caucasus. One of the main means of this work is the geographical information system www.hcvf.ru  and engagement of public in the fight against illegal logging.

2017 - an assessment of the results of auctions for the right to enter into contracts for the sale of forest planting in the Krasnodar Region found that about 50% of the plots were assigned or chopped improperly, and 10 sites belong to the reserved territory of the Sochi National Park.

2018 - a project to monitor illegal logging in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic was launched.

2019 - WWF launches a series of desktop trainings and workshops for environmental organizations and activists of the Caucasus.

Field trainings and workshops

For more information contact: 

Elena Cherkasova, Forest Officer

Learn more about the project from our movie :