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“Taiga Planet” and Lake Amut: a new video project about sanitary cutting in Khabarovsky province

18 june 2021
The premiere of the film “Barbarism by Law: sanitary cutting in Khabarovsky province” made by grassroots movement “Taiga Planet” took place on June 19 on YouTube channel. The film was produced as part of People for Nature project with the support of WWF Russia.
This is the third documentary created by the grassroots movement “Taiga Planet” about unsustainable nature use in Khabarovsky province. In the International Year for Salmon - 2019, the film crew released online premiere of the documentary “Salmon in muddy waters” about the problems of fishing and the status of Pacific salmon stocks entering the Amur River for spawning. In 2018, during patrolling “Taiga Planet” team visited remote forest areas of Vyazemsky district of Khabarovsky province, where they filmed the documentary “Forest and People” about public monitoring and control over forest use.
The new video project “Barbarism by law: sanitary cutting in Khabarovsky province” is based on the situation with logging of upland spruce and black fir forests in the upper reaches of the Amut River, which flows into the Amut lake – the nature monument of Khabarovsky province and one of the regional “wonders”. Neither public protest nor letters to the government could stop the destructive clear sanitary loggings of more than 100 hectares of protective and recreational relict forests initiated in 2019 by the Forestry Department of Khabarovsky province.

Members of grassroots movement Taiga Planet from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, who have been shooting films about the nature treasures of Khabarovsky province for 5 years, accepted these cuttings as a challenge and, with the support of WWF Russia, decided to analyze this issue and made a video documentary about it.

Comments Viktor Reshetnikov, the head of the video project: “In the film we analyzed many sanitary loggings in Khabarovsky province, collected the experts’ opinion including the scientists in different fields, local people, tourists, representatives of the government. Everyone agreed that these logging operations were not needed on the Amut River. This was indirectly confirmed by forestry officials, none of whom agreed to be interviewed. Apparently, they simply have nothing to say, except that “everything was according to the law”. Their only argument about the high fire dangerous forests before the start of felling does not stand up to scrutiny. It is well known that the most fire hazardous situation occurs right on the cut plot, especially when no one is going to remove remains of cutting. Now, after sanitary felling, the plots are a “bomb” that can flare up in spring or autumn from any spark”.
Thirteen experts from various public spheres took part in the filming process. The participants of the film traveled around 5 districts of the province, visited several forest plots, some of which have already been subjected to clear cutting, and some have just been “sentenced” to sanitary measures.
Notes Evgeny Lepeshkin, senior project coordinator on sustainable forest management of WWF Russia Amur branch: “WWF's experience in different regions of Russia shows that the main motive for sanitary logging is to harvest wood in those forests or in the ways that are unacceptable for these forests. Such felling often does not take into account the environmental and social functions of the forest and cause both serious environmental damage, and ultimately lead to economic losses. The main problem that should be addressed is the openness in discussion and decision-making together with the public, both in rule-making and in the introducing sanitary measures in order to achieve sustainable forest management.”
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Senior Project Coordinator