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Премия рунета 2017

Save the forest for people and salmon!

17 april 2019
The campaign for signatures collection under the petition “Save the forest for people and salmon!” addressed to the Government of the Russian Federation has been launched in the Amur River basin. WWF-Russia Amur branch believes: in order to be heard by higher authorities every person’s voice is important to protect riparian forests and salmon.

In the International Year of Salmon-2019, over 50 million hectares of riparian forests that preserve fish stocks, including salmon, are under threat of clearcut logging in Russia. Under the new Federal Law, the size of riparian forests is reduced from 1 km to 50-200 meters. As a result, the total area of floodplain forests will decrease by more than 10 times, which will lead to degradation of the spawning grounds of Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, whitefish and other valuable fish species.

Federal law No. 538-FZ "On Amendments to the Forest Code of the Russian Federation and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation to Improve Legal Regulation of Acts on Conservation of Forests on Lands of the Forest Fund and Lands of other Categories" will come into force on 1st of July, 2019. WWF-Russia and Greenpeace Russia appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, the Federal Forest Agency (Rosleskhoz) and the State Duma to urgently take anti-crisis measures that will minimize the negative impact of the new "law on protected forests".

The collection of signatures under the petition “Save the forest for people and salmon!” addressed to the Government of the Russian Federation has been launched in the Amur River basin and posted on Changе.org platform. WWF-Russia Amur branch has organized a press conference in Vladivostok devoted to the problem of preserving floodplain forests.

Under the new law, 8/10 of all spawning forest zones in Russia will be deprived the protection status. This means that for most of the forests that have protected spawning grounds for decades, clear cutting will be possible, says Evgeny Chuvasov, head of the forest program of WWF-Russia Amur branch. The tight connection between the rivers, water quality and logging in the adjacent forests is obvious. At the same time, the reduction of the forest spawning zones by more than 5 times, prescribed by the new law, was made without any scientific backgrounds. Considering that it takes dozens and hundreds of years to fully restore degraded forests, this issue should be approached with the utmost care. We have seen many examples of other countries that have destroyed their floodplain forests and are now paying a lot for their restoration. Right now, before the new law comes into force, it is important to prevent a reduction of forest protective zones.

Up to 3.5 million hectares of riparian forest belts are at risk of losing their protective status in Primorsky and Khabarovsky provinces. It should be noted that in the south of the Far East, these forests not only perform an important function of protecting water resources, but are also centers of biodiversity concentration.

Above the existing problems such as the lack of regulation of salmon harvesting in the Amur River and the distribution of the fishing load in the lower reaches of the Amur, a new threat has occurred in the Year of Salmon - reducing of floodplain forests. If this happens, the Far East will lose not only floodplain forests that are important for human life and biodiversity conservation, but also Pacific salmon that come into the river for spawning. As long as riparian forests and fish resources remain under threat, all chances must be used to save them. WWF-Russia Amur branch has prepared the petition “Save the forest for people and salmon!” addressed to the Government of the Russian Federation. The petition is placed on Change.org web-portal, and anyone can put their signature in defense of the forest and salmon. After 4 days almost 2,000 people already signed the petition. This indicates to peoples’ concern and the acuteness of the problem. I am sure that together we will be able to influence the decision of the Government and protect floodplain forests. – comments Olga Cheblukova, coordinator of the Year of Salmon in the Amur ecoregion at WWF-Russia Amur branch.

In the petition “Save the forest for people and salmon!”, we appeal to the Government of the Russian Federation to take urgent measures to stabilize the situation and preserve the riparian forests including:

-          to stop the new federal law from coming into force untill scientifically-grounded criteria are elaborated for the establishment of spawning forest zones, considering the opinion of scientific and public community;

-          to launch a wide expert and public discussion of the problem of spawning forest zones protection and conduct relevant research;

-          as a result of the discussion and research to introduce amendments to the Forest Code, defining the criteria for the establishment of spawning forest zones, which will ensure effective conservation of spawning grounds of valuable fish species;

-          before the adoption of science-based decisions about how to preserve the existing spawning forest zones, the Federal Forest Agency shall avoid any actions that could lead to a reduction in the area of spawning forest zones, and not to approve any proposals from the subjects of the Russian Federation to change their existing borders;

Sign the petition “Save the forest for people and salmon!”

http://chng.it/9znjxdtYr5

For additional information please contact
Project Coordinator of Protected Areas Unit, WWF Russia Amur Branch