Mongolian oak and Manchurian ash receive protection from the CITES Convention
included the tree species Mongolian oak and Manchurian ash in Appendix III of the Convention.
WWF welcomes the decision of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology and the CITES Secretariat. This tightening of the control over the export of oak and ash a much needed measure for the development of sustainable management of valuable hardwood species in the Russian Far East.
«This decision establishes a new instrument for reducing the export of illegally logged timber from key habitats of the Amur tiger, – comments Evgeny Lepeshkin, head of the forest program of WWF Russia Amur branch – Now the wood of Mongolian oak and Manchurian ash, as well as products made from it, can be exported only after documentary evidence of its legal sourcing has been presented to the Administrative organ of the CITES Convention in Russia, Rosprirodnadzor. This gives law enforcement the chance to disrupt the trade in illegally logged timber before its export from the Russian Federation».
In a press release on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, the vice-minister Rinat Gizatulin noted that the uncontrolled use of the valuable hardwood species Mongolian oak and Manchurian ash in the Far East leads to degradation of forests in the range of the Amur tiger. Oak is key food source for animals such as the wild boar, which in turn are prey for the endangered predators Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard. Ash is often found in floodplain forests, which are key habitats both for the predators and their prey. “We are grateful to CITES for their rapid assessment of Russia’s proposal, this decision allows for enhanced protection of these species” stated R. Gizatulin.
In the publication “Illegal logging in the Russian Far East: Global Trade and Taiga Destruction” published in 2013, WWF Russia presented evidence that illegal logging of valuable hardwoods has reached crisis levels. In 2010, the volume of Mongolian oak logged for export in Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces exceeded the legally permitted volume by 2 times. That is, one out of two cubic meters of oak timber exported from the Far East had illegal origin. “Inclusion of these valuable hardwoods in CITES significantly complicates the export illegally harvested oak and ash, and unquestionably positively influences the conservation of Amur tiger habitat. This decision should also improve the competitive position of law-abiding companies, when criminal suppliers of stolen timber begin to exit from the market” noted Evgeny Lepeshkin.
It is important to note that the inclusion of these species in Appendix III of CITES does not impose any limits on their legally permitted harvest. Timber companies and local residents with the legal right to the harvest of oak and ash for commercial or personal use will not see any change from this decision.