Forest auctions can leave villages in central Primorye without forests, and beekeepers without linden
In late November and early December, the official website torgi.gov.ru opened a tender on seven auction lots for leasing forest plots in Ussuriysky and Spassky forestries for timber harvesting.
In total, it is proposed to hand over 58 696 hectares of forest stands for long-term lease (up to 49 years). These stands are two large massifs of Korean pine - broadleaved forests, typical tiger habitats in the central Sikhote-Alin and near the Ussuriisky Nature Reserve. Loggings are planned in Spassky, Chernigovsky, Anuchinsky and Mikhailovsky districts of Primorsky province.
The analysis showed that all forest plots submitted for the auction are located in linden no-take zones: five out of seven plots have 60% of such no-cut zones, and 2 plots - 100%. Initially it is prohibited to cut linden here. However, according to the auction documentation, the harvesting of linden in volumes up to 35% of the annual allowable cut is planned here.
A large forest site near the buffer zone of Ussuriysky Nature Reserve with an area of 24 355 hectares, formed by unique oak and Korean pine forests, besides linden no-cut zones, also has about 50% of protected forest areas (including the category of honey making areas) where logging is prohibited. Despite this prohibition, the estimated volume of annual timber harvesting for this site is determined at 14 589 m3, with 38% of oak and 14% of linden.
It is worth noting that all plots are located either close to settlements, it means that timber harvesting will affect the life of at least 11 villages of central Primorye.
WWF Russia sent an appeal to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife Management of Primorsky province with the request to cancel the auctions for timber harvesting on these seven sites. WWF Russia believes that the analysis of the project documentation will help the Government of Primorsky province make the right decision.