QUESTIONABLE LOGGING IN KARACHAY-CHERKESSIA GOES ON
Earlier, in September 2018, Rosleskhoz inspected legality of sanitary logging in the Karachay-Cherkessia after WWF-Russia's written application which contained information about signs of multiple violations in planning and implementation of sanitary logging in the Republic.
In September, WWF-Russia received a reply from the Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District which acknowledged some of the violations. However, the reply said nothing about the most serious problem of all — designation of healthy trees for felling under the guise of sanitary and recovery measures.
However, a field visit to Zelenchukskoe Forestry in October 2018 showed that the illegal logging goes on. For example, one site designated for sanitary logging in the Arkhyz Forestry, contained healthy Caucasian fir trees marked for felling. Still, according to the current legislation and documents regulating development the logging site, sanitary logging may include only damaged trees, windthrow and snags. This data was proved by comparing GPS coordinates of the marked trees with available coordinates of the designated sanitary logging site.
In another district unit of the Zelenchukskoe Forestry, Marukhskoe, logging activity, skidways and machinery were found as well. However, public sources offer no information about any planned logging in the district forestry. Moreover, the territory lies in the Marukhsky Game Reserve, where cutting of new roads is prohibited.
Nevertheless, we would like to emphasize certain positive outcome of our interaction with regional authorities in our fight against illegal logging in the Arkhyz District Forestry. For example, in August and September, WWF-Russia reported a questionable clearcutting at the foot of the Sofia ridge, where the hiking trail "Arkhyz the Amazing and Unique" begins, to the Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District and the Forestry Administration, asking to check the legality and validity of sanitary logging designation and cutting of skid roads in the territory. Inspection followed and showed that the logging was carried out by the forest lessee. However, taking into consideration high protection value of the forest, the Administration canceled the logging permission thus effectively banning the tree logging.