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6 FOREST CRIMINAL CASES WERE INITIATED WITHIN 6 MONTHS IN THE KARACHAY-CHERKESS REPUBLIC

12 january 2021
Over the past six months, thanks to applications sent by WWF and the Fund's volunteers to the supervisory authorities, 6 criminal cases of illegal logging were initiated in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. It took WWF-Russia 8 months to prove the illegality of some of them.

Aksaut Forestry

In March 2020, the Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization “Green shield of the Caucasus”, WWF-Russia's partners, identified two illegal logging in the Aksaut Forestry as part of the WWF-Russia Project «People for Nature» supported by the European Union. WWF reported this to the police and the Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District. In the course of the "endless" correspondence with the supervisory authorities, new and new details appeared. At first, local forest rangers tried to justify the felling by clearing operation when laying power lines, and later, when the Fund requested it, it turned out that there were no documents justifying such felling. The police relied on the arguments of the foresters to save time. Therefore, the quality of the investigation suffered.

"In its appeal, WWF-Russia has repeatedly pointed out that the logging of beech, maple and ash trees was found at one of the sites. However, the Department repeated in its responses the following: there were no beech and maple trees there, but birch and alder trees were cut," says Elena Cherkasova, Senior Coordinator of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. - After the appeal to the Federal Agency for Forestry, the case moved forward and a joint inspection was carried out. Where previously foresters could not find beech and maple trees, all the trees were miraculously found." According to these facts, 3 criminal cases were initiated.

However, employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic persistently "are not unaware" of illegal logging in the protected zone of power lines. Despite the August warrant of the Department to draw up a report on forest damage in this area and to bring to justice the officials who committed the violation, this instruction has still remained unfulfilled. The reason for the refusal to perform their official duties by employees of the executive authorities remains a mystery.

The damage caused by these logging operations amounted to 3.5 million rubles.

Kardonikskiy felling 

WWF-Russia has already written how in July 2020, volunteers identified illegal logging in the Kardoniksky Forestry, as well as in two areas where illegal logging has not yet been carried out, but was planned. Then the logging was canceled, and the records on the facts of violations were sent to the police. Three months later, the second illegal logging of 48 alder and oak trees found by volunteers was confirmed. At the end of the year, it became known that according to these facts, 2 criminal cases were initiated with the calculated damage of 724,089 rubles.

Arkhyz 

At the end of November, activists of the Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization “Green shield of the Caucasus” discovered the felling of several dozen pine, beech and fir trees in the Arkhyz Forestry. After the appeal to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a criminal case was opened, although the records say only about 3 trees. These circumstances will still be clarified.

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