WWF: the new law on protected forests threatens the future of 50 million hectares of forests and valuable fish species
Scientific research indicates the critical importance of forests along river banks for spawning of many fish species. Clear cuttings will lead to shallowing, water turbidity, siltation and long-term degradation of spawning areas. The experience of foreign countries involved in the rehabilitation of spawning grounds damaged by similar logging shows that the cost of such restoration is much higher than the possible benefit from the sale of timber harvested in these forests.
Protected forests are the most valuable forests in Russia. Now the legislation has 17 categories of protected forests with a total area of 283 million hectares, which include spawning forest zones. These forests are most important for maintaining the natural balance, biodiversity and habitat conservation, as well as human health. In most categories of protected forest areas, clear cutting is prohibited, but selective and sanitary logging is allowed, which in some cases can also cause critical damage to ecosystems.
Ecologists draw attention to the fact that with the reduction of the area of spawning forest zones, the spawning grounds of Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, Sturgeon, Whitefish and other valuable fish species are threatened with degradation, which is a direct threat to the food security of the country and the conservation of aquatic biological resources in general. The decision to reduce spawning forest zones also did not consider or assess the direct economic losses of the fisheries sector as a result of the reduction of stocks of valuable fish species and, as a consequence, the reduction of their catches.
Numerous appeals of WWF-Russia to the deputies of the State Duma and the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia with the requirement to discuss the draft law with scientists, public environmental organizations and the Public Council under the Federal Agency for Fisheries were ignored. Now WWF-Russia calls on the Federation Council and personally Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately reject the law and return it for revision to the State Duma.
Preview photo: (c) Alexey Veselov. Headline photo: (c) Gennady Alexandrov / WWF-Russia