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WWF PREVENTED ILLEGAL LOGGING ON 27 HECTARES IN THE KARACHAYEVO-CHERKESS REPUBLIC

03 september 2020
Healthy aspen, hornbeam and alder trees almost went under the axe of loggers under the guise of non-merchantable trees in the Kardonikskiy forestry. WWF-Russia's timely appeal to the Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District prevented logging on 2 spots covering 27 hectares. However, the perpetrators had already been dismissed.

What and When happened

On two spots (10 ha and 17 ha) of the Kardonikskiy forestry of the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic, trees were assigned for cutting. According to documents posted on the website of the Forest Administration of the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic (now the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic), the trees assigned for further fellings should have been non-merchantable, in other words, defective. However, when volunteers from the WWF came to the site to check the legality of the designated felling, they saw that in fact, authorized rangers had marked absolutely healthy trees. WWF-Russia immediately wrote two appeals (for each of the sites) to the Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District indicating violations and coordinates of the sites.

(с) WWF-Russia

What did the Department do?

The Department of Forestry in the Southern Federal District put the local Ministry in charge of conducting the audit. As a result of field activities, a number of violations indicated in the appeals were confirmed. In particular, the violations as follows:

- the substitution of types of logging (instead of "non-merchantable wood harvesting", the forest was diverted as "selective sanitary logging");

- the assignment of merchantable (healthy) wood to cutting instead of defective ones. 

"Unfortunately, the cases of forest cutting substitution are common violations that we identify. On the territory of Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic, similar cases have already been detected several times," says Elena Cherkasova, Forest Officer of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. – "Perhaps the supervisory authorities should pay more attention to the work of the Departments of Forestry in this region. For our part, we are ready to actively help to preserve the nature of the Republic, which is exactly what we are doing. However, this work must be carried out jointly and comprehensively."

What is in the result  

1. The documents previously scheduled logging operations were withdrawn.

2. Logging in these areas has been cancelled.

3. When checking spots illegal felling of several oak trees was detected. Materials on this fact were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs "Zelenchukskiy".

4. The culprits appointed trees for cutting were not brought to justice, because they were dismissed earlier. Among them, there is the Director of Republican State-Owned Enterprise "Zelenchukskiy Forestry" A. N. Kasmin. 

In addition, in a response letter, Deputy Head of the Department A. A. Karavaev noted that "in order to improve the quality of allotments of cutting areas, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Karachayevo-Cherkess Republic plans to hold a workshop on this issue in September 2020."

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