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WWF HELD A WORKSHOP IN STAVROPOL REGION AND CALCULATED A WOOD LOG VOLUME IN THE BESHTAUGORSKIY SANCTUARY

02 april 2021
A workshop on monitoring and detecting illegal logging was held in Pyatigorsk. The event was a part of the Project “People for Nature", and implemented by WWF-Russia with the support of the European Union. The event was attended by environmental non-profit organizations (NGOs) from 6 regions of Russia, as well as locals. During the field training, the activists visited the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary, recording the felling of healthy trees on the way to the proposed construction of a bike route.

WWF decided to hold a workshop dedicated to "Problems of conservation valuable forest in the scenario of infrastructure development" in this region for a reason.

The problem of conservation of the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary turned up at the end of last year when the local government decided to build a bicycle track on protected areas and began to cut down trees. WWF-Russia has supported locals in protecting the unique natural area. Together, we managed to get a court decision to repeal the decree on the land withdrawal on the territory of protected areas. The tender for construction was cancelled, and the project has been reported back and awaits its resubmission.

The Caucasus Mineral Waters is the only area in Russia that has a special status of a specially protected ecological and resort region of the Russian Federation, a status of federal significance. At the same time, forests make up only 1.6% of the Stavropol region. Therefore, the issue of wildlife conservation is of urgent concern in the region. The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation noted this in 2014 and resolved that the region needs to strengthen nature protection measures due to the high human-induced impact.
The first day of workshop
(с) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

NGOs-grantees and activists assist the Fund in monitoring the legality of logging and identifying violations. They told about the results of their work in different regions on the first day of the workshop. Similar meetings of WWF-Russia within the framework of the project "People for Nature" are held regularly in the regions. The territory of the event is selected based on the problems of the region or the training component.

This event is not only an opportunity for NGOs to share their best practices with their colleagues, but also to exchange experience and peculiarities of working with colleagues from other regions working in the same direction. WWF employees, in turn, told the participants of the training about changes and interpretations in the legislation, as well as the basics of working with the media.

On the second day, the ecologists visited two mountains that are part of the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary: Zheleznaya and Beshtau. Locals defend these territories and regularly record new logging on the territory of protected areas.

«Together with NGOs and activists, we monitored the felled trees, recorded their species, diameters, condition and geographic data. All logging operations were carried out along the roads where construction is planned. The collected data will be analyzed, the volume and damage of logging will be calculated, presented in the table, and a survey report will be compiled. In the future, this data will be sent to the supervisory and investigative authorities for adoption of actions», - explains Elena Cherkasova, Senior Coordinator of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia.

Field workshop day
(с) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

It is worth noting that even the local cycling community has not supported the idea of creating a cycling terrenkur. Professional cyclists explain that the bike road, designed for a capacity of 70 cyclists per hour, will be empty. And, it's not just that there aren't so many athletes here. The point is that in order to get, for example, from Mineral Waters to Pyatigorsk, an athlete actually overcomes a climb of 250 m in 20 km. And, on the mountain cycling terrenkur, a person will have to gain 300 m in the first 3 km, then go down to the same 300 m at an angle of almost 30 degrees, then climb to 950 m, go down to 400 m and again climb to 500 m. This is a difficult task even for professionals, and impossible for ordinary people. As a result, everyone will drive on roads where the path is easier, and not on mountains where it is impossible to climb.

Violation of the Sunctuary's security regime
(с) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia

The Project "People for Nature" has been implementing by WWF-Russia in 2019-2022 with the support of the European Union. The aim of the project is to involve the public in environmental protection. The objectives of the project are to preserve forests by preventing their degradation and illegal use, as well as to minimize the negative impact of industry on the environment by increasing the environmental responsibility of business and reducing air and water pollution.

(с) Mikhail Klimenko / WWF-Russia
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