WWF-Russia: It Is Necessary to Strengthen Control over Borders of the Dvina-Pinega Reserve
The landscape reserve, created in October in Arkhangelsk Region, protects 302,000 hectares of rapidly degrading taiga: one of the last large arrays of intact forests in Europe. Within the territory of the reserve, any destroying forest ecosystems activities are prohibited, in particular – industrial logging. However, as it became known to the environmental organizations, in September-November 2019, within the territory of the Gorkovsky district forestry unit, which is part of the reserve, there had been eight clear-cuts with a total area of about 150 hectares. Prior to the entry into force of the decree on the establishment of the reserve, this forest area was protected from logging due to a voluntary moratorium agreement signed by environmental organizations and timber companies in 2018.
WWF-Russia, which had been working on the reserve establishment for 17 years, is concerned about the situation. According to experts, illegal logging within the territory of the reserve could occur due to the lack of proper control over the activities of contractors while logging in HCVFs in the areas adjacent to the reserve, and due to compliance with the current legislation. WWF-Russia has already sent an official appeal to the Titan Group – managing company that operates logging units in Arkhangelsk Region, including Verkhnetoemsky LPH that harvested forest on a site recently included into the reserve – with a request to initiate an investigation, make the situation public, and sign a new moratorium agreement as compensatory measures. As a result, today company openly declared the incident and launched an investigation.
"WWF-Russia has already called on all the stakeholders to investigate and not just to establish the reasons for the violation, but also to take urgent measures to improve the state control over the implementation of the environmental legislation in terms of compliance with the protected area regime, as well as to organize a system of independent monitoring of the boundaries of the reserve. Moreover, as compensation of the caused damage an additional forest site of 1,800 hectares should be protected from logging in the Dvina-Pinega taiga. This forest site is adjacent to the border of the reserve; it is the most valuable from an environmental point of view and the most vulnerable in the long term planning of logging in the area. We welcome the sincere behavior of the company and express hope for a comprehensive investigation of the incident with logging within the boundaries of the reserve, the subsequent assistance, and signing of a new moratorium agreement in the nearest future," says WWF-Russia’s Forest Program Director Andrey Shchegolev.
WWF-Russia continues to monitor the established reserve, and in 2020 plans to launch an innovative project in Arkhangelsk Region. It will be based on a landscape approach in the integrated development of the region, which will help conserve the valuable intact forests in the region.
The resolution on the creation of the regional Dvina-Pinega landscape reserve was adopted at a meeting of the Government of Arkhangelsk Region on October 1, 2019. WWF-Russia and other environmental organizations had been fighting for its creation for more than 17 years. Learn more about the history of the reserve and its significance: https://wwf.ru/en/dvinskopinezhskiy/
Preview and headline photos: (c) Igor Shpilenok