WWF REQUESTS AUTHORITIES TO PROTECT ARKHYZ UNIQUE FORESTS
WWF-Russia found information about an auction on November 15 on official website of local authorities. The Karachay-Cherkessia Forest Management have put 5 plots situated in Arkhyz district forestry up for sale at the auction. Logging may become permitted from January 1, 2020.
These plots with a total area of more than 25 hectares, and with a volume of more than 2000 cubic meters of wood exposed for rent already.
Sites that are exposed for logging are located in the Natural Sanctuary "Arkhyz" territory. It was established in 1967 to save and restoration the populations of rare and threatened species of plants and animals.
Mountains and ecological trails in the Arkhyz Sanctuary are one of the
most popular tourists destinations in Russia and abroad. Tourist and
recreational special economic zone "Arkhyz" was established on this
territory in 2010.
WHY IT HAPPENED?
In December 2019, Government of the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic ends the Logging Ban in these forests, which had been in force for last 8 years.
For the time being, information about extension of the Logging Ban still
not found in official media.
• degradation of unique old-growth forests ecosystems;
• Red Book plant species habitat demolition on logging sites;
• logging can interrupt habitats and migration corridors of many rare and endangered species, including Persian leopard and Caucasian bison;
• as a result of logging near Arkhyz village and the Sanctuary the attractiveness of the area for eco-friendly development (like hiking, etc.) can be largely declined;
• deforestation will lead to soil degradation resulting increased sediment loads which could impact greatly local mineral springs, streams and rivers;
• forest portages disfigure landscape, because excavators dig a parent rock. After heavy rainfall, deep ravines are formed there;
• negative consequences for implementation of Governmental Environmental Plan 2019-2024.
WHAT DOES WWF-RUSSIA DO
WWF-Russia has made an official request to the Karachay-Cherkessia
Republic Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian
Federation and the The Ministry of North Caucasus Affairs (Minkavkaz)
and calls for the Logging Ban prolongation
in the Arkhyz district forestry to keep the unique Caucasian forests intact.
«In recent years, loggers has been
bypass the prohibition and illegally cut healthy trees in the guise of sanitary
logging. WWF-Russia have identified such cases in Arkhyz forestry in 2017-2018»,
- Elena Cherkasova, Forest Officer
of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. – «Disclosure of this criminal scheme allowed to stop logging in Arkhyz
forestry in 2019. However, absence of prolongation of the Logging Ban may
become a new mechanism for cutting down valuable Arkhyz forests».