APPLES AND PEARS. WWF FINISHED PLANTING THE FOREST BELT IN ADYGEA
Koshekhablskiy district is one of the most agro-developed areas in the Republic of Adygea and, at the same time, one of the most affected in terms of tree belt degradation. Therefore, last November WWF-Russia has launched a pilot project to restore forest plantations on its territory. Along the route, a half-kilometer tree belt of 600 trees of Caucasus tilia and the sycamore maple was planted. Note that the percentage of root-taking plants was at least 97%, which is a good result. Now about fifty wild fruit trees – Caucasus apple and Caucasus pear - were planted in the forest belt. Such trees are a natural element of the Caucasus forests and are found in natural forests everywhere.
To date, in the southern agricultural regions of Russia, a significant part of the protective forest belts, which perform a number of important environmental and social functions, has been lost and severely degraded.
"According to WWF research, there are more than 3,000 forest belts in Adygea that require restoration measures, and 392 forest belts are completely lost. In total, this is 84.5% of all forest belts of the Republic, - says Elena Cherkasova, Senior coordinator of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. - To solve the problem on-site of the lost forest areas, it is necessary to create new plantings that are similar in species composition to natural forest communities. This will increase the resistance of forest belts to adverse factors and increase the duration of their existence without special care measures."
Dominated by farmland, forest areas between fields in regions are one of the few opportunities to maintain the ecosystem functions of agrarian landscapes, and at the same time to smooth out climate changes.
"The project to restore forest belts has important functions both for nature and for people in general. First, the plantings maintain the water balance, protect the soil from erosion and prevent desertification of the area and the formation of dust storms. Secondly, they absorb greenhouse gases. Third, they serve as migration corridors and habitat for animals," - explains Mikhail Klimenko, Press Officer of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia. "In addition, the presence of berry, nut and honey species can serve as an additional source of income for local residents and it creates an economic alternative to nature-destroying types of exploitation."
The problem of restoration and planting of forest belts is relevant not only for the Republic of Adygea, but also for Krasnodar, Rostov and Stavropol regions.
One of the goals of the pilot project is to draw the attention of the public, business and authorities to the existing problem of lost forests and to show by example that the reconstruction of protective forest plantation systems in the agricultural use zone is possible and feasible.