Protective forests need protection!
If WWF succeeds in gathering at least 100,000 signatures of Russian citizens till Earth Hour, that will take place on march 23d this year, then it will get good chances to make amendments into the current Forest law.
WWF Russia already has a successful experience on promoting a federal law using a campaign on gathering signatures – thus, during the Earth Hour 2012 more then 120,000 Russian citizens gave their voice in favor of passing the law on protection of the seas from oil spills. Thanks to that campaign that law has passes the russian parliament and is now in effect. http://www.wwf.ru/resources/news/article/eng/10589
This year WWF Russia is up to decide another serious problem on the legislative level – to preserve the most valuable protective forests throughout the whole country. After recent changes in the forests legislation protected forests turned out to be in a great danger and are already being logged at some places, very often during the so called improvement cutting.
A net of russian protective forests was created many decades ago with a total area equal to almost 25% of all the forests resources of Russia. A very important function of those forests is protection of the key resources – drinking water, soil fertility, stable climate, clear air, it is also an important source of forest food products - berries, mushrooms, nuts etc, as well as a place for hunting and fishing. Those are the forests that are important to everyone: to city-dwellers to be able to escape an aggressive urban environment, and for rural-dwellers to provide their families with needed non-woody resources throughout the whole life.
A net of protective forests has excellently carried out its functions for many decades and in addition accomplished another important function – it protected millions hectares of the most biologically valuable territories from a negative impact of human industrial activities.
Virtually every Russian citizen happened to be in protective forest, sometimes without knowing it. For example, every piece of forest on the waterside of any river, creek, lake or sea is a protective forest - a water-conservation zone that width can vary from 50 to 500 meters. Around most of big cities there are green zones, that are also protective forests. Many of the northern russian cities are located entirely on the areas of the tundra-forests – a largests areas of protected forests located along the edge of tundra.
There are 17 different categories of protective forests, like water-conservation zones, nut harvesting zones, mountain forests, tundra forests, green zones and woodland parks, urban forests, spawning zones etc.
In the year 2009-2010 first time for the last 70 years a legislation of the special regime of the protective forests was changed and a possibility appeared for industrial logging on those territories.
“The timber resources in the exploitation forests are exhausted because of the over logging since soviet times and illegal logging of the last decades; the approach to the estimation of amount of timber harvesting has not been changed for more than 150 years. All this forces the logging companies to search for the new sources of commercially valuable timber – says Konstantin Kobyakov, coordinator of WWF Russia’s projects on high valuable forests. – Commercial logging in protective forests, that were preserved much better because of the former ban, seem to the logging companies a much profitable and easier way to solve a problem with timber deficit.
Establishing order through control and measurement of logged timber as well as longstanding and costly growing of the new forest is much less appealing work to them.”