WWF and Greenpeace asked the Russians to save the forests and salmon
Everyone who is not indifferent to this problem, any citizen of Russia can sign the petition "Defend riparian forests to save the salmon!» All collected signatures together with the Position of WWF-Russia and Greenpeace on spawning protection forest belts will be handed over to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Federal Law No. 538-FZ " On Amendments to the Forest Code of the Russian Federation and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation to Improve Legal Regulation of Acts on Conservation of Forests on Lands of the Forest Fund and Lands of other Categories" signed by the President at the end of last year threatens the future of 50 million hectares of ecologically valuable forests along the banks of water bodies, as well as the population of the salmon and other valuable fish species. The law directly contradicts Order of the President (№ PR-1037 of 7.05.2013), in execution of which it was developed. It does not enhance the status of protected forests, but, on the contrary, weakens it.
The main problem part of the new law is the actual abolition of the protective regime in spawning protection forest belts. This special category of protected forests was created as early as in the 1960s to conserve the bank zones of water bodies, where spawning migrations and spawning of valuable fish species took place. Under the new law, the size of such spawning protection forest belts is reduced from 1 km to 50-200 meters. As a result, the total area of spawning protection forest belts will be reduced by at least 5 times, which will lead to the degradation of the spawning grounds of the Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, whitefish, and other valuable fish species.
"If the current spawning protection forest belts are open for logging, in some regions it will prolong the agony of the so-called "extensive" model of forest management for five-ten years. However, the price of this extension will be the degradation of a major part of the forests, which are the most valuable biologically and socially, forests protecting spawning rivers from pollution and shallowing, and playing a critical role in the traditional way of life of the local communities and especially the Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Russian Far East. The cancellation of spawning protection forest belts status will bring benefits to very few and for a very short time, and almost everybody and almost forever will lose, due to deterioration of environmental quality" says Alexey Yaroshenko, head of Forest Department of Greenpeace Russia.
WWF-Russia has already sent to the President of the Russian Federation and the Federation Council a detailed analysis of the changes introduced by the law for each category of protected forests, along with official requests to return the law for revision. On 21st March, the International Day of Forests, WWF-Russia and Greenpeace sent a joint Position on spawning protection forest belts to the Federation Council and deputies of the State Duma with a request to urgently take measures that will minimize the negative consequences of the new law.
While the authorities are inactive, environmental organizations urge citizens to be active and sign a petition to save the spawning protection forest belts, both for people and for the salmon.
Preview and headline photo: (c) Gennady Alexandrov / WWF-Russia