British Broadcasting Corporation, Moscow, 9 February 2001
Timber reserves in Russia’s forests grew by 335 million cubic metres last year, topping 75 billion, Deputy Natural Resources Minister and head of the State Forestry Service Yuriy Kukuyev told a nationwide forestry conference in Moscow on Thursday. Russia produced 91 million cubic metres of timber in 2000, or almost 1m more than it did in 1999, Kukuyev reported. He cited expert estimates for Interfax that this year’s timber output should rise to 135 million cubic metres and even double in 2002. “This task was set for us by the Russian government,” he said. Kukuyev said he thinks that large-scale leasing of woods and the auctioning of standing timber will help towards that end. His service reported that over 2,500 sections of woodland with a combined size of 70 million hectares are now being leased, which is 18 per cent more than were in 1999. In addition, some 30 million cubic metres of standing timber were sold at auction last year. Kukuyev said that the State Forestry Service will have to do a lot of work this year to raise the efficiency of fire-fighting and the fight against pests. Last year, he said, more than 18,000 forest fires were registered in Russia’s woods, spreading over 1.8 million hectares. The damage done to the timber industry is estimated at 3.8 billion Rubles. Another 2.6 million hectares are plagued by infection and pests.
Global Fire Monitoring Center, 18 February 2001
According to a report submitted to the United Nations Food and Agricuture Organization (FAO) by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) the fire season 2000 ended with a larger area burned as was reported by the official statistics. According to satellite data of Chita Region, Buryatia Republic and Amurskaia Oblast alone the total area of forest and other land affected by fires between 16 April and 21 June 2000 was 3.33 million hectares. This number is higher than the official Russian statistics and reveal the need for more accurate monitoring of forest fire occurrence and impacts of fire.