Russia to Tackle Growing Threat to Its Forests

Russiato Tackle Growing Threat to Its Forests

9June 2005

publishedby Agence France Presse 

    Moscow — Illegal logging has doubled since 1992 in Russia, whichcontains a quarter of the world’s forest land, according to new official figures.

Thecountry must take the offensive in the fight against the loss of the forests, agovernment official said Thursday. 

Thedeforestation now stands at over 700,000 cubic metres per year, according to theofficial figures. Even these figures are “lower than reality”, saidValeri Roshchupkin, head of the federal agency for forest resources.

Two-thirdsof Russian territory is covered by forest.

Theworst-affected areas are in the export zones bordering Europe, Finland, Chinaand Japan, he added.

“Russianow places great importance on the fight against illegal logging. We have takenconcrete measures and we are not hiding the fact, we are now adopting anoffensive attitude.”

Thecountry, covering 11 time zones and some 1,162 billion hectares, has been movingtowards satellite detection alongside the more traditional air surveillance tocounter the problem.

Nextyear it is hoped that the surveillance efforts will cover all of Russia, asopposed to 60 percent this year.

Forestfires, man-made or otherwise, are a great problem. Nowadays 69 percent of suchfires are mastered within a day, as opposedto eight percent in 2003, according to the official figures.


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