Rosleskhoz Worried Over Scope of Illegal Lumbering
Moscow — Rosselkhoz, Russia’s federal agency for agriculture, expressed alarm Wednesday over the scope of illegal lumbering by licensed producers which beats timber poaching.
“We have found illegal felling of 529,000 cubic meters of timber by eight large companies in the Irkutsk region since the beginning of this year. The volume of timber poached in Russia each year does not exceed 750,000 cubic meters,” Rosleskhoz deputy director Mikhail Giryayev said in a report on the results of aerial monitoring in the province.
Timber undercut which totaled 857,000 cubic meters was another violation detected by aerial photography, Giryayev said. Forest guards are seriously concerned over the felling of young forests which shrank by 2,500 hectares in the Irkutsk region alone.
Ditched timber is another major problem in lumbering and a prime factor in forest fires and the spreading of forest diseases, Rosleskhoz said.
In mid-June, the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament approved amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses which toughens penalties for illegal lumbering and damage to forest by 1.5 times.
According to law-enforcement bodies, direct loss from illegal lumbering in Russia totals five to six billion roubles a year. The scope of illegal lumbering in the country has expanded four-fold in the past 15 years.
Russia is in the group of countries with the worst illegal lumbering record, together with Brazil, Cameroon, Gabon, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Rosleskhoz will conduct aerial photography of timber felling areas in the republic of Komi, the Perm and Arkhangelsk regions, and the Krasnoyarsk, Maritime and Khabarovsk territories in the second half of this year.