Russia is faced with serious environmental problems. Some become so acute that led to political differences between the society and the government. For the past 15 years, the Russians protesting against the landfill so strongly that the problem of stinking mountains in the suburbs had to intervene himself to President Putin.
But in the Arkhangelsk oblast in Northern Russia, away from the eyes of Putin, exported tons of the capital's garbage. Recently there was a clash between environmental activists and units of Riot police. As a result, several people were injured.
Far from Moscow, people are unequal fight for the forests with the government and stereotypes. In Russia is still dominated by the belief of school textbooks that it is the richest forest country. Supposedly almost a quarter of all the world's forests are in Russia. But gradually the forest wealth of the energy power is exhausted due to human activities.
According to the world wildlife Fund, Russia in recent time annually loses up to half a million hectares of forest. For comparison: the area of Czech forests is approximately 2.7 million hectares.
As the Director of the Institute of forest, Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Onuchin, Russian forests are increasingly affected by fires, outbreaks of pests and unsustainable timber harvesting. "Today in Siberia, we have a lack of forest land. I think we will be sufficient only for the next 15 years," warns a Russian scientist.
The natural wealth of Siberia hunted down as actively as the oil and gas reserves. The head of the forest Department of the Russian branch of Greenpeace Alexei Yaroshenko.
"The Russian forest act of 2006 is based on the concept "conquest of the forest". That is, forests are used as a source of wood. In fact, our forestry does not refer to agriculture and to industry", — said the portal "was Tiscali" Russian ecologist.
He also noted that the issues are not only logging in the forests of Siberia. The sounds of chainsaws are heard throughout Russia. The most active deforestation, according to experts, is in the North-West of the European part of Russia, in the South of Eastern Siberia and the Far East. In addition, in the latter two regions, forests are also regularly consume large fires.
"The attitude towards the forests simply as a source of timber is primarily due to the universally entrenched lie. On paper we have a lot of forests, forest resources are almost endless, but the losses are small. Thus, the impression that the forest does not need to grow, invest in them energy and money. You can just use them and operate them," explained Yaroshenko.
The head of the forest Department of Russian "Greenpeace" said that the problem is not in the lumber camps, and in their irrationality. Wood for the forest industry is not grown on previously deforested forest areas, and taken in natural and primeval forests. "If the economy is not working properly, the stocks of valuable wood are recovering very slowly. This forces the loggers to go deeper into the virgin taiga or cut down rare species of trees. And that is what is threatening the last remnants of natural forests, especially if there are growing rare conifers" — said Yaroshenko
In addition, felling of protected forests is often accompanied by fires that lead to the rapid destruction of forests. "Fires happen more intense than before, and logging takes place more actively, which often leads to disastrous consequences. For example, in the Baikal region, this problem is particularly acute," so Yaroshenko described the situation.
Everywhere the hand of the Chinese
Although officially Russia exports only a small proportion of timber harvested, a large part of exports absorbs neighboring China. He is the main importer of raw timber from Russian forests: it accounts for 66% of foreign supplies. In second place is Finland, followed by Sweden, Kazakhstan and Japan. Over the past year, Russia has put Chinese neighbors at least 13 million cubic meters of raw wood.
Chinese industry takes an incredible amount of wood. China imports its literally from all over the world either legally (e.g. from New Zealand and the United States), or illegally, using corruption schemes. Chinese companies had a hand in the fact that disappear South American virgin forests and relict forests in Africa and the Pacific. According to some estimates, due to intensive logging and timber exports to China Salamunovich Islands in 20 years there will be no tree.
Last autumn, Moscow began to sound the alarm. The Minister of natural resources and ecology Dmitry Kobylkin has threatened to stop exports to China. Speaking in the Russian Senate, he stated that he has invited the Chinese partners to invest in the restoration of Russian forests. "If you need wood, restore our forests," he reportedly said then Minister to the Chinese. He was supported by the head of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, which in mid-February, proposed to introduce a temporary embargo on the export of wood abroad.
The Russian government has stopped the export of timber, but in the coming years will reduce export quotas and increase fees. These measures should be gradually to restrict the export of unprocessed timber.
"China major buyer of Russian forest products and the largest foreign investor who invests in Russian forestry. China buys timber, pulp, lumber, as well as logging companies (even those that sell their products to the Chinese). If a firm, the procuring wood, owned by Chinese owners, in the woods, as a rule, still employs local residents and Russian specialists," — said Yaroshenko.
The ecologist stressed that the Chinese demand for wood, as investment in the Russian forest industry, accelerate the deforestation of Russian forests. However, it is conducted according to Russian regulations and with the approval of the Russian authorities. "Deforestation Russian taiga Russian and Chinese companies does not differ," — said the expert.
He also added that the authorities at all levels, local and Federal, are favourably disposed to the growth of the volumes of logging. But their interest in forest protection is much less.
War for the woods
"Man begins to defend himself, faced with the threat. How our ancestors decided to stand up for the Motherland in world war II? The same applies to us. The destruction of the taiga means harming the climate, and hence a threat to our life," — said in an interview "I Tiscali" Yulia Popova, an activist of the movement "Protect Tomsk taiga".
The organization was created last year and includes several dozen members. Residents of the Siberian region decided to join forces when local authorities leased part of the taiga a Chinese businessman. Activists want to prevent the barbarous cutting down the Siberian forests.
"The situation is deteriorating logging. Our authorities see forests only source of wood. Some places in Tomsk region is literally naked. I'll tell you straight: we are on the brink of disaster. There are abrupt climate change. Hurricanes are formed, and in the summer we began to suffer from extreme temperatures (from freezing to very high) for two months. But on the taiga ecosystem of our affects not only our region, but also considerably large area," explained Popov.
In her opinion, the Russian authorities willingly rent out plots to Chinese companies. "The threat is primarily Chinese. The problem in their case is that they lease vast areas and therefore cause enormous damage," said the activist.
Siberian activists have won an important victory over state power. "Our movement has achieved cancellation of the contract with one Chinese company. Because of suspicions of corruption were dismissed and detained the head of the Department of forestry of Tomsk region. We have forced Moscow to acknowledge that there is a huge problem of deforestation and must be addressed," added Yulia Popova.
Materials the new York times contain estimates of the solely foreign media and do not reflect the views of the editorial Board of the new York times.
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